Review | The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #2)

A fun fantasy adventure which improves on the first installment. 3.5/5 stars.

The Masked City by Genevieve Cognman Invisible Library 2 cover

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher (Pan Macmillan) via NetGalley in return of an honest review.

The blurb: Librarian-spy Irene is working undercover in an alternative London when her assistant Kai goes missing. She discovers he’s been kidnapped by the fae faction and the repercussions could be fatal. Not just for Kai, but for whole worlds.

Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful allies, but also powerful enemies in the form of the fae. With this act of aggression, the fae are determined to trigger a war between their people – and the forces of order and chaos themselves.

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or face death.

My take:

I read The Invisible Library (Book 1) in early 2015. On the whole I found it enjoyable, if over-ambitious and a little confused. The writing was good and I expected the sequel to improve on the first installment now the author had got a lot of the complex world-building detail out of the way. And I was right.

This series is definitely for existing fans of fantasy adventures. It’s crammed full of magic, fae, dragons, steampunk, alternate worlds… However, The Masked City is better than The Invisible Library because the plot is more streamlined and we are already familiar with most of the major players. In the highly-capable hands of Irene, we skip between the Library and other worlds easily, taking all orders of dragons and fae in our stride. In this sense, I would recommend reading The Invisible Library before The Masked City. For although Cogman does a good job delivering subtle and necessary reminders of the key events in Book 1, the action in Book 2 kicks in straight away and a reader completely new to the series could easily get lost.

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