I was over the moon when I read Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library last year, because it took so many of the things I loved, and moulded them into a fantasy world in which I could gladly lose myself. I was already eager to get my hands on the sequel, when I found out that it is set in Venice, another thing that I love. At this point I’m wondered if the author has access to my brain, (because wow!) and grabbed at the chance to read and review the ARC.
In this second instalment, Kai, Irene’s mentee is kidnapped, and Irene must partner with a local Fae leader, Lord Silver, to travel to an alternate, Fae-ruled Venice, where it’s always Carnival. If she doesn’t succeed soon, a war will erupt between the dragons and the Fae, raising the stakes all the more.
Just like the first book, The Masked City too is fast-paced and full of action. Irene’s adventures keep the reader engaged and make the book quite unputdownable. Character and world-building are both just as good as well. We learn a bit more about the Library itself, but there are also enough questions raised to keep the reader wanting more. Irene spunky as always, and the reader really roots for her.
I personally thought that The Invisible Library was a better book. That is not to say that The Masked City is bad. It certainly is entertaining and gripping. However, there was a certain ‘x’ factor to the first book that this one lacks. I wish the book were a bit more tightly plotted, because there are times when too much seems to be going on.
That said, the action sequences are perfectly written, especially the scene where they break out of the prison. Also, it is pretty exciting that the book has turned the ‘damsel in distress’ trope around, and has the girl rescuing the guy instead–full marks for that! And, more dragons-yaay!
The ending is not quite cliff-hangery, but it comes to a sudden stop, leaving the reader desperate for the story to continue. In this, The Masked City does a great job as a sequel to The Invisible Library and as the precursor to The Burning Page. This is definitely a series I am going to keep my eyes on.
FTC disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.