The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (No Spoilers)

Well, I didn’t mean to finish this book next, but….here we are. I actually started drafting two other posts for the two other books that I’m reading, and doesn’t it just figure that the one I finish reading next is one that I haven’t even started drafting…?

But I guess that just goes to show how totally engrossing the alternate reality that Genevieve Cogman has created with her library series. The Masked City picks up right where The Invisible Library left off. After the show down in the last book, Irene (and Kai as her assistant) is assigned to Vale’s alternate as the Librarian-in-Residence, which is not only a huge promotion, but a permanent assignment. Her, Vale and Kai are now free to gallivant all over Vale’s alternate. At least until Kai is kidnapped.

At this point in the story Irene ♈ is well aware that Kai is a Dragon, and in her world, Dragons are SUPER important and way high up in the food chain. Like, the pinnacle. She knows that not only she, but the Library as well, faces the potential for punishment by Kai’s family once they realize he’s been kidnapped and that he was lost on the Library’s watch. Since she has to tread carefully, she ♈ seeks out Coppelia in the Library and asks for direction. Due to Library politics, Coppelia essentially says, if you don’t save Kai, you’ll serve as the Library’s scapegoat and potentially die by his family’s hands, and if you do go after him, the Library can’t provide you with any assistance because, hello, they’re supposed to be neutral. With the potential for death weighing heavily on both of her options, and her fondness for Kai somewhere in there too, Irene decides to embark on a rescue mission with the help of Silver, the local Fae.

And so follows the second action-packed adventure in this series involving a mythical Horse and Rider, a train with no tracks, a chaos heavy world, a prison in the sky, and an alternate Venice (Italy) where Irene arrives in the middle of carnival where everyone is wearing masks. I don’t want to give away too much because part of the adventure in reading books like this is the journey from point A to point B.

It’s like watching an episode of Family Guy or American Dad – the episode starts out one way, and by the time the episode ends, you have no idea how all the events were connected, but you finally made it to the end. At least for me anyway…

As far as what I liked about the book, number one is of course the premise. I mean I think Libraries are magical in the world I live in, so it’s really cool to be able to read about a magical library that has all the books and all the adventures that stem from being associated with this Library. As soon as I learned in the last book that Librarians got to pick their own names and that they were based off of literary characters, I immediately wanted to know where Irene got hers from. I won’t give it away here, but I was thrilled to learn the origin of Irene’s name, and the concept of the series makes a lot more sense to me.

With all of that being said, we don’t really learn too much about the Library and Irene’s time in the Library is limited in this installment. I get that the title indicates that they are no longer in The Invisible Library, but still. I’m hopeful that the continuation of the series will see a return to the mysterious Library.

Another minor bug that I initially noticed in the last book, but really seemed obvious in this book is that the relationships between the characters seem pretty superficial to me. The majority of the writing is spent explaining the current events/action sequences, and deducing the next step in solving the problem. Yes, there is dialogue, but most of it seems to be centered on the main issue of the book or the process related to solving said issue. I can recall maybe 10 instances in this book where the dialogue was like a line of flirting or served to develop the relationships between the characters. From Irene’s perspective she’s halfway in love with Kai and she considers Vale a very good friend but as the reader, we don’t get to see the interactions that serve as the basis for those feelings.

And I know at this point, I’m probably getting nit-picky, but the title of the book seemed kind of like a throwaway to me. There is maybe three references in the story about how people are walking around this alternate Venice in masks because of carnival, but that doesn’t really lend to the story other than the fact that it’s easier for Irene to walk around in a cloak with a mask on, since everyone else is doing it. But her disguise isn’t impenetrable. One of the things I always contemplate when reading a book is the meaning of the title, and this one just doesn’t seem to fit the story all that well. Now here is where creative people would suggest alternates, but I am not a creative person, just a reader. Which is why I said it was a little nit-picky of me to pick on the title when I can’t offer any better suggestions myself.

And on that final note, I give the second installment of The Invisible Library series…

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And I already picked up the third book, so even with a lower rating than the first one, the series still has me super intrigued.

P.S. If you want to read the spoiler, highlight between the two ♈ symbols.

2 thoughts on “The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (No Spoilers)

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