Series: The Invisible Library #2
Published by Roc on September 6, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk
Sexual Content: Very vague references to sex
Reviewed by: Kate
Librarian-spy Irene and her apprentice Kai are back in the second in this “dazzling”* book-filled fantasy series from the author of The Invisible Library.
The written word is mightier than the sword—most of the time...
Working in an alternate version of Victorian London, Librarian-spy Irene has settled into a routine, collecting important fiction for the mysterious Library and blending in nicely with the local culture. But when her apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent—is kidnapped by the Fae, her carefully crafted undercover operation begins to crumble.
Kai’s abduction could incite a conflict between the forces of chaos and order that would devastate all worlds and all dimensions. To keep humanity from getting caught in the crossfire, Irene will have to team up with a local Fae leader to travel deep into a version of Venice filled with dark magic, strange coincidences, and a perpetual celebration of Carnival—and save her friend before he becomes the first casualty of a catastrophic war.
But navigating the tumultuous landscape of Fae politics will take more than Irene’s book-smarts and fast-talking—to ward off Armageddon, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear....
THE MASKED CITY is an excellent follow-up to THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, if a bit different. Whereas I would have described THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY as a mystery, THE MASKED CITY skips the mystery part and goes straight into spy thriller-esque action.
Almost immediately, Irene figures out who's behind Kai's abduction and manages to rally the forces, as it were, to rescue him. She knows where he is, and she has a way of getting to that place. After that, THE MASKED CITY introduces us to a new world in the Invisible Library universe, and leaves us holding our breath and hoping Irene doesn't run into any danger in her quest. But what fun would a book be without a little danger?
Obviously, one knows the protagonists are going to come out ahead in the end. How much ahead is the question. In THE MASKED CITY I genuinely feared for Irene - I wondered what the outcome would be. There were several ways her plan could diverge and the options offered the tense, sitting on the edge of my seat type reading experience. Irene continues to be a strong lead, flawed, but still loyal to her friends and to the library, despite all of the circumstances she is placed in. Her small shows of emotion are an interesting contrast to her mostly stoic demeanor, and I appreciated the glimpse into deeper into her personality. We don't see much of Kai in this book, and that was a bit sad, and I hope he plays a larger part in the next book.
The world of the Invisible Library series continues to grow and fascinate. The fae chaos versus the dragon order in the various worlds, with the Library a neutral actor in between them both is an interesting set-up, and we get to learn more about it in THE MASKED CITY, especially about some specific dragons and fae.
All in all, I definitely recommend THE MASKED CITY. While I would say you could probably read it without reading THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY, I also loved THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY and recommend that one as well, so give them both a try!Series Titles:
- The Invisible Library - 4/5
- The Masked City
- The Burning Page