Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Masked City / Genevieve Cogman

4 out of 5 stars
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.

 The Masked City is definitely more focused than The Invisible Library, which was seething with ideas, not all of which actually contributed to the plot line. This installment has fewer distractions and more Fae, which is always a good thing in my books.

Irene is faced with a lot of challenges in this book: a kidnapped apprentice, a trip into a highly chaotic alternate world, an uneasy alliance with the notorious Fae Lord Silver, uncertain support from the Library hierarchy, and having a large, extremely powerful dragon sitting in judgment of her actions. And yet, she does what so many people have to do—she just keeps moving, keeps thinking, keeps doing, despite what life throws at her.

May I say that if I could get the very cool Library tattoo, I would. I, who have steadfastly refused ink for 55 years. I wish that real-life library work was remotely as exciting as Irene’s world (she says as she sits surrounded by old, grimy military tomes). Also, if I was Irene, I’d be pursuing Mr. Vale, the Sherlockian detective, and seeing where his restrained, Victorian admiration would take me.

However, I must say that the ending of this volume was a bit abrupt in my opinion. It had a definite cliff-hanger element to it, shall we say, which disappointed me. What appeared to be more pages of story ended up being little side tales—Irene’s favourite book heists, an interview with the author, and a preview of the third book. That will teach me for being one of those people who never flips to the last page of the book before I actually get there. I would immediately rip into the third volume for satisfaction except that my public library still has it ‘on order,’ but not yet received or processed! Obviously I’m not the only one waiting with bated breath—I’m tenth in the line of people with holds on the new book, trying to be patient. **Just checked and this 3rd book will be published in December, that's why I can't get my grabby hands on it.**

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