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The Masked City (The Invisible Library Novel) Paperback – September 6, 2016
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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Praise for The Invisible Library
“Such clever, creepy, elaborate worldbuilding and snarky, sexy-smart characters!”—N.K. Jemisin, author of The Fifth Season
“A dazzling bibliophilic debut.”—*Charles Stross, Hugo Award-winning author of the Laundry Files
“A book in which to wallow.”—The Guardian (UK)
“Written in a similar vein to Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy...Contemporary meets fairy-tale in this novel.”—Big Issue
“Highly entertaining...It reminded me a lot of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.”—The Book Plank
About the Author
Genevieve Cogman is a freelance author, who has written for several role-playing game companies. She currently works for the NHS in England as a clinical classifications specialist. She is the author of the Invisible Library series, including The Masked City and The Invisible Library.
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The story begins with Irene and Kai going about their business as Librarian-in-Residence and her assistant when the story opens. There is a small time lapse between the end of the first book and this one, however I believe that it shows how the characters have adapted to their new situations. After a successful book retrieval mission, Kai is kidnapped and the real story begins.
As Irene is forced to negotiate with dragons and Fae alike, the reader is given an in-depth view of the world that builds upon the foundation established in the first novel. It was very interesting to see how Irene navigated the world of the Fae, using their own magic to her advantage (well, most of the time). This book takes us far outside of the sphere where Irene and Kai have made their home and it is utterly fascinating to see the contrast between the dragon and Fae controlled spheres.
Much like the first novel, Irene accomplishes her goals using mostly her intelligence with a little help from magic. I think what I enjoyed the most about this book is that the damsel in distress trope was given a role reversal. The male dragon was taken captive and was powerless to escape on his own and Irene had to undertake a quest to free him.
Overall, this was a highly enjoyable book and I would highly recommend it (although I do suggest reading the first book in the series first as it establishes the world and relationships present in this novel). As for the ending, it made waiting for the third book in the series slightly torturous.
COGMAN, Genevieve. The Burning Page (The Invisible Library Novel). Ace. 2017. 368p. $16 (pb).
Having read and enjoyed novels 1 and 4 in The Invisible Library fantasy series, I ordered numbers 2 and 3: The Masked City and The Burning Page. The Masked City is set in an alt-Venice, despotic Council of Ten and all, in a world so heavy in chaos (vs. order) that it weakens Librarian Irene's apprentice, the (order oriented) dragon man Kai and almost poisons their human associate, the Victorian era Sherlock Holmes act-alike detective Vane, who will be plagued by the chaos taint he picks up in book 2 when he gets to book 3. City is about the kidnapping of Kai by a Fae husband and wife team seeking to use the kidnapping to drag Fae and dragons into a cosmos-rending war. Irene again saves the day but has to pay a penalty (again) for rashly crossing the Library's boundaries of proper (= cautious) behavior. The Burning Page is set, for the most part, in an alt-Napoleonic era Russia. Irene has to cure Vane of his chaos-infection, which is slowly but surely driving him mad. She has again (the first time was in The Invisible Library, 1) to battle against the rogue Librarian Alberich, powerful, dangerous, and vindictive toward Irene for having been foiled by her once before, as Alberich tries to destroy the entire Library.
Again, there are Fae and dragons, vampires and werewolves, complicated doings and one after another close shave, but Irene, one of the most attractive and enjoyable heroines in modern fantasy fiction, never ever gives up. There's even romance, Irene's attempts to resist her attraction to not one but two desirable males, Kai and Vale.
The better of these two books is The Masked City. For some reason, Irene's continuing battle with Alberich wears thin on me this time around. But the other characters -Kai and Vane, the debauched Fae lord Silver and creepy, scary Alberich-are winners, as is, especially and always, Irene.
This is what I wrote in my review of the other two books in the series. It still holds true: "This is one of the best -and best humored-fantasy series I have come across in seventy years of reading them. Cogman can write, she can plot, and does milieu and atmosphere exceedingly well. If she continues this way, and it's clear she intends to write more of her Irene and Kai adventures, she could well become the P. G. Wodehouse of fantasy fiction, than which I have no higher praise."
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What I Like:
Well. Everything. This book is a fast, fun adventure ride. All my favorite characters from the first book in series return: Irene, Vale,...Read more