The Masked City (Book #2 of the Invisible Library series) by Genevieve Cogman

“A secret agent. A missing assistant. And a world in danger.” Another amazing story by Genevieve Cogman (an amazing author who I hope you will discover and love as much as I do) with an intrepid, strong-willed and clever woman as the protagonist. A true strong female lead. A 4 out of 5 stars book!

This is the perfect summary of a great book that I enjoyed thoroughly. I would summarize the book a fun and classy story with a Victorian setting with a unique fantasy world; in other words, Tommy and Tuppence (yes, Agatha Christie’s detectives!) meet a fantasy version of McGyver (in the sense that Irene can make the most out a of magical version of a pin and a straw).

This book exceeds expectations in a number of areas. For instance, the writing style is impressive – the accuracy in the use of terms and the attention to details in building the dialogs.

But before we venture any further, let me use my favorite warning! Beware of the spoilers!

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The characters are great (for lack of a more elaborate word) and their interaction and friendship is the main driver of essential decisions of the characters in the book. And allow me to side track for a second. I heard so many positive comments about Truthwitch especially in light of the friendship between Safiya and Iseult. Quite frankly I just saw a one sided friendship in that case. So, in case you are a fan of Truthwitch, I urge you to experience The Invisible Library in which I believe there is a much healthier and realistic friendship.

Another asset to this book is the use of two majestic opponents on the verge of destroying all the worlds in order to determine who will rule. In essence, Fae – the masters of Chaos – and Dragons – the guards of Order – are on a verge of a conflict because of Kai’s kidnapping by the hands of the Gauntes, a Fae power couple with grand schemes and goals, wanting to be the most influentials Fae in existence. A great villain couple with understandable achievements and a clear will to become more important than they currently are. To some extent, I almost envisage the Gauntes as the Beckhams (no, I am not implying anything about the Beckhams, but the Gauntes are this incredibly interesting couple, famous and influential, independent yet strongly connected and with common goals; not to mention, particularly classy which is the main reason why I think Victoria Beckham was my impersonation of Lady Gauntes).

I enjoyed the change of scenery: The Invisible Library took place in London. The Masked City took place in Venice at its peak with fun tweaks to the history as we know it. I loved the description of the Carnival – and in this Venice, you can find Carnival all year long. The use of the city landmarks, the use of the gondolas and of the mist, the reference to Italian food.

There is another detail of this book that I truly enjoyed: Why should always be the prince to save the princess? Well, this book decides to do something about this and takes the prince – a Dragon prince no less! – and puts him in a “tower” unable to free himself and hoping that his friend and mentor, a woman, would come to rescue him. It actually took me a while to realize that the book was actually based on this preamble, I almost considered an obvious choice but there is a deliberate choice in choosing to revert the traditional fairy tale roles.

 

The main reason why I did not give 5 stars to the book is that it feels, to me, a “lighter” read compared to other amazing stories I am currently reading (Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, the Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler, Gods of Blood and Powder by Brian McClellan, The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne). But it is a mere personal taste factor that comes into play here – otherwise, this is just an amazing book (and series!).

 

I am looking forward to your thoughts about this book! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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