The Masked City

The Masked City

4.7 3
by Genevieve Cogman

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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 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....


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The second installment of Cogman's whimsical fantasy series (after The Invisible Library) follows the career of Irene, a spy for the international organization called the Library, and her dragon protégé, Kai. Irene has grown complacent in an alternate Victorian London, but her world is disrupted when Kai is kidnapped. She must retrieve him before a war erupts between the dragons and the Fae. Irene's quest takes her to opulent Italy, rendered in rich, alluring detail. Cogman keeps up with the voice and pacing established in the first installment as she delves deeper into the nuances of Fae politics and power. The inclusion of the Student Librarian's Handbook, however, overlaps with information revealed during the course of the novel, at times feeling redundant. Irene and Kai are faced with new challenges as the plot moves forward, buoyed by Cogman's fabulous imagined Europe. This installment lacks some of the verve of the first book, but it's still intelligent, inventive fantasy that anyone familiar with or new to the genre will enjoy. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
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
Library Journal
Librarian-in-residence Irene should be happily settling into her role in the slightly magical Victorian world to which she has been assigned, with her dragon assistant Kai. When Kai is kidnapped and taken deep into the magical realms of the fae, Irene will do anything to get him back. Her ties to the Library will protect her to some extent from the fae's powers, but their chaotic environment is poison to Kai. Getting drawn into a power play among fae nobles will require Irene to use all the talents at her disposal. From her introduction in The Invisible Library as a secret Library agent tasked with rescuing obscure novels from alternate versions of Earth, Irene has proven to be a charming, resourceful heroine. VERDICT Fans of this series and its mix of adventure and wit will be pleased that Book 3, The Burning Page, is due in January 2017, with Cogman signed to pen at least two more. [See Eric Norton's SF/Fantasy Genre Spotlight, "Imagined Multiverses," LJ 8/16.—Ed.]—MM
Kirkus Reviews
In the second installment of her Invisible Library series, Cogman (The Invisible Library, 2016) chronicles the exploits of Irene Winters, an interdimensional Librarian seeking rare books across alternate worlds.Irene (she named herself after Irene Adler) is Librarian-in-Residence in a Victorian London not quite our own, as it boasts a Fae Embassy and werewolf gangs. Here, Irene and her apprentice, a dragon named Kai, acquire rare volumes for the mysterious Library—with the aid of Peregrine Vale, a Sherlock Holmes analogue. When Kai is kidnapped, the potential retribution from his family must be averted. Irene and Vale discover the abduction to be the work of the Fae—the dragons' ancient foes—and Irene must bargain with the scheming Lord Silver in order to track Kai to a Fae-ruled alternate Venice, leaving Vale behind. Irene must assert her own will against the Fae-dominated reality of Carnival Venice and the machinations of Kai's kidnappers. She is helped by the surprising reappearance of Vale (surprising only to Irene; one would expect a Holmes-loving Librarian to be more genre savvy!) and her own power of "Language," an ill-defined magical system by which Irene can change reality through words alone. (Language has few limits; using it is exhausting, but conveniently, Irene never becomes tired enough for this to actually impact the plot.) An epic prison break and a final showdown on an archetypal train add memorable visuals to the story...but these visuals have more impact than the characters themselves. Irene is competent, adventurous, and—that's about it; Kai fares little better than eye candy. While it seems like there should be something for everyone in this mashup of dragons, faeries, librarians, Holmes, and masked mystery, the end result is more a stew of “wouldn't it be cool...” than a tightly plotted tale.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Invisible Library Novel Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

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Meet 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 Masked City 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
thereadingchick 17 days ago
The Masked City takes up where The Invisible Library leaves off. Irene and Kai are living in Vale's world investigating a mysterious fae that was after the same book as they. Attacked by thugs, then separated as she follows a lead, Kai ends up being abducted and taken to another world, chained in a dungeon. As his mentor and friend, Irene ventures into this chaotic world to help save Kai before his dragon family decides to eliminate the fae who took him and the world they were living in, including the innocent humans inhabiting it. As I stated in my review of The Invisible Library, I would love to be a super spy Librarian! Irene is a female James Bond, though at times her sense is less than desirable and a bit grimier. She has a magical use of language, fluent in many languages as well as speaking Librarian. Her sense of loyalty is one of my favorite things about her. The fact that she is willing to deal with Kai's scary family and face danger for him reveals how much she cares for and values him. We find out a lot about Kai in this book, even though he isn't present on every page. His background is revealed and he becomes a little less mysterious, and a lot more desirable, in my eyes as well as Irene's. In a city where everyone wears a mask, it is surprising how much is revealed about all of these characters, and how much I enjoyed learning their secrets. Though I think Genevieve Cogman has a few more secrets left to be revealed. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, through NetGalley for my honest review.
Caroles_Random_Life 17 days ago
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. This series has so many things going for it. There are dragons, the fae, werewolves, and librarian spies along with nearly non-stop action. This story started with a bang and kept me guessing until the very end. I love how unique this series really is and I enjoyed every part of this second installment. Kai is kidnapped early on in the book leaving Irene to figure out what to do to get him back. When her normal methods of traveling to different dimensions won't work, she has to make plans to get to where Kai is being held. All of the great characters from the first book are back plus we meet some ones including member of Kai's family. Even the villains in this story are fun to read about! Not only is Kai's life in jeopardy, there is a threat of war if Irene isn't successful. She is on her own in a chaos filled Venice trying to figure out how to save her apprentice. She relies on her quick thinking and ability to blend in as she works to rescue Kai. Her power of voice is pretty handy in quite a few situations as well. As the story progresses, the excitement builds and I couldn't wait to see how everything would work out. I would highly recommend this book to others. This is such a fun and fast paced series with wonderful characters. This is the second book in the series and I do think it is best to try to read this series in order so that you have all of the background information. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in this series! I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Roc via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Myndia 19 days ago
As this is the second in a series, the first of which I fell madly in love with straightaway, you’d think I’d be falling all over myself again. Especially given that I enjoyed this even more than the first! Yet, I feel less excited about it. It’s a strange sort of feeling and I can’t keep my head wrapped around the why of it. I’d wholeheartedly recommend The Masked City (given you’ve already read The Invisible Library). The storyline is immensely entertaining, even smarter than the first, goes deeper into the overall world building of the series, and we start to see some relationships changing, two in particular (is there a chance of a love triangle in the future?!?) that I’m very excited about. But I’m not wanting to put on my party pants, so I’m guessing it’s a state of mind thing. In this second installment, Kai is kidnapped to a different world, one that is heavy on chaos and therefore antithetical to Kai’s dragon nature. As such, his family, powerful though they may be, cannot assist in his rescue, leaving Irene, and eventually Vale, on a mission to save Kai from whatever dastardly plans the Fae have for him. In so doing, she may have to break some rules, perhaps even Library rules, but Kai’s life (and the life of many others) is on the line, and she will stop at nothing to set him free. The storyline is more complex than the first, and a great deal more is learned about the nature of Fae and dragon alike. A much more immersive experience than the first (and I basically fangirl’d about the first, remember?). It being the end of the summer (in other words, my kids have been off school since end of May!) and having just started up a new semester myself, I suspect my brain was simply too tired for such cleverness. Which is a count against me, not against Ms. Cogman. My non-tired brain loves cleverness. Since the third in the series is scheduled to be released in the US in January 2017, my brain has lots of time to gear up for what I’m sure will be the best yet – The Burning Page. And in the meantime, I suspect I might sneak in a reread, in the pursuit of the thrill my tired brain cheated me out of this time. Definitely recommend it, especially if you have an interest in continuing the series (as I do), because reading the third book without having read the second would be kind of weird, right? Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.