I have not been exposed to a great deal of alternative-Earth fantasy, nor a lot of steampunk fantasy, but ever since I read Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library I’ve been hankering for more of the same.
Which meant that when the sequel, The Masked City, rocked up on my doorstep earlier this month, it went straight to the top of my to-read pile for post-Christmas.
It was read in a day.
Genevieve Cogman has managed to nail a reader’s passion for books – old and new, rare and otherwise – and weave it into a fantasy tale so intriguing and clever that it keeps you on the lookout for other potential special agents from The Invisible Library, just in case they’re real.
The Masked City takes place not long after The Invisible Library, and though it’s a short book, it’s packed full of non-stop action, intrigue, and librarians. The stakes are high in this book – higher than ever, definitely, for our protagonist – and Irene Winters must do whatever she can to stop a war that could literally destroy worlds.
There was very little that I could nitpick over, searching for negatives. The writing is clean and fast-paced, and the characters we are allowed to tag along with are infinitely fascinating, like all the best characters are. Irene Winters is strong, talented, and has access to tools that allow her to accomplish more than her enemies envision. But some good old fashioned sneaky also works in this book, in a way that makes perfect sense.
We learn a little bit more about The Invisible Library itself, and the consequences of actions taken by its Librarians, revealing an organisation that intends to accomplish its stated mission no matter what. There is none of the inter-organisational intrigue of the first book, but there is every likelihood that will pop up again in the third book in what I imagine is going to be a fantastic and long-running series.
The Masked City captured my imagination from the very first page, and brought me to an alternate Venice with stakes so high many Earth’s could have been destroyed by a way between the Fae and dragons. Genevieve Cogman writes with flair and passion that only a booklover can bring to a series about interdimensional librarians. The Masked City is an absolute must, an up-till-4am page-turner.
Review by Joshua S Hill
Today I have the pleasure to speak with Genevieve Cogman, author of the fantastic and imaginative The Invisible Library. Genevieve has been kind enough to answer some questions about herself and her book, as well as contribut [...]
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