GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Second Look Book Review: The Masked City (The Invisible Library #2) by Genevieve Cogman | I Smell Sheep

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Second Look Book Review: The Masked City (The Invisible Library #2) by Genevieve Cogman

You can find Bianca Greenwood's 5 sheep review of The Masked City here

The Masked City (The Invisible Library #2)
by Genevieve Cogman

December 3rd 2015 by Tor
Paperback, 352 pages
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.

Ironically, I have been reading two stories simultaneously about a "Library" as an autonomous universe or governing body. I finally put one aside so not to confuse the two. Both introduced me to the concept of the importance of keeping the written word "safe" and controlling who could have access to it's contents albeit with a seemingly selfish and autocratic governing body. I was beginning to get a little paranoid because as we know, sometimes, fiction turns to reality!

I loved the title and was intrigued by the first few chapters introducing Irene as a library "employee" or "librarian" on assignment to retrieve a rare book from an alternate universe. Dragons, Fae, skinwalkers(?), mechanical alligators, futuristic and retro themes and chaos were just a few of the items included in only one universe...whew....don't book my ticket for that vacation spot! There were indications that this story would include bits of intrigue and danger with a Sprite-like young lady leading the case. What I didn't see coming in the following chapters was the mass inclusion of other characters with only cursory development. I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride trying to anticipate the next turn or dip. I began to wonder if the story was written with an ADD or bipolar "pen". Sometimes less is a little more and there was a lot of mythological characters in and out of the story without a real platform for me to keep a steady heading of the story or characters.

I did like the characters of Irene, Kai and Vale but the jury is still out on Silver, Albreicht, Bradament, Singh and a whole host of other "extras". Just felt like I was starting on volume 2 or 3 in a series of books. I always felt a little off balance.

I read a couple of the endorsement reviews at the beginning of the book that compared it to "Harry Potter" and "Dr. Who". While I could understand, to some extent, what they were referring to (magic, time travel of sorts, alternate universes and danger), I was beginning to wonder what "alternative" universe they were inhabiting. I think trying to include all those factions in one story was overwhelming and actually started to give me a headache. It took me a couple weeks to finish because I didn't have remorse when putting it down. Not quite the page turner I was expecting.

After finishing the read and looking back in my mind I think the author has a really good foundation for a story but for my taste it needs a little shaping and character development. I find it hard to explain that I liked the story but was disappointed in the read. Perhaps future installments will clear the waters and make for a more memorable story.

Getting 3 "I did finish it" sheep!

Jeanie G

About the author:
Genevieve Cogman is a freelance author, who has written for several role-playing game companies. Her work includes GURPS Vorkosigan and contributions to the In Nomine role-playing game line for Steve Jackson Games: contributions to Exalted 2nd Edition and other contributions to the Exalted and Orpheuslines for White Wolf Publishing: Hearts, Swords and Flowers: The Art of Shoujo for Magnum Opus: and contributions to the Dresden Files RPG for Evil Hat Productions. She currently works for the NHS in England in the HSCIC as a clinical classifications specialist.

She has had three books of her series about the multidimensional Library accepted by Tor Books, and the first two books, The Invisible Library and The Masked City, are now available. Her novels are represented by Lucienne Diver of the Knight Agency.

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