November 20

The Masked City – Genevieve Cogman

The Masked CityLibrarian-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

My thanks to Pan Macmillan for my review copy which I received through Netgalley

The Masked City is the second book from Genevieve Cogman that follows the story of Irene, professional spy and agent of the mysterious Library. Agents of the Library are tasked with recovering books from across a wealth of worlds where order or chaos may prevail and dragons and the fantastical fae are opposing and ruling forces. The worlds that Irene visits are strange corruptions of our own such as highly advanced technological worlds or a steam-punk variant with Victorian undercurrents. Being able to drop her characters into a world that can be manipulated into anything she needs gives Genevieve Cogman so much scope – and I am loving how she uses this freedom.

In The Masked City Irene finds herself on another retrieval mission only this time it is not for a book, her assistant Kai has been kidnapped by the Fae and Irene is trying to bring him home.  As Kai is a Dragon it will have taken an extraordinarily strong Fae to overcome Kai and keeping him captive will need strong Fae magic – will Irene have the skills to rescue her friend?

Irene learns that Kai is being held in a world deeply rooted in chaos – too chaotic for Kai’s dragon family to pursue him without their presence being deemed an act of war. The Library officially stands neutral between order and chaos and will not help Irene nor can they sanction a rescue mission – Irene is on her own and needs to come up with a plan quickly!

The Masked City is a fantastically fun read. Irene has to travel from London to Venice (in a chaotic variant of the world we recognise). She needs to work undercover, be heavily disguised and cannot let her alliance to the Library be known. On arriving in Venice (The Masked City) she will need to track down Kai, rescue him and get him to safety before they can be detected. Unfortunately for Irene she is up against some formidable opponents and it is not long before her plans start to unravel. She faces constant danger and has to make full use of her training and intuition to stand any chance of surviving – successfully completing a rescue mission seems increasingly unlikely as the story progresses.

This is a series I want to see run and run. Genevieve Cogman is building a fantastic world with infinite possibilities and Irene is a feisty and engaging lead character who is not above making mistakes and is all too aware of her own limitations.  The characters are nicely balanced with mysterious and enigmatic foes, courageous and strong allies all playing a political power game against each other.

Building on the foundations established in The Invisible Library, readers are in for an absolute treat with The Masked City. A five star delight from Genevieve Cogman, and I am already looking forward to my next visit to the Library.


The Masked City is published in paperback and digital formats by Pan Macmillan on 3rd December 2015.


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Posted November 20, 2015 by Gordon in category "5* Reviews", "From The Bookshelf