Where “The Invisible Library” falls short — lots of world building explanations that drug down the action bits — “The Masked City” soared. “The Masked City” (September 2016, Penguin Publishing Group) doesn’t waste any time jumping into action.
Kai and Irene immediately are swept up in dastardly Fae plot to start a war.
Kai, Irene’s apprentice, is missing for most of the book and this allows Cogman to explore Irene’s character and motivations in a deeper fashion.
Throughout the story, Irene is challenged to find her way in a Fae-controlled Venice with no help from the Library or her allies from book one. She becomes quite resourceful and starts to come into her own.
Cogman often uses archaic words in her narrative, causing the reader to stop, look up the word and then assimilate it back into the story. If one of the Library characters, such as Irene, used these words in a conversation or during her internal thoughts, it would make much more sense; however, it happens in the descriptive text and feels snooty, as if the author is looking down her nose at the reader.
Cogman’s romp through a magic-infused Venice with its gondolas, masks and conniving Fae is enjoyable. Irene is becoming a strong, fleshed-out character who is starting to understand her power and place in the world. And with the world building out of the way, “The Masked City” flies with action and adventure.
“The Burning City,” book three in “The Invisible Library” series, was released Jan. 10.