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Off To Rescue The Prince

The second book in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series, The Masked City, turns the tired “damsel in distress” trope on its head.

Off To Rescue The Prince

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

Cover Story: Content Appropriate
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Adventure Time
Bonus Factors: Dude in Distress, Venice
Relationship Status: Travel Companions

Danger, Will Robinson! The Masked City is the second book in the Invisible Library series. If you have not read the first book—The Invisible Library—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first book, however, feel free to continue below. I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the larger story.

Cover Story: Content Appropriate

There’s nothing about this cover that jumps out at me, but it’s appropriate enough in it’s simplicity and old timey leather look for a book about people who work for a library/The Library.

The Deal:

Irene has settled well into life as Librarian-in-Residence on the Victorian-era world she found herself during The Invisible Library. She and Kai are working well as a team, and they often cross paths with Peregrine Vale while on cases. Things are going smoothly, or as smoothly as life as a librarian/spy can go.

That is, until Kai is kidnapped by a couple of Fae with delusions of grandeur and taken to a high-chaos world (which disagrees mightily with his true nature). Lest his abduction start a war that affects all realms, Irene must figure out a way to rescue him without overstepping bounds, breaking too many rules, or being captured—or worse—herself.

BFF Charm: Yay

At first, I wanted to be Irene. But then I “watched” as she risked life and limb and career to rescue Kai without a really solid plan, and I quickly realized that I don’t think I’m quite cut out for her life. So I’m dialing my BFF intensity back a bit, and hoping that we can just be good friends. And that she’ll occasionally take me along on one of her more low-key adventures.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Irene continues to be confused on whether she wants to stay Kai’s superior and friend or become more than than that. And his kidnapping gives her something else to focus on for the time being.

(I’m also a bit worried that there’s a love triangle looming, but I might be reading into certain situations.)

Talky Talk: Adventure Time

The Invisible Library series brings the adventure one usually finds in the pages of books to life (albeit in the pages of books, but I hope you know what I mean). I love the idea of a universe in which people who love books best are living out stories and rescuing (*cough*stealing*cough*) rare books to ensure the safety of all worlds. Genevieve Cogman’s characters are interesting and intriguing and definitely people I’d like to adventure with. But I want to know more about the Library and the “rules” behind the universe in which it exists—in other words, Cogman’s world-building could be a little more robust.

I was also worried, as I read The Masked City, that it was a bridge book; although the adventure within was engaging, I felt like it was a one-off rather than a part of the larger overarching series plot. But then I noticed that the series is up to five books on Goodreads, rather than the three I initially thought it would be, so I’ll ease up on my rush to get to the grand conclusion.

Bonus Factor: Dude in Distress

I love how Cogman turns the damsel in distress trope on its head in The Masked City. Instead of Irene being the one needing rescuing by a man, Kai spends the majority of the book in captivity, and it’s up to Irene to rescue him. Three cheers for lady heroes!

(Also, the whole Kai being what he is*—rather than being held hostage by one—adds to the subversion of the trope in a fun way.)

*Avoiding spoilers here, folks.

Bonus Factor: Venice

Irene’s search for Kai takes her to a Fae-controlled, high-chaos “world” in which there is only Venice (Italy). It’s the Venice of stories, natch, and stereotypical in the best ways: gondoliers flood the canals, it’s perpetually Carnival, and the city is ruled from the shadows by a secretive and sinister society.

Casting Call:

I cast Irene and Kai in my review of the first book in the series, and to them I’ll add:

David Tennant as Peregrine Vale

Lee Pace—in a Thranduil wig, minus the crap attitude—as Lord Silver

Relationship Status: Travel Companions

You give life to my favorite thing about reading, Book: “going on” adventures with the characters. I’ll keep my go bag stocked and ready until the next time we meet, and maybe take some self-defense classes in the meantime.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Roc. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Masked City is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.