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The Masked City

(The Invisible Library #2)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  19,452 ratings  ·  1,928 reviews
Working in an alternate version of Victorian London, Librarian-spy Irene has settled into a routine, collecting important fiction for the mysterious Library and blending in nicely with the local culture. But when her apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent—is kidnapped by the Fae, her carefully crafted undercover operation begins to crumble.

Kai’s abduction could incite
Paperback, 372 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Ace Books (first published December 3rd 2015)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  19,452 ratings  ·  1,928 reviews

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Dear Carol:

Someday, someone is going to enthusiastically mention this series to you, and you are going to find yourself making that scrunched-up-nose-face that means either the dog has gas or someone is cooking asparagus again, and you probably won't remember why. Actually, let's call it like it will be; you won't.

But why? you will be asked. It has a librarian as the Strong Heroine .™ There's a Great Library that helps connect and stabilize the human worlds. There's a shapeshifting dragon! A det
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-shelf, fantasy
I'm on the shelf about this one. It's more 3.5 stars but I tend to round up when there's nothing overtly wrong with it. And there isn't. It is what it intends to be. A spy novel with interdimensional librarians up against the forces of Order and Chaos in the shapes of the Fae and Dragons.

There's a bit of romance, a lot of steampunk train-heist-y stuff, and talking. It's fun.

My only complaint is that there's not enough meat. I mean, the potential is there for some really wild and imaginative dive
Warning: The review contains mild spoilers!


This has been another great read, absolutely on par with the first book with even more action, world-building that goes deep & lots of fun.

The story picks up where it left off at the end of Book #1. Irene works as Librarian-in-Residence in an alternate, steampunk, Victorian London with Zeppelins, Faes, werewolves & most importantly Peregrine Vale (an alternate Sherlock Holmes with better-developed social skills, lots of money and a title).
When Irene's
2019 Re-read

When life gets complicated, my reading needs simplify. Ms. Cogman’s Invisible Library series had seen me through a challenging week of no running water and cat care duties.

TMC is an excellent follow-up to TIL, where we get to know much more about the Fae in general and Lord Silver in particular. Needless to say, Irene is up to the challenge, teaming up with Vale to rescue Kai from a high-chaos world. We also learn about the awesome power of the royal Dragons and about Kai’s backgroun
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book every bit as much as I did the first in the series, The Invisible Library. This one moves away from the library itself and becomes a huge adventure in multiple worlds with some amazing magic! Irene's own magical skills are just wonderful and we also see a new aspect of Kai which makes him a much more interesting character. I hope he features in a big way in future books:) I loved the whole concept of the magical train, the Fae versus the Dragons, the chaos worlds and of cours ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2018
I loved Genevieve Cogman's first book in this series The Invisible Library, where she introduced Librarian/spy extraordinaire Irene Winters and her student Kai. Their role is to visit alternate worlds through a network of Libraries and secretly bring back dangerous or vulnerable books to the Library for safe keeping. The alternate worlds come in all forms of low and high tech, with magical beings such as the Fae and their enemies, the dragons infiltrating various worlds to different degrees. For ...more
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. This series has so many things going for it. There are dragons, the fae, werewolves, and librarian spies along with nearly non-stop action. This story started with a bang and kept me guessing until the very end. I love how unique this series really is and I enjoyed every part of this second installment.

Kai is kidnapped early on in the book leaving Irene to figure out what to do to get him back. When her normal
Richard Derus
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: returned, borrowed
Real Rating: 3.75* of five

An interdimensional Library, located outside the reach of Time's Arrow, hires minions to acquire by fair means or foul certain texts out there in the Multiverse for safekeeping or sequestration within its eternity-defining and -defying walls.

The idea of this series is compulsively readable to me. The experience of reading Author Cogman's thoughts about books, reading, stories and their effects and affects is addictive. But this second entry into the series suffers from
Althea Ann
A very enjoyable sequel to 'The Invisible Library.' If you enjoyed the first book; you will undoubtedly love this one too. I would recommend starting with the first however - they're quick reads.

In this episode, Librarian/transdimensional-spy Irene, to her great dismay, finds her junior assistant Kai missing. Kai was under her tutelage, and was her responsibility, so she feels it's up to her to get him back. Raising the stakes is the fact that Kai is the scion of a notable, and immensely powerfu
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
After reading and loving the first and third book in this series was I thrilled to get my hands on book two. After reading book three, The Burning Page, did I know the outcome of this book, but I still really wanted to read more about the kidnapping of Kai. And, yes, this book was good, but I also felt that I had some serious problem with really getting into the story. The whole, it's not you, it's me kind of situation that one can have with books now and then. I really wanted to love this book, ...more
Skyler Autumn
2 Stars Generously

Honestly the only reason I didn't DNF this novel was pure stubbornness on my part. Also for god sake the concept has so much freakin potential it is like THE PURGE of urban fantasy novels. Great concept - poorly executed.

I thought the first novel for a urban fantasy series at least was usually exposition city then the books following ease off the info dumping so you can enjoy the characters and storyline. The Masked City revolved around Dragons and Fae so numerous chapters w
Liz Barnsley
When I read “The Invisible Library” last year it was a purely pleasurable read, one that I absorbed in one sitting – a darkly humerous and incredibly clever tale of a super Library overseeing a range of worlds, all of them different in their own way – and followed the story of Irene as she went after a particular book in a particular place (yes I’m trying to NOT with the spoilers) . Highly imaginative, if you love reading and books generally then you can’t possibly go wrong here, these are stori ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Masked City is another fantastic adventure chronicling the exploits of Irene Winters, a secret agent for an interdimensional library. I literally cannot find anything to dislike about the last part of that sentence. In fact, the only reason I’m not rating this higher is because of the reduced time we get to spend within the said interdimensional library, as well as some of the supporting characters (and if you recall
Mel (Epic Reading)
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Invisible Library. And so my hopes were high (perhaps too high) for Genevieve Cogman to deliver on her second book starring Librarian Irene. Unfortunately I was ultimately let down and disappointed in many aspects of the story.

On page 2 we find out that Kai has been kidnapped. If like me you tend to read a couple books (or more) in-between books in a series to keep things fresh then you might also feel like page 2 is a bit abrupt and sudden
Erin Clemence
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have rounded up a 4.5 star rating to a 5 star for the purposes of Goodreads.
“The Masked City” is the second novel in Genevieve Cogman’s “The Invisible Library” series. In this novel, Kai (Librarian Irene’s apprentice) is kidnapped, and Irene must travel to an alternate Venice (where all patrons are masked for a twisted version of Carnival) where she must battle the Fae that hold Kai captive, while trying to prevent a catastrophic war.
This novel lacked the presence of books and literature tha
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-on-shelf
Full review @

- -
Just a great second book following The Invisible Library. It felt like a Tommy and Tuppence (yes, Agatha Christie's detectives) meet a fantasy version of McGyver.

The book takes stereotypes and shakes them, uses amazing locations to their fullest and it has worthy criminals. It is a great "lighter" read yet the author shows an impressive skill in the use of English - the words are used with a particular attention to details - and an amazi
Karen ⊰✿
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wheelathon3
In this second instalment, Irene discovers that Kai has been kidnapped. Against the wishes of The Library, she travels to a chaos world in order to find him and prevent a war between the Fae and the Dragons.

I quite liked this additional insight into the worlds and the politics. Irene is a great character and I still love the idea of how words have such power and force.

Auntie Terror
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-urban
We meet Irene again where we left her: in a slightly more "chaotic" alternate version of London, with her student Kai and private investigator Vale. They are warned by one of the more powerful resident Far, Lord Silver, of an unspecified danger, and soon enough Kai is kidnapped and Irene has to give chase into a high-chaos Venice and into the middle of age-old Fae-intrigues and high politics that might affect even the Library itself.

What I liked very much about this book is the constant play upo
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dragons
The Masked City is a sequel to The Invisible Library, following the same characters… With possibly even less time in the actual library, which is my only real disappointment here. Technically, I received it to review — but only the day after I’d already bought a copy. I was eager to get my hands on it; the first book was a lot of fun, even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as, say, Bastian’s Book Reviews did. (Trivia: a quotation from his review appears on the back cover, and in the first couple of p ...more
Book Riot Community
I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Invisible Library, but The Masked City completely won me over. The series centers around Irene, a librarian/spy who travels through different versions of our world collecting books to maintain the balance between chaos and order. The Masked City has a very straight-forward plot: Irene’s apprentice, a dragon named Kai, is kidnapped by the Fae, the dragons’ mortal enemies, and taken to a Fae-controlled Venice that’s a mix of fantasy, dream, and nightmar ...more
This one might be even better than the first!
Robin (Bridge Four)
“I plan for the worst,’ Silver said. ‘That way, at least I’m dressed for the occasion.”

It is nice when there is a change up to the normal damsel in distress scenario and the person who needs to be rescued is the Dragon instead. Kia has been abducted by the Fae and taken deep into a chaos world to be sold off to the highest bidder. Irene will need to ride a magical train and create a narrative of epic scale if she is going to save him.

For a series about Libraries and Librarians they s
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2016
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and write an honest review.

Hoping for a quieter assignment than the last one, Irene is now working in an alternative London. All seem to be well until her assistant, Kai, is kidnapped. She quickly discovers his abductors are a faction of the fae. Given Kai’s dragon heritage, this could be considered an act of war by his Royal family and the impact for entire worlds could be devastating.

Irene feels completely responsible for him bein
Megan Leigh
This review was originally published on Pop Verse.

Cogman’s The Invisible Library was a refreshingly fun fantasy caper with an interesting magical premise and silly action. It had its share of weaknesses, most of which I chalked up to the inexperience of a debut novelist. Unfortunately, The Masked City is neither as fun or interesting as its predecessor while the prose issues have either grown worse in the second attempt or I simply put up with them less now that Cogman ought to know better.

TS Chan
3.5 stars.

Another fun and entertaining read with really fascinating worldbuilding.

Jacob Overmark
Irene´s new adventures in cloak and dagger, and well ... mask.
Even a book two generally has the reputation of missing target, it did not disapoint.
Dragon hunting in a chaos infested Venice was an interesting experience.

What starts out as a relatively simple task of acquiring a book, suddenly turns much more serious when an aristocratic Fae couple enter the scene.
The course of events take dramatic turns and suddenly Irene is all alone in a very strange version of Venice.
With the muscle of "The
Paige  Bookdragon
*started having difficulty in breathing*
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
RTC - I love this series, the only reason that I am not giving this one 5 stars is that it did not blow me away and captivate me in the way that the first one did. However, still a wonderful read and I am excited to start on the third one!
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
all the stars, possibly my favourite in the series but then I probably have four favourite books in this series
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is one of those rare books where the sequel outshines its predecessor. The Invisible Library, by necessity, spends a lot of time world building. In contrast, The Masked City focuses more on the action. Except this time around, instead of retrieving a lost book, Irene is retrieving a lost dragon (and trying to prevent war, fae enchantment, and other such inconsequential things.) I really enjoyed it, particularly when she hangs around with the fae apprentices-ish-people. They interest ...more
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Hoyt's Huns: July 2020 -- The Masked City -- no spoilers 3 4 Jul 09, 2020 09:20PM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Masked City [Sep 1, 2018] 14 47 Sep 29, 2018 08:13AM  

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Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance ...more

Other books in the series

The Invisible Library (8 books)
  • The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)
  • The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)
  • The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library, #4)
  • The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library, #5)
  • The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library, #6)
  • The Dark Archive (The Invisible Library, #7)
  • The Untold Story (The Invisible Library #8)

News & Interviews

For hard-core book lovers, the month of December is a mixed blessing. Those relentless holiday obligations tend to cut into reading time....
28 likes · 2 comments
“The perfect Librarian is calm, cool, collected, intelligent, multilingual, a crack shot, a martial artist, an Olympic-level runner (at both the sprint and marathon), a good swimmer, an expert thief, and a genius con artist. They can steal a dozen books from a top-security strongbox in the morning, discuss literature all afternoon, have dinner with the cream of society in the evening, and then stay up until midnight dancing, before stealing some more interesting tomes at three a.m. That's what a perfect Librarian would do. In practice, most Librarians would rather spend their time reading a good book.” 18 likes
“This is a place built to store books, by people who wanted to preserve books, and used by people who want to read those books. I am not alone.” 17 likes
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