I read The Invisible Library, the first book in the series, a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I was so excited when The Masked City arrived, and I could continue the adventure with Irene, Kai and Vale!
There’s always a danger with a second book that it won’t live up to the first. I’m pleased to report that, if you liked The Invisible Library, The Masked City lives up to expectation.
The characters are fun, well-formed, and develop nicely through the story arc. I love the way the author has given us a new kind of strong female protagonist. Irene is kick-ass, sassy, flawed, kind of a geek, and while, yes, this is fantasy, so she does have some extraordinary abilities, she’s also very relatable. Kai is a little bit too stereotypical sidekick, with the eye-candy factor, but Vale, who could have been a straightforward parody of Sherlock Holmes, is actually quite nuanced and interesting. I’m in love with these characters. They feel like old, familiar friends.
The plot is fast-paced, action driven, focused around a mystery to tie together all the supernatural and strange events. I love the use of settings like Victorian London and Venice, with a fantasy twist. The worldbuilding really is staggering. And the descriptive prose sets a lovely scene, without slowing down the pace at all.
If I had one criticism, it would be that the second book, The Masked City, lacks the plot complexity of The Invisible Library. The Invisible Library had multiple sub-plots, intrigues, and loose ends, which made it stand out for me. In The Masked City, the author seems to have dropped all those undercurrents and stuck to one, quite simple, plot. The book isn’t the better for it, and I think that if you hadn’t absolutely loved The Invisible Library (as I did), you probably wouldn’t enjoy The Masked City.
That being said, if the plot was quite simple and lacked the twists, turns, and intrigues of the first book, I still enjoyed it immensely. I’m going to be buying the third book in the series, The Burning Page, for sure!
Has anyone else read this series? What did you think??
I’m crossing off “From a series” on my December Book Bingo Challenge (10 points).
Where are you up to with Book Bingo? Has anyone else managed to cross anything off?