The Masked City by Genevive Cogman
The first in this series was The Invisible Library.
Librarian-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.
I have to admit that I didn’t find this as good as the first one. My first instinct was “all of those worlds to choose from, and they go back to the steampunk one?!” but I admit that was hasty – there is indeed a trip to another world! It also involves Kai causing havoc (again) and Irene being kick-ass (again), with some additions that include a rather freaky alternate Venice.
I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad that there was an alternate plotline to the chaos induced in The Invisible Library – in one way it’s awesome to see more of the worlds and machinations, more of the Fae and the Dragons, more of the external forces and chaos/order balance…but at the same time, I want answers, damnit! I want to see more of the problems and the world from the first book!
That said…The Burning Page is returning to the consequences of The Invisible Library‘s plotline and Irene’s actions, with some added chaos from The Masked City – so I am eagerly looking forward to that.
The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
This is the second in the Lady Trent series; the first was A Natural History of Dragons. The Tropic of Serpents continues the story; three years after her journey through Vystrana, the illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) Lady Trent defies convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of the legendary swamp-wyrm. Accompanied by an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell… where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.
Still loving this series! The adventure in this story is still as politically-charged as the previous, and includes as many dragons – but I love that Isabella is starting to flex her muscles, and actually affecting events; she is much more secure, much more confident, and her actions make a huge difference to every incident. Her love of dragons and the lengths that she will go to for them are outstanding, and I really enjoyed the interactions between characters and the myriad cultures; it’s the politics as much as the natural history that makes this series so fascinating. I’ve got the third, Voyage of the Basilisk, on my TBR!
The first in this series was The Science of Monsters, which I loved (and reviewed on Amazon). This second book is as entertaining and interesting as the first; Kaplan investigates holy cults, the effect of the moon on sleep patterns, regeneration possibilities and numerous other myths with a wry, curious air that mixes humour and a scientific rigour with genuine interest in the subject. If you have anyone who loves learning, mythology, science or just enjoys being able to say, “did you know…” then buy Kaplan’s books!