Size Doesn’t Matter (83): The Masked City; Interference

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (83): The Masked City; InterferenceThe Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
Series: The Invisible Library #2
Published by Roc on September 6, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Alternate Universe
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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 a conflict between the forces of chaos and order that would devastate all worlds and all dimensions. To keep humanity from getting caught in the crossfire, Irene will have to team up with a local Fae leader to travel deep into a version of Venice filled with dark magic, strange coincidences, and a perpetual celebration of Carnival—and save her friend before he becomes the first casualty of a catastrophic war.

But navigating the tumultuous landscape of Fae politics will take more than Irene’s book-smarts and fast-talking—to ward off Armageddon, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear....

The Invisible Library was a sheer delight, and seriously you guys should be reading this series. That said, The Masked City left me just slightly wanting. It’s still good fun, but for a handful of minor reasons came up a bit short compared to the first book in this fantastic series.

The pacing in The Masked City didn’t stay as quick as The Invisible Library, and the fact that Kai was separated from Irene meant that there was less bantership to enjoy. I meandered a bit in the first half, but once Irene gets to Venice, the pace ratchets up, and Cogman had me in her authorial clutches once again.

I love Kai. Like a whole lot. Even so, I didn’t like his added POV in The Masked City. He has a handful of brief chapters, but they’re completely unnecessary to the folding plot, and they don’t really dive deeply into his thoughts. It’s such a minor annoyance, but obvious flaws in construction like that are pet peeves of mine. Though love interest separation plots are by no means close to my favorites, I do think this book was a nice emotional arc for Irene to confront the fact that she maybe actually really could care for Kai.

What really shined in this book was getting to enter a high chaos world. You learn a lot more about dragons and even more about the fae. I love this concept of fae basically being creatures who constantly envision themselves as part of a story, and the way plots play out in semi-convenient ways to fit the narrative. It’s massively meta and incredibly clever, without anything coming off as boringly convenient. This creativity is a big part of what I love about this series.

So very excited for book three where my ship could potentially sail. The Masked City was not well-suited to romance, but I cross my fingers for The Burning Page. Though, given the length of this series, Cogman might make me wait longer.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (83): The Masked City; InterferenceInterference by Kay Honeyman
Published by Arthur A. Levine on September 27, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
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four-stars

I will not get involved…I will not get involved…I will not get involved…

As a congressman’s daughter in Washington, DC, Kate Hamilton always pushes to make things right. But when a scandal sends her family to Red Dirt, Texas, she decides to step back for a while. She’ll take pictures for her portfolio. She’ll volunteer at her aunt’s animal shelter. And most of all, she’ll stay out of politics (including her father’s latest election) and away from guys (especially after her ex’s betrayal).

But…

If Kate’s political skills can be useful in Red Dirt, should she really let them go to waste? After all, her friend Ana Gomez and quarterback Kyle Stone would be a perfect match. Her dad’s campaign could benefit from a teenage perspective. The irritatingly handsome Hunter Price should learn he doesn’t know everything…When Kate’s plans backfire, she must find the soul beneath her DC spin, and risk her heart—the biggest involvement of all.

I immediately fell for Kay Honeyman’s Interference. This book perfectly nails Clueless meets The Unexpected Everything meets (I assume though I haven’t seen it) Friday Night Lights. If you’re into those things, you will most definitely be into this book.

Interference is a loose Emma retelling, but it’s very much recognizable. Kate’s a plotter, a fixer, consummately political, but in the best way possible. Her father’s been in politics for most of her life, and she’s used to campaigning. Unlike most politician’s kids, Kate actually loves being involved most of the time, and she absolutely hates that because of her, his spot in Congress is in jeopardy and her family’s running off to her dad’s hometown of Red Dirt, Texas. More disappointingly, he’s actually planning to run for a different Congress seat there, which he didn’t tell her about.

Kate’s struggling with her father’s lack of faith in her, upset that he no longer wants her involved in his campaign, and also a bit sad that they won’t
have some good family time during their time in Texas. She’s really not the sort of person to throw a tantrum or mope. Kate’s a lot like her dad, and she wants to help the people around her. Immediately, she has causes in Red Dirt (on top of her goal of getting vengeance on her cheating ex by winning a recommendation letter away from him), like ending the bullying of her new friend Ava, helping her father win the election, and saving her aunt’s flagging animal shelter.

Here’s where we come back to the Emma tie-in: one of the ways in which Kate tries to help people is by matchmaking. If she thinks that a boyfriend or girlfriend will help someone with a problem or just make them happier, Kate’s going to everything she can to fix it. All Kate wants to do is help and to fix any problem she comes across. The Knightly to her Emma is Hunter, a bit of a loner in the town, who constantly tries to convince her that she’s going too far and doing too much accidental harm. Their grumbling banter as they end up working together to help the town in their different ways is super adorable and shippy.

I adored this read, but I did find it a bit too similar to other books I’ve read before, and it didn’t quite manage to surpass any of them. It’s voicey but not quite as voicey as it’s comps. Shippy but not quite as shippy. The political maneuverings are fun, and the way Honeyman parallels politics to football is quite clever. I love Kate’s personality, and it’s a nice to change to the fairly common child-of-a-politician narrative that she’s actually into the whole thing. The secondary characters could be a bit better developed and mostly do not get strong arcs of their own. When it comes down to it, this book is about Kate and Kate alone.

Interference is a great contemporary read, and, though I wanted just a smidge more from it for it to be an all-time favorite, I definitely recommend it to my shippy compatriots into Austen-inspired fiction and cute banterships.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (83): The Masked City; Interference”

  1. I’ll have to look up The Invisible Library! And of course I bought Interference the moment I heard FNL meets Emma/Clueless. I can’t resist!!! It sounds fun and I’m glad you enjoyed it even if it didn’t stand out.
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted…Review: The Hating Game by Sally ThorneMy Profile

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