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The Masked City

The Invisible Library, Book 2
Narrated by: Susan Duerden
Series: The Invisible Library, Book 2
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (252 ratings)

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Summary

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.

©2015 Genevieve Cogman (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Excruciating narration!

I have had to return this for a second time. I really like this series of books but I just cannot stand the downward inflection at the end of every single sentence, it just kills any speck of nuance or atmosphere, not to mention being plain irritating. Truly dreadful. Why oh why have they stuck with this narrator for the entire series when the reviews are overwhelmingly negative?

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story, Poor Narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

ThreThe book, definitely add it's a great story. audiobook, no add the narrator is really poor

What did you like best about this story?

The characters and settings are really well defined by the author

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Every single line inflects up at the end add if the narrator is asking a question. Is very off putting and, for me, ruins the whole story.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Awful narration lets the series down

Having enjoyed the RNIB's own audio recording of the first book in this series, The Invisible Library, I was looking forward to The Masked City. That is, until I heard the dreadful narration in this official version! The reader's intonation and inflection is terribly odd, Duerden reads every sentence as if it were a voiceover for a tv advertisement for yoghurt, or the answerphone message on a psychic chat line.

There's actually a lot of wry humour in the book but the narrator entirely fails to capture it. I didn't engage with the plot of this book as much as with the first, but it was enjoyable enough and badly let down by the strange narration.

I will listen to the next book in the series to find out what happens to the interesting characters and the fate of their worlds, but if any other version were available then I would avoid listening to anything read by this narrator.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good story, bad performance.

I love this series but after two books I'm not sure if I want to listen to the same narrator for two more books and 20 more hours. Her constant dramatic inflection is extremely tiring.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I couldn't stop!

Irene's loyalty to Kai and the Library shines through this second novel. Her bravery in facing Dragons and Fae alike, speaks of her love for Kai - even if she's not ready or willing to acknowledge it.
The Masked City, just like the Invisible Library, was jam packed with action and danger leaving the reader to hold on and hope for the best.
Irene's ability to think on her feet and consider most of the consequences ahead of her actions make her a unique character, destined to become beloved among readers and formidable amongst the most powerful players of the different realities.
I cannot wait for what comes next. There is, after all still Alberich to deal with once and for all and she and Kai cannot forever ignore their attraction- but willingly have a HEA? Well, I certainly hope so! There are many successful heroes and heroines out there who have a personal and professional partnership.
Definitely another Must Buy due to the story and narration!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Poor narration of a good story

I am really enjoying these books but the narration is still really bad. I wish they had switched to someone else! If you can get past her voice and M&S advert style intonation, the book itself is good. I hope they change her going forward. Sorry Susan, but it's not for me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining story but really odd delivery

This is the second of this series that I have 'read'. This first I actually read myself, and so I had an idea of how I thought the characters would sound. Perhaps that is part of the problem. As an audiobook I still found the story entertaining. A bit silly, and weak in parts, but entertaining nonetheless. The real issue I have is with the intonation of the person narrating. I don't believe this actor actually speaks in the way that the audiobook is read (I may be wrong) so it appears to be a deliberate choice to read in such an idiosyncratic way. It often jarred, and the way some (many) sentences were stressed completely undermined their meaning. I made it to the end, but in spite of rather than because of the delivery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the first book

The narrator is still incredibly annoying but in this second book the story is of a faster pace and it is easier to ignore her strange inflexions and pronunciations.
The characters are still quite insubstantial but maybe you don't need to know more about them?
Overall I enjoyed listening to this and I'm glad I tried the second . I may, after a time try the third in the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ruined by narration.

Where does The Masked City rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The story is one of the best I have ever heard or listened to. The story is brilliant but the narration is awful. I have heard worse, and returned books because of it, but this ranks fairly high in the awful narration stakes. It is saved by a truly brilliant and inventive story for which I am prerpared to keep listening. The narrator is excesivley breathy and dramatic as if every sentence was of immense importance and dramatic import.

What did you like best about this story?

The concept of books and libraries being so vital to the well being of worlds and librarians having powers we humans never dreamed of. Beware the next time you annoy a librarian in case they have The Language! If you want further explanation get this book.

How could the performance have been better?

A different narrator would have helped enormously.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definately. I had to spread it out due to othe commitments but it was hard at times to switch off.

Any additional comments?

Such a shame this wonderful and original stroy has been spoiled by the narration. I hope this author goes on to be as prolific as Terry Pratchett, think of the excitment of thirty or more stories about Irene and the Library.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • 11-02-16

Never again

Excellent narration - you definitely come to love it if you don't at first. Never again will I read a book from a series as yet unfinished, I cannot wait for the next one. Better than the first, more surreal, clever, personal.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa
  • 09-02-16

That voice!

What did you like best about The Masked City? What did you like least?

I've never been compelled to write a review but at the end of listening to this book, I just have to. The story is fairly predictable in terms of plot line. Not unenjoyable, but certainly it's an easy read. You can listen to this while your brain is doing other things and not miss much. But that's ok. I expect that from this genre and I still enjoy the genre. What made me almost stop listening was the voice of the narrator. Her range of tone is so limited during the narration parts of the book (as opposed to the conversational parts) that it becomes something of a repetitive singsong riff. It just about drove me crazy as I tried desperately to ignore the tone and focus on the actual words. I don't understand it because when she does conversation voices, she's not too bad. I probably will not buy the next book (if there is one) in this series because it's just too irritating.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

More character development and a completely different narrator.

How could the performance have been better?

Please see above. The world of speech has unlimited numbers of tones to use. Use more of them.

Any additional comments?

Just want to say I'm not new to Audible. I listen to books all the time, and have literally hundreds of books in my library. It's the first time I've disliked a narration so much I felt compelled to comment. Listen before you buy this one. I hope your experience differs.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Troy Stevens
  • 27-06-16

Susan Duerden tries to hard to sound dramatic

Is there anything you would change about this book?

While I like British narrators, Susan draws outs her words too much in what I believe is an attempt to sound dramatic and it is distracting.

Would you be willing to try another book from Genevieve Cogman? Why or why not?

I was really excited when I saw this was released, but now I'm disappointed. The 1st book was much better and am sad that this one was not as good. Irene, to me, does not seem like the type of person to want to be restricted to one location as her position of Librarian in Residence would imply. She seems the sort that wants to "be free". If Genevieve changes this in later books I may pick them up.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

I would have to say yes for the most part, there were times Susan drew out a word for dramatic effect that slowed down the pace where it should not have slowed.

Was The Masked City worth the listening time?

I actually took a break from this book and listened to 2 others before completing this one, the narration bugged me that much.

Any additional comments?

While I'm not one for changes in narrator in the middle of a series, if one can be found that won't draw out her words so often, go for it please.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • theamazingcatherine
  • 19-10-16

Tropey fun

A bit slow to get going. (Irene visiting the dragons didn't really grip me.) But the sequence in Venice was glorious and had some wonderful character moments and spectacle. I didn’t know Kai could do that either. I continue to be amused at the pretty people throwing themselves at (she describes herself as not bad to look at but prone to fading into the background ) Irene. Clearly she has Heroic Charisma and hasn't noticed yet.

The reader does great villain voices, but puts a little gush of enthusiasm into every! single! sentence! which I found a bit off-putting. There's no tonal range for when the story gets fraught.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Coral
  • 12-12-15

The City of Dreams

In some ways I liked this story a little more then book 1: the fay and dragons are detailed better and the effects of order and chaos start to be clear.

Enjoy. PS the narration is improved quiet a bit.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Solveig
  • 18-12-17

Good story killed by narrator

I read the first book of the series in and really enjoyed it. The plot was unexpected and the characters interesting. Unfortunately I decided to listen to book two. I was seriously disappointed. I had to be constantly rewinding because I realized that I had been listening for minutes without taking anything in. I don't feel I actually heard enough of the story to judge it. The only thing that really stuck with me was the insanely monotonous narration. I'll have to read the book before I can accurately judge the story itself.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chelsea Fairless
  • Chelsea Fairless
  • 06-10-16

Great story, disappointing performance

Would you consider the audio edition of The Masked City to be better than the print version?

No. I honestly could not stand the reader. Her different voices in general were ok, although confusing when two men were speaking to each other. But I could not get over how melodramatic her reading was. Every. Single. Sentence. Was. Dramatic. Thus when things were truly heart-wrenching, it wasn't as dramatic as it should have been because it was all on the same level.

What other book might you compare The Masked City to and why?

It would probably be good for lovers of Sherlock Holmes (even though I've never actually read a Holmes story and so can't really compare) because of the good quality, intellectual, clean adventure and mystery. And generally lovers of fantasy/sci-fi.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

See first question.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Can't say much without spoilers, but I would love to see the water scene in a movie. You'll know it when you get there.

Any additional comments?

Great story! But pick up the print version instead.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 24-08-19

Entertaining

Entertaining book despite the occasional overly descriptive portions. The performer does a good job with the different voices but sounds a bit "breathy." However, that may be intentional to create an atmosphere.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca
  • 12-12-17

irritating

Struggled to finish this one. Not intriguing or flowing and I would often find my mind drifting away from the book while listening.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn
  • 10-12-17

Loved the book, Hated the reader

What made the experience of listening to The Masked City the most enjoyable?

The book itself is great, this is the second of her books I've read, and enjoy the world and the writing style.

Would you be willing to try another one of Susan Duerden’s performances?

NO - she's terrible, all breathy and singsongy. I almost stopped listening to the book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Angela
  • 10-04-17

love it.

hated how I was left hanging, but can't wait to read the next one to come...