Fans of Jasper Fforde’s Tuesday Next or Deborah Harkness’ Diana Bishop should make room in their summer (or winter, depending upon the hemisphere) reading list for the new edition of The Invisible Library and get ready to make the acquaintance of Irene and her student Kai as they hunt for a rare volume of Grimm’s fairy tales. In this first adventure of the Invisible Library series, our two heroes leave the safety of the Library, a place that exists outside of time and space, to enter into a steampunk alternative universe where they match wits with an adversary just as determined as they are to collect the book in question …. but with far more sinister motives. As they are joined in the hunt by a famous detective reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, the reader can settle into a comfortable and easy tale in which there are a few twists (stemming mostly from the unique magic system) but many delightful characters.
Note: I received an advanced copy of THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #1)
Published by Roc on June 14, 2016 (paperback and Kindle)
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.
- There are so many series (in both book and television forms) reminiscent of the overall premise of this book that you might think it would be a bit repetitious. But the magic system, where words really do have power, pulls this book out of the orbit of the Librarian(s), Warehouse 13, the Libriomancer books, and the aforementioned series by Fforde and Harkness. Plus, it takes place largely within a steampunk version of Victorian London, complete with zeppelins, horseless carriages, and long-forgotten manners.
- I love good characters and complex relationships between them. In this book, I found the give and take between Irene and her former mentor …. now nemesis …. to be genuine in its antipathy and surprising in the gradual evolution throughout the book.
- The plot is pretty straight-forward and progresses along a predictable path. The characters, and the magic system, carry the day and kept me turning the pages. But there really was little actual suspense about the ultimate outcome of the book.
This is a fun book to read, and it has some delightful surprises that I am NOT going to ruin for you. You’re just going to have to give it a try yourself. But it does involve vampires. And dragons. And the best collection of fiction in the multiverse.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by GENEVIEVE COGMAN
© 2016, Barbara. All rights reserved.