By Genevieve Cogman
Roc, 2016, 341 pages, Science Fiction
Irene is a professional spy for the Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities (kind of like Noah Wylie and the TNT franchise The Librarians). Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative late-1800s London full of fairies, vampires, steam-powered technology and unstable magic. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous version of Grimm's Fairy Tales. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do.
One review I read about this book likened Cogman’s writing to Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman, and I definitely agree. This book is chock full of weird, bizarre, funny, endearing characters and moments and the story is fantastical and fast-paced. The book doesn’t get too bogged down by world-building, yet it makes sense. I enjoyed every minute reading it. My one criticism is that this book is setting up a series, and it suggests the setting will stay in this alternate version of London. I hope future books explore other alternate realities and places. What's the point of creating a world of multiple realities when you only explore one of them?