Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Invisible Library

Cover image for The invisible library
The Invisible Library
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?


1 comment:

AJ said...

In Irene’s world, librarians don’t just sit behind desks and help people find books. Irene spends her time traveling between alternate worlds to acquire rare books. She’s feisty, clever, resourceful, and has even been known to kick a butt or two. Irene has mostly worked solo, so when her supervisor pairs her with new recruit, Kai, and gives them orders to retrieve a special Grimm manuscript from an alternate 19th century London full of magic and steampunk inventions, she knows all is not right. Even worse, after they arrive, they discover the manuscript has already been stolen and they are not the only one’s searching for it.

Thrust into a dangerous underworld where magic and intrigue meet, this book has non-stop action in an intriguing well-crafted world. It’s a must read if you enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook, Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, or Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore.