An Invisible Library novel, book 1
Category: history and criticism - antiquarian and rare books, science fiction and fantasy, steampunk, time travel
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Release Date: June 14, 2016
My Rating: 3 stars
Named one of Library Reads top picks for June 2016!
First published in the U.K., where it was named on of The Independent's Best Fantasy Books of 2015.
Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. 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, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.
Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...
When I saw the title The Invisible Library and read the book description I realized that it was very similar in concept to the campy tv show The Librarians. Fortunately, I found it much more interesting. It is a science fiction/fantasy/mystery/political suspense thriller/steampunk mashup. This bibliophiles dream.
The Invisible Library is a story about, well, a library of course. A well-hidden, all-encompassing library that sends out it’s highly trained and skilled librarians in search of very specific books from different realities. Genevieve Cogman provides a whole cast of interesting characters to get to know. I almost always have a favorite and for this story my favorite is Irene, our protagonist. She’s quirky, headstrong, can really think on her feet, and is just a little bit insecure. She became my favorite though when she said that ”she just wanted—had always wanted—a good book to read." Ahhh…my kind of person.
I was loving The Invisible Library and then at about 30% of the way through it slammed me face first, without any protective gear, full speed, hurtling into a brick wall. It wasn't just sex, but exceedingly casual sex among people who purportedly had vast, and I mean vast, experience. REALLY! Why ruin a good story? Why limit your audience for one page of over the top sexual garbage? There were innuendoes and mild sexual content here and there but this one page was overwhelming. If it would have been skipped entirely, which could have easily been done as it was of no importance to the story, I would have added one more star on my rating.
On the fun side, Cogman is another author with a well-stocked vocabulary. You will likely find some new words to improve your own vocabulary. I don't think that The Invisible Library would be comfortable having you crack it open if it didn't have some literary chops. Keep your dictionary handy.
I received a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher.