Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ARC Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Series:     Invisible Library #1
Pub. Date:June 14, 2016
Original Release:Jan. 15, 2015
Length:352 pages

This was a definitely a unique story sure to be intriguing to book lovers far and wide. The Invisible Library is what I guess you could call an inter-dimensional entity. It collects works of fiction from different times, realms and realities - but is a part of none of them.  The library is run by different levels of librarians... who are somewhat spies and thieves, but also passionate bibliophiles. The senior librarians send junior librarians out on missions to retrieve unique and rare works of fiction from the reality in which it was created. Sometimes the missions are simple and easy, and other times they are chaotic and dangerous.

Junior Librarian Irene is the protagonist of this series. Born to Librarian parents, she has always known that she would dedicate her life to Library service. So when Irene returns from a mission to discover that she has been saddled with an apprentice and sent into a Chaos-infested reality, she takes it on the chin and endeavors to complete her assignment. Things begin to go awry from the moment they enter a steampunk London filled with vampires, werewolves and fae - the very manifestations of chaos. They soon learn the situation is much worse than feared when a Library traitor enters the race to get a rare version of Grimm's Fairytales. I quite liked Irene. While she was not a powerhouse, she was a capable and logical heroine that I respected. She dealt with people very well and managed all the secondary characters with admirable aplomb.

The cast of secondary characters shone just as brightly as the heroine. I loved her apprentice, Kai, who has a special nature that happens to be my favorite type of supernatural character. (I won't spoil it for you by revealing his secret.) Vale, the private detective was a nice addition that move along the detective aspects of the story. I would have liked more back story on both of these characters as I have a feeling one, or both, will be a romantic interest for Irene in the future.

There were a few antagonists that provided the necessary drama, namely Brandamant, Silver and Alberich. Brandamant is a fellow Librarian and I think I hated her more than the actual villain. Her grandstanding and petty behavior really got under my skin. I think I hated her more than the villain because she was such a backstabber.

Silver, a lesser fae, and Alberich, the Library traitor were the main antagonists (Alberich more so than Silver). Alberich had turned truly evil and went against all the Library principles. I thought he made a good villain, but I would have liked to know more about him as well.

I would say that this is not a book to read when you are tired. I have been exhausted over the couple days as I was trying to read this one and I felt like some things were going over my head... and I was having to go back and re-read quite a bit to try to follow what was happening. That being said, I did find the story entertaining. The world-building was fun and left lots of room to explore new times and realities in the rest of the series.  I love that this is a series about fiction books... it spoke to the bibliophile in me and got my bookish imagination going.

I would recommend this one to fellow book nerds and fans of steampunk and fantasy. I received an advanced copy of the re-releasing version of this book from Berkley/Roc in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars / No Heat.