Exciting, fantastical, intellectually challenging
The Invisible Library is outright amazing. I love the idea of the library situated between dimensions, striving to preserve books from different worlds, as well as the characters, and the detailed, carefully constructed plot. Its easily one of the best books Ive ever read, one of those you simply cant lay down except when you... The Invisible Library is outright amazing. I love the idea of the library situated between dimensions, striving to preserve books from different worlds, as well as the characters, and the detailed, carefully constructed plot. Its easily one of the best books Ive ever read, one of those you simply cant lay down except when youre forced to. I was vaguely reminded of A Darker Shade of Magic (parallel Londons, thiefs, and a male protagonist I called Book-Holland in my head for at least the first fifty pages after his appearance) and Clares Shadowhunter series (battling vampires, werewolves, antagonistic faerie creatures, as well as investigating murder cases or being set in a vaguely Victorian London alternate), only less relationship drama, more plot-centred, with dragons and some steampunk elements. So, the basic concept is that The Library sends out its Librarians to secure books from different dimensions to preserve knowledge. Some worlds have magic, others are more centred on technology. And then theres chaos, represented by the Fay. If a world is contaminated, it means that its out of balance, with chaos threatening the order. And, in the first instalment, Irene and Kai, the protagonists, are sent to such a contaminated world to retrieve a copy of Grimms fairy tales. Another interesting aspect is the Language (notice the capitalization). It is some kind of special magic only Librarians are capable of altering the reality through words. The Language is an own kind of language (hence the name), but those who dont speak it hear the words as if they were an accent of their own native tongue. I personally love this concept and the metafictional aspect, where Irene often reflects aspects of language. Dragons, in this series, are preservers of stability and order, who have the power to save contaminated worlds but whether they do so and which worlds they deem worthy is entirely up to them. The world Irene and Kai are sent to hasnt yet been targeted by the dragons, but, let me tell you that much, you will meet one of them throughout the read. The whole book is told from Irenes point of view the reader knows as much as she does and we discover the truth together with her. It took me some time to realise this was what made the book such a pleasant read. After reading Clares Lord of Shadows, with 800 pages full of different focalisations, The Invisible Library was a welcome change. The writing style not bland, but not exaggerated either, with just as much description as needed to imagine the setting, but enough room for the readers own imagination got me from the first pages on, even though going in medias res gave me some troubles with orientation. The latter was easily solved by rereading the beginning. It might not always be easy to follow up with the pace of the book thats why I deemed it intellectually challenging. Not the kind of book you read to relax before going to bed, but more the kind of book that sucks you in, focuses your whole attention and keeps you up all night until the case is solved. That wasnt anything I found particularly bad, I liked having to think and getting involved and not only reading the book but engaging with it, theorising and drawing my own conclusions. I also liked the characterisation its not the kind of book that reminds you over and over again of the protagonists beauty and kindness and whatnot. You get to know the characters as if they were real people not by a voice in the off telling you everything about them, but by perceiving their actions, by what they do and say and what other people say about them (which might, however, differ from how you perceive them or be a misconception). Those who love fantasy paired with detective fiction and are looking for a book that takes its plot more important than the question of whether to introduce two or three love interests for the protagonist will definitely find a marvellous read and The Invisible Library is only the first instalment in Cogmans stunning series
The Invisible Library
The Invisible Library 1
The first in a gripping, adventurous series, The Invisible Library is the astounding debut from Genevieve Cogman.
Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently. . .
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.
The Invisible Library is followed by the second title in The Invisible Library series, The Masked City.
I absolutely loved this . . . flavoured with truly unique mythology and a dash of the eldritch. Such clever, creepy, elaborate worldbuilding and snarky, sexy-smart characters! N. K. Jemisin