THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY
By Genevieve Cogman
2014. Paperback. 329pp. Tor UK.
Irene works for the Library collecting dangerous or parallel-world unique books. After a successful mission, she’s given a new, urgent mission and an assistant she doesn’t really want. Once in the alternate world, Irene and Kai find that Chaos has grabbed hold of this world and it’s up to them to fend it off while trying to find the book they’ve been sent to find. With some unexpected guests, including an ominous note about the worst, most evil Librarian of all, and some unexpected twists, will Irene and Kai be able to grab the book and get it back to the Library? Full of mystery and wit, the Invisible Library brings us on a literary and magical ride of adventure and intrigue.
This book was a bit hard to summarize without spoiling a lot of the major plot points and without blending it too much with similar novels and shows. It’s very reminiscent of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, the Librarians movies and television show, and even a bit like Doctor Who. It was still pretty enjoyable, for all its similarities with other works. The characters are full of snappy, entertaining dialogue and even a few surprises. Even though it wasn’t as much of a page-turner as I wanted it to be, it was a light read, perfect for a summer fantasy fix. The final scenes that took place in the library (as opposed to in the Library) were well-written and enjoyable.
The main characters did frequently feel like the standard quippy protagonists, always ready with a witty response and witty inner dialogue. It would have been nice to have a few more surprises from the characters themselves, but they were believable in their actions. Not once did it feel like a character was out-of-character within the story.
I would recommend this book to someone who likes the things it reminds me of. If you’re looking for a literarily-inspired fantasy work that involves alternate universes and magical libraries, this is a good place to go.