Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Irene passed the mop across the stone floor in smooth, careful strokes, idly admiring the gleam of wet flagstones in the lantern light. ~ Opening from The Invisible Library



The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Roc, 2015
Fantasy (Crime Fiction, Urban); 352 pgs
Source: E-copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis: 
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.

What a fun book! A couple people mentioned to me when I was starting this one that it got off to a slow start for them, but I did not find that at all. There was a bit of a slow down when Irene returns to the Library after the book's opening mission that had me trying to work out just what sort of "world" this Library was exactly, but once Irene, joined by her new apprentice Kai, steps into the alternate reality of their latest mission, I was definitely right there with them. 

There is so much to this world Genevieve Cogman has created! The Library itself is an amazing place. People do not age there and it seems endless, taking days and sometimes weeks or months to travel from one place to another. You can travel for days within the Library and not see a single soul. And then the many alternate realities outside the walls of the library--imagine all the directions Cogman can go with the series if she chose to. The Library's purpose seems a bit vague--meaning I think there is more to it than what our main protagonist Irene knows herself. Irene is one of many Librarians sent out on missions to retrieve books from various alternate realities. The Library helps maintain the balance in the world, trying to stave off chaos and help maintain order. 

Generally Librarians are chosen from various realities and bound to the Library and its mission--like Kai, an apprentice not yet Librarian, who was once a ruffian running and stealing with criminals and thugs. Very rare, is someone like Irene, who was born to two Librarians, and spent part of her growing up years in the Library itself. Her entire life has been spent in the service of the Library. She is very dedicated to her work and extremely capable. She has limited, but powerful, magical abilities, which she draws out using a special language only known to Librarians.

The reality Kai and Irene step into has a sort of Steampunk Victorian feel to it. There are Zeppelins flying overhead, vampires, werewolves, and the fae. The fae are a particularly chaotic force, making this version of London unbalanced--and dangerous. There's even a famous private detective who lives on Baker Street who Irene and Kai will have to decide to trust or not. 

This is a busy book in terms of the amount of action and events taking place. The analogy of a roller-coaster comes to mind, given all the ups and downs and the fast pacing. In search for the book, Irene and Kai encounter a number of obstacles, including the glamorous fae, Lord Silver, who also has an interest in the missing book. It seems a lot of people do, actually. I had a lot of fun reading The Invisible Library and getting to know the mysterious Kai, the well-read Librarian spy Irene, and Vale, the tenacious master of deduction. This will not be my last visit to the Library.

To learn more about Genevieve Cogman and her work, please visit the author's website. You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

24 comments:

  1. Oooh, I really like libraries and this sounds like an interesting book! I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

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    1. Eustacia - I am really enjoying this series. I highly recommend it!

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  2. I struggle with fantasy because I can never figure out the alternate worlds. I'm glad you liked this so much.

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    1. Kathy - I can see how this one could get confusing given the various dimensions.

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  3. I've read a few reviews about this book and it seems the opinions are mixed. Some readers liked it and some don't. I'm glad you enjoyed it and to hear that it's a fun book to begin with. I might add this to my wishlist. Thanks for your thoughts, Wendy.

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    1. Melody - I haven't come across too many negative reviews myself, but I wasn't really looking. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the third book soon.

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  4. This has been on my TBR since I first heard of it mostly because of the word library being in the title! I'm glad to hear how much you enjoyed it and I love that there's a bit of a steampunk feel to it. Can't wait to read it!

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    1. Katherine - I hope you get to read it soon and enjoy it as much as I did!

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  5. I'm on the fence about this one...sounds like it might be worth the go though!

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  6. I requested a copy of this book from my library and it just came in today! I can't wait to start reading it; it sounds so fun. And it's about a library...and books...and magic...who could ask for more? :)

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  7. Love this review, Wendy. I was going to add this book to my TBR list on GR but it's already there. Just makes me want to get to it sooner. :)

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    1. Trisha - That's happened to me too--going to add a book to my wish list that is already there. :-) I hope you enjoy this one when you get to it!

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  8. Wow, I gotto read this one. It sounds like it has everything I like. An endless library is marvelous instead! I had to skim through your review of the sequel - I will have to come back to it once I get/read this book.

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    1. Athira - Hopefully you will enjoy this one when you read it!

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  9. What a fun premise for a book! Great review Wendy.

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    1. Iliana - I thought so! It's a fun series so far. Thank you!

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  10. This does sound like a fun series. I like the Steampunk Victorian vibe.

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    1. Naida - I like the Steampunk Victorian vibe too. :-)

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