Review: The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman

the invisible libraryThe first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

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.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Invisible Library was a pretty compelling fantasy debut, involving a secret agency of librarians (yes!) who travel to alternate worlds to pick up rare or specific books for collectors who work back at the great Library, a space that transcends time and place.

Some of the worldbuilding became fairly complex, in terms of the explanations of how things all work, but I muddled through. I was suckered into this world of Irene, a librarian whose role is really more of a secret agent, as she embarks on what appears to be a fairly straightforward, simple mission which turns into a clusterfuck involving fey alliances, potential traitors, suspicious detectives, gruesome murders, zeppelin chases, and oh, yes – a rather hard-to-track down book.

Irene is an admirable MC – she’s loyal and capable, she recognizes when petty personal emotions affect her work, she knows the rules but thinks on her feet when she has to, and she gives people the benefit of the doubt. While there is no romance in this book, the ship is set up pretty well for future installments.

I did however find some parts of the book a little bland – it was missing that spark that would have turned it into something truly magical. But nevertheless, I still think this was a great read, and I’ll be looking forward to the sequel.

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