Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen.
London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.
Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Roc (first published January 15th 2015)
Four stars: A complex and entertaining story that blends Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Historical and Paranormal.
Irene arrives back at the library, disheveled and breathing hard. Her latest assignment was a success, even if it was more harrowing than she would have liked. Glad to be back in the safe confines of the library, Irene sends the book she recovered from an alternate world to her superior to be processed. Then she takes a moment to read her email. Irene quickly learns that her supervisor is sending her on another mission, one that might prove to be her most dangerous yet. Irene will be accompanied by an apprentice librarian, Kai. Irene can't squelch the sinking feeling in her tummy when she learns the world she must visit to retrieve the copy of Grimm's Tales is one that is tumbled into chaos. Will Irene and Kai survive their mission and retrieve the book?
What I Liked:
- The Invisible Library was a book that sucked me in from the first exciting chapter. I enjoyed the complex world building, the intriguing story and the interesting characters. If you like sophisticated books that blend numerous genres, this book is one to try.
- I loved the whole concept of The Library. The Library is a vast place of knowledge, so large it takes hours just traverse a small section. It holds books and documents from multiple worlds across numerous dimensions. It is a place that exists outside of time and space, a world in itself. It is also a place of secrecy, where those who hunger for books above all else reside. I was fascinated by the whole idea of this great library, and I wanted nothing more than to spend time exploring it and all of its secrets.
- The world building is incredibly complex, not only is there the library, but also numerous worlds and dimensions. Irene and her charge, Kai, are assigned to a world engulfed in chaos. A world in chaos is one that is filled with magic and mayhem, where the Fae, vampires and werewolves reside. It is a world that doesn't always abide by the natural laws, and the dragons aren't keeping it in check. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The world building takes some time to wrap your head around, but it is worth it.
- Irene is a character who takes some time to get to know. She is a librarian who believes in the values of the library above all else. She has spent her entire life serving the library, and she has never questioned the rumors and stories that she has heard throughout her life. She is smart and capable, but she hasn't been tested until now. I liked watching her rise to the occasion time and time again, and I liked that she was intelligent and precise. I was a bit put off by her blind devotion to the library, but as the story progressed, she showed growth, and I think in the future she has more growing to do. The blinders are coming off.
- The plot is complex and a lot is going on in this one all the time. It does require patience, and I wouldn't call this easy reading because you are always processing information. If you enjoy intelligent books that make you think, this is one for you.
- I loved the action. This one hardly lets up. There are chases and battles and all kinds of dangerous creatures. Think steampunk creatures along with the Fae, and you know you are in for mayhem.
- The ending was neat in that it didn't leave too many loose ends. Most of the main story lines were tied off, but the door was opened for more story. No cliffhanger.
And The Not So Much:
As I mentioned, this was a complex read, and it isn't light reading. I liked that it was smart and sophisticated, but I always felt like there was a lot of information coming at me, and not all of it was easy to understand. I still don't have a firm grasp on the concepts of chaos and magic, and I need to know more about the library. I was also lost on part with the dragons.
I have to admit, I was disappointed that there wasn't a romance. The ground work was seemingly laid, but now I am not sure. I thought that a relationship was going to blossom, but the feelings seemed to be one sided, and the other party was interested in someone else. I hope there isn't going to be a love triangle.
I thought, at times, that there was just too much going on, especially when it came to who was after the book.
I appreciated the concept of the Great Library, but the more I read, I wasn't sure if I liked the morals and the motives. There is a lot of secrecy when it comes to the library, and I was left wanting to know so much more.
The Invisible Library was an entertaining and sophisticated read for those who enjoy a bit of a challenge. I loved the idea of the Great Library, but I was a bit disappointed in the lack of information when it came to the library. I also was hoping for a romance, but didn't get one. Still there was plenty of action, adventure and imaginative story telling, enough to have me eagerly reaching for the next book.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.