Do you want a job collecting books from around the world, and from alternate worlds? My first reaction is where do I sign up. Until I learnt that I would have to rip them from the hands of vampires, and fight fae to acquire them. I’m not so keen now! That’s the theme of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman and it’s a theme that will have bibliophile’s bookish hearts beating that little bit faster.The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Published by Tor UK on January 15th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
The 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.
First Line of 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.”
My Thoughts on The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman:
Firstly I think a lot of people will absolutely love this book. If you enjoy steampunk (i.e. Victorian science fiction), then this could be a wonderful read for you. I read this book as it was my book club choice for August, but it’s well outside my reading comfort zone.
Which is a good thing. Reading the same type of book over and over again gets boring, so I enjoy spicing up my reads with some unexpected choices. In this case, I felt a bit underwhelmed by the book though.
The Library of Dreams
On the surface, it looks like a book that I would love. A library exists in an alternate world, and Irene works for the library. She jumps around different worlds on missions to gather rare books. There are multiple different alternate worlds, so for example there are different London’s, and in each one the books vary slightly.
Irene’s mission this time is to seek and retrieve a Grimm manuscript in London. This mission leads to adventure after adventure while there.
Hampered by convoluted worldbuilding
The pace moved quickly, and the action was fast and furious. Unfortunately, the world building complicates unnecessarily, and buried me in a fog of detail. The information overload confused me, and hindered my enjoyment, and I admit it, I skimmed at times. However the characters won me back. Clever and dry-witted, Irene and various people she encountered along her quest, entertained and amused me.
Enter Sherlock Holmes
In particular, I appreciated Vale, a London detective who assisted Irene on her hunt. Vale depicts a Sherlock Holmes type character with keen powers of observation and a detached personality. Library agents choose their own name, and while we don’t know why Irene choose Irene, I had a theory. We are informed that she loves mystery books, and so the character Irene Adler from the Sherlock Holmes stories kept jumping into my head.
BUT I wanted more character development
The characters, while interesting, weren’t developed enough for my tastes though. The plot driven story hinders the character development. I also didn’t care about the technology, and tended to skip over those sections. Which probably proves that steampunk books will never top my reading lists.
Overall The Invisible Library missed the mark for me. I think the concept is very cool, but the execution of the story failed to draw me in.
|Did I feel it?|
Who should read The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman?
I’d recommend this to you if you like Fantasy books with steampunk elements and elaborate world building.