Series: The Invisible Library #1
Published by Tor UK on 15th January 2015
Source: Competition Prize
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. Along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen - and London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find it.
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.
I was recently lucky enough to win a bundle of 7 fantasy books from Tor UK. Among them was The Invisible Library, a book I’ve had my eye on for a wee while. So of course it was the first book I plucked from the bundle to read.
Irene is a junior librarian in the Invisible Library, a secret library which sits between alternate worlds. The Library houses literature of all types, from all alternates and protects them. It is the job of the junior librarians to go out into the field to recover books for the Library. Going undercover, Irene undertakes missions to extract books from alternate worlds and deliver them safely to the Library.
Irene’s latest mission takes her to an alternate London to recover a book, only to find that the book in question has been stolen and she isn’t the only person looking for it! She has been assigned a trainee, Kai, for this mission, which turns out to be the most dangerous she has encountered to date!
There were many things I enjoyed about this book; the mixture of fantasy, mystery and action really worked for me. I particularly loved that as librarians Irene and Kai were also booklovers. As the story is told from Irene’s perspective we see her love for books shining through. It certainly made it very easy for me to relate to her character. We also see her mentally correcting grammar, or appreciating a well constructed sentence which I enjoyed. As you can tell from my posts I’m by no means an expert on grammar but I do appreciate when something is well written or conveyed beautifully through speech, so this attribute appealed to me.
Irene twitched at the very notion. Give books away? ‘How very frivolous,’ she finally said.
Then there was the Language. The Language is a kind of magic that only librarians are versed in. It’s logical and precise, and requires careful handling. I really liked this concept. It enhanced the role of the librarians and I loved that.
On their travels in this particular version of alternate London, Irene and Kai make acquaintance with a private detective, Vale. A Sherlock-type character (which appeals to Irene and her love of detective novels), Vale is also searching for the stolen book. Soon Irene, Kai and Vale become a trio, and Irene has no choice but to reveal some of the Library’s secrets if they are going to track the book down, a book which could change the entire alternate if it has fallen into the wrong hands.
All in all I really enjoyed this book. I loved the geekiness of it as well as the fantasy element, the mystery and the action. Between cyborg alligators, zeppelins, Fae and chaos, this book is a good, fun read. It’s set up beautifully for the second in the series, but without any of those annoying cliffhangers that authors like to leave us with at the end of the first book in the series!
I definitely recommend it.