Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, Book #1)
by Genevieve Cogman
Release Date: January 15th 2015
2015 Tor
Ebook Edition; 329 Pages
ISBN: 978-1447256236
Genre: Fiction / YA / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
The Invisible Library is one of those books where I feel the author tried really hard to include some really cool concepts which would have probably worked better if less effort was involved.  By this I mean we've got a library that exists outside of time, time travelling librarians, dragons, magic, mysteries, drama, intrigue, and of course, the rivalry between librarians.  It all sounds pretty cool, and it is, but it almost felt like the author was trying to pack in too much in order to make it interesting, which wasn't really necessary.

First of all, I loved the concept of the Invisible Library, one that exists outside of time, one that works very hard to keep the balance of the other worlds through the preservation of books.  Upon reflection though, the concept itself is a bit flawed as the characters were being sent to different worlds to steal books, even if sometimes they bought them, and return them to the library.  But don't they belong to the original worlds?  These kinds of ideas were swirling through my head as I read and I had to shut them down or I wouldn't have enjoyed the book as much as I did.  

I did like Irene and Kai as main characters and thought they were interesting.  I like the chemistry between them and am curious as to where their relationship might be heading in the future. Both of them had interesting backgrounds and I look forward to learning more about Kai's in future installments.  Irene had an ongoing rivalry with another librarian which wasn't fully explained but it did add some interesting elements to the story even if they were a bit confusing for the reader because they were not fully understood.   I am a little confused as to why such junior librarians would have been sent on a mission like this one, knowing it could be quite dangerous, knowing who the possible enemy could be. It was another of things I just had to let go if I was going to enjoy this story.

I really enjoyed Vale as a character, but his character really pointed out the flaws in the whole dimension and chaos thing as he was the one who asked the important questions about the Invisible Library that Irene couldn't, or wouldn't, answer.  Their interaction really made it clear that Irene's mission was about the book, and not about anything else. Somewhat disappointing in a way.

The Invisible Library was an interesting book in that it was packed full of action, and there were definitely moments when I enjoyed the story and the characters very much.  It did however, raise a lot of questions that were not fully explained or led to dialogue that really wasn't necessary and interrupted the flow of the story, and made some of the characters seem bland and robotic and predictable.  If you are looking for a light, interesting read, then I do recommend this one for you.