The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Series: Invisible Library Novel #1
On Sale Date: June 14, 2016
Adult Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Roc, 352 pages
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 3.5 Stars
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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. 

ONE THING ANY LIBRARIAN WILL TELL YOU: THE TRUTH IS MUCH STRANGER THAN FICTION.

As any reader knows, it is hard to resist a story that features a secret library.  Even harder to resist is one with multiple alternate realities that hold endless possibilities for exploring.

What drew me to this story is not only that intriguing library and alternate worlds but the fact that each library contains different tomes of dangerous lore that needed to be hunted down.  Libraries, adventure, and a mashup of genres - count me in!

THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY begins with our heroine Irene, a professional spy for The Library, just returning from a long assignment. An assignment that ended up with her on the run from both gargoyles and hellhounds, before retrieving (stealing) the requested book of dire concern to the Library - only to find out she is to be sent right back out again into the field. This time with a new assistant, the enigmatic and mysterious Kai.

"There was nothing wrong with being curious about how a story turned out, after all. She was a Librarian. It went with the job. And she didn’t want great secrets of necromancy or any other sort of magic. She just wanted— had always wanted— a good book to read. Being chased by hellhounds and blowing things up were comparatively unimportant parts of the job. Getting the books— now, that was what really mattered to her."

Their mission: Retrieve a particularly rare book, the original Grimm manuscript, from an alternate London. The only problem is - when they arrive they discover not only has the book already been stolen but this alternate London is one that is Chaos infested - meaning basically it is magically infused and the laws of nature allow for supernatural creatures to cross over into it. Nothing two extraordinary librarians can't handle, right? 
    
What makes this series opener so appealing is the possibilities of the many alternate worlds to adventure to. The Invisible Library's setting is a delightful mix of Victorian Steampunk, where vampires and dragons mix and Zeppelins take flight above. With books treated like rare artifacts, book hunting and spying librarian's take on an Indiana Jones persona and the adventures are on. Why the books are important are part of the mystery.

Irene and Kai are both fascinating protagonists. Irene is a bit of a rogue librarian which I really enjoyed while Kai is much more than just a sidekick and retains an air of mystery about him. With the near fabled villain Alberich looming just in the background, the danger is always just one more step ahead. 

THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY holds lots of promise for a series opener and I can't wait to discover more about Irene and Kai, the villainous  Alberich, and of course, those particularly intriguing libraries and the dangerous books they hold.

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