I decided to read The Invisible Library based on the title. And the book blurb. But mainly the title. Because a) Library and b) Invisible!
The Library exists on a parallel plane or universe that the rest of the universes can’t see. Only official Librarians have access to the portals that get them in and out of the Library. It is a repository of important books published in the various universes the Librarians like to snoop around in/steal books from/get into trouble in.
It is actually kind of a snobbish place. Unlike lending libraries, it is more of a hoarding library. But that is okay. The very existence of some of the worlds the books come from would be threatened without the dedicated work of the Librarians. Or so they would have you believe. And, without that propensity to hoard books, there would be no adventures to write about in The Invisible Library.
The thing is, Irene, Librarian, loves books. The excitement and danger she experiences retrieving books are nothing next to the amazingness of the books themselves. To Irene, books are important, sacred and to be revered. Irene’s youthful enthusiasm for her mission and for the books is refreshing and admirable, but perhaps a little uninformed. The big picture escapes her, but she cannot escape it.
One has to admire this absolute respect for books. And the regard for the magic that is inherent in a library that is full of them. According to The Invisible Library, any place that has enough books can be considered a library that has magic that can be tapped. But as soon as someone takes a book from that library, the magic is dissipated. The fact is, all book collections are good, and mystical. The addition or subtraction of any one volume changes the aspect of that collection. That is why we book lovers never get tired of perusing our shelves, whether the collection is our own or in a public library.
Looking past the novel’s obvious reverence for the printed word, The Invisible Library is delightful! It is jam packed with the exploits of Irene and her trainee Kai, along with Peregrine Vale, Earl of Leeds. Vale is a resident of the world that Irene and Kai have traveled to in order to retrieve what seems to be a very dangerous book. Before they even arrive at that steampunk world, the book has disappeared, believed to have been stolen, and the owner (former owner actually) is dead. This sets up a trail of investigative work complete with Holmsian discussions with Vale, battles with a steam powered alligators and a giant centipede and a steamship chase. And they will face Alberich the former Librarian who had sold out to chaos.
Did I mention there is a dragon in this story. Which is appropriate. Dragons are hoaders. These librarians are hoarders. It fits.
I loved this book! The Invisible Library is a little steampunk, a little fantasy and a lot Magical. Highly recommended!
ARC provided by NetGalley.
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…