Review by Riley
About The Burning Page
Never judge a book by its cover…
Due to her involvement in an unfortunate set of mishaps between the dragons and the Fae, Librarian spy Irene is stuck on probation, doing what should be simple fetch-and-retrieve projects for the mysterious Library. But trouble has a tendency to find both Irene and her apprentice, Kai—a dragon prince—and, before they know it, they are entangled in more danger than they can handle…
Irene’s longtime nemesis, Alberich, has once again been making waves across multiple worlds, and, this time, his goals are much larger than obtaining a single book or wreaking vengeance upon a single Librarian. He aims to destroy the entire Library—and make sure Irene goes down with it.
With so much at stake, Irene will need every tool at her disposal to stay alive. But even as she draws her allies close around her, the greatest danger might be lurking from somewhere close—someone she never expected to betray her…
Review of The Burning Page
The Burning Page is book 3 of the wildly entertaining and extremely witty series The Invisible Library. The Fae controlled action is bigger than life and just as strange a fiction. The dragons’ influence is intense and majestic. The mere humans —– well, luckily with Irene Winter in the room, the humans can out-think any being they might encounter.
Irene is sort of a nerdy super-spy. Although she would say:
I’m not a secret agent,” Irene said…….“I just collect books.
The problem is, the books that Irene collects are usually not for sale and often stored in heavily guarded places. So “collect” is not the correct verb Irene. Steal, purloin, nab, pilfer, swipe, snitch, thieve….. Irene, you are a librarian – supposedly. It is your job to inform, not misinform.
Oh, that is not the only problem. Irene says she works for a library. No just any library. The Library. Another incorrect word, this time a noun. Libraries make their collections accessible, so that others may benefit from the information contained there. The Library does not ever lend it’s books. The theory is that the books are key to maintaining a certain stability in the world that the book comes from. As long as the book is in the library, all is good. Well, that is fine and dandy, but The Library is not a library. Nouns such as warehouse, vault, archive, cache or repository spring to mind, but not library. Even Alberich, the villain of the story remarks on this:
..don’t you feel anything for the books that you give the Library? It swallows them up and keeps them and will never let them go.
Well, I guess I got that off my chest. Despite the fact that certain key elements are misnamed, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. The Burning Page has many of the elements that delight me so much.
For example, the fae and their insistence on playing out their own stories and somehow pulling in the people around them.
All fae were convinced they were heroes of their own stories. The dangerous thing was that in the more chaotic alternate worlds, the universe conspired to agree with them.
The dragons are quite the opposite and tend to frequent the more ordered worlds. Logic, decorum, and symmetry make them occasionally predictable, but only so far as they don’t allow emotion to cloud their actions. Hmm. Maybe they are not as stoic as they would have you believe.
Irene’s cohorts in The Burning Page are her apprentice Kai and her friend Vale. Kai comes off a bit whiny. He is young, so we can blame it on youth. Plus, he has been through a lot, being kidnapped and all (The Masked City), so maybe I can give him a break. Vale, having gone to a high chaos world in The Masked City, is suffering back in his own world. I missed him in this book, as it seemed he was not completely there in mind.
Both Kai and Vale are potential heroes in their own right, but, so far, The Invisible Library series is all about Irene Winters. She is like the fae, creating her own story, gaining power with each chapter. Alberich and the fae nemesis/collaborator Silver may not know their stories are Irene-centric, but eventually, even they will figure it out. Indeed, Irene knows it too:
With a nasty shock, she realized that he [Kai] was gazing at her as though she could wave her hand and sort everything out. As if she knew how to fix things.
The Invisible Library has the potential for a million stories because of it’s multi-dimensional setting in space and time. Personally, I am satisfied with three books. Even though each is a 5-star tale, I’m ready to fill my reading time with something new. But if you are a die hard fan, don’t worry! The series will continue.
Sometimes I see this series classified as young adult. Here is my take. The characters are adult. The writing is mature. There is no sex, but there is plenty of violence. I say it is adult. I have also seen the series classified as steampunk. Vale’s world, which is where The Invisible Library takes place, has that steampunk feel. But otherwise, I would call it fantasy.
To end this review, I would share this quote with you that proves the library does not always take itself so seriously:
In fact, we wish to remind all Librarians that they are here to collect books, not dinosaurs. Those Librarians who have problems distinguishing between the two should take a refresher course in Library basics.
ARC provided by NetGalley
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