Author: Genevieve Cogman
Genevieve Cogman is a freelance author, who has written for several role-playing game companies. Her work includes GURPS Vorkosigan and contributions to the In Nomine role-playing game line for Steve Jackson Games: contributions to Exalted 2nd Edition and other contributions to the Exalted and Orpheus lines for White Wolf Publishing: Hearts, Swords and Flowers: The Art of Shoujo for Magnum Opus: and contributions to the Dresden Files RPG for Evil Hat Productions. She currently works for the NHS in England in the HSCIC as a clinical classifications specialist.
She has had three books of her series about the multidimensional Library accepted by Tor Books, and the first two books, The Invisible Library and The Masked City, are now available.
Genre: Science-Fiction, Science-Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Steampunk
Read… on the airplane while… flying home to Seattle from the Thanksgiving holiday.
Title: The Invisible Library
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Purchase your copy here.
Review: 3 out of 5 Dogwoods
Summary (from Goodreads): The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!
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. 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.
Review: The Invisible Library is a solidly crafted adventure story with appealing characters, in which book lovers who have sworn allegiance to The Library run amok in alternate universes where they have to deal with skin-stealing villains, chaos driven Fae, magical technology, and a variety of creatures. It does not contain a large amount of heavy emotion, thought, or character development, but it is entertaining nonetheless.
The Library exists on a cosmic plane its own time and space, beyond that of reality. The Library’s mission is to collect and safeguard books from all universes and realities; you have to understand the hypothesis of the multiverse to enjoy this book. Irene is a librarian who is sent with an apprentice student, Kai, to retrieve a unique edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from an alternate reality. The edition exists in a world that combines magic and technology in a fantasy/paranormal/steampunk mashup.
Naturally, Irene and Kai’s mission gets complicated. In pursuit of the book, Irene and Kai find themselves at the center of intrigue and conflict between warring factions of the world including Fae, Vampires, a Sherlock-esque detective, and at least one rogue Librarian.
This book can best be summed up by the following quote:
Irene felt a desperate surge of nostalgia for her Library. Her life was more than just airship chases, cyborg alligator attacks, and hanging out with this alternate universe’s nearest analogue to Sherlock Holmes. She was a Librarian, and the deepest, most fundamental part of her life involved a love of books. Right now, she wanted nothing more than to shut the rest of the world out and have nothing to worry about except the next page of whatever she was reading.
Very little of the book takes place in The Library, which was disappointing to me. The fact that we leave The Library setting about two minutes after the book starts with very little about the building or organization seems like a missed opportunity. How do people live there for decades without aging? Where do they live? What is it like there? Is there a cafeteria? Do people have their own living spaces? Fantasy worlds that are infused with magic and a steampunk sensibility are a dime a dozen, but Libraries that are homes to people who do not age within its boundaries is rare.
While I enjoyed the characters and concepts of the book, it was strictly a fun adventure read. This is not a philosophical book; it will not make you reflect on your own life’s purpose or meaning. There is some character development, but it is nothing significant. The book is basically just an excuse to have smart people fight mechanical creatures, including a giant centipede and alligators, in a ballroom with werewolves and vampires. Luckily, during the long flight home to Seattle after spending Thanksgiving with my family, this was just the type of book I needed. It is smart, well-written fluff, and I ate it up with a spoon. I plan on reading the sequel, The Masked City, over the Christmas Holidays.