The Invisible Library
When faced with the bleak reality of a desperate future, I retreat to the safety of the fantastically written word. While I tend to gravitate, during these dark times, to familiar books it is not always the case.
In contrast to the rest of the media and news, I will share something positive today. I read a good book: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman.
The book focuses on Librarian Irene as she sent out of the Interdimensional Library into an steampunk inspired Victorian-esq fantasy alternate world; complete with seductive fae, dashing dragons, famous detectives, air ships and of course magic. Irene is pitted against secret cults and Library bogeymen, as she tries to complete her book retrieval before being utterly destroyed by the chaos infecting the world and herself. It is a highly entertaining read.
So, what do I love about this book? Well, Irene is a strong, practical and extremely effective Librarian. Evidently good at her job and equally competent at training her new apprentice. I like her spirit, her efficiency and even her questionable moral standing on humans. Irene doesn’t crumple under the pressures of her job, she rises to the challenge with a mix of magic, strength and decisive intelligence.
Although, we the reader, get to spend little time in the mysterious Library, connected to all words yet existing apart from them. I was greatly interested in this intriguing location, filled with even more unique personalities of other ageless Librarians. I was pleased in the handling of all worlds being true, just alternates of each other. This gives the series so many options for future venues; any place, any time, any amount of magic or technology all fit without breaking the laws of the world. It is a great system for storytelling.
The supporting cast are similarly rich in their characterizations: Kai, Vale, Silver and Albrech all add a tremendous lot to the story telling with different views, goals and backstories. They compete, support and try to murder our intrepid heroine at different points.
Really, I recommend trying this book. In fact I enjoyed the Invisible Library so much I was quick to take out the sequel: The Masked City from my local Library. It was an equally good story, though it swapped most of the mystery of the first book for inter-world politics. Still, it was filled with adventure, imagination, and of course books!
Conclusion: in the face of so much depressing uncertainty, I recommend the security of a good read and the Invisible Library is an excellent place to start.