Book Review – The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

My review of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman 9/10

The Library strides diverse and myriad universes and realities, its sole purpose, to collect and preserve books, unique to that realm and world for future prosperity.

Irene, seasoned collector, spy and renaissance women for the Library, is given the order to safeguard an uncommon book from a pseudo-London, inhabited by Vampire, Werewolves and Fae.

Along for the journey is Kai, a librarian in training and a man with his own secrets. Death, danger and chaos soon ensue as things don’t go as planned.

The Invisible Library is what I like to call a joyful little Sunday read, one of those books that I can pick up with my morning coffee and read in a single day as the Sun shines (or if you’re in the UK, the rain falls) and its ok to sit in your pyjamas all day.

Cogman has given us a very well written and formed novel, with a solid and vivid plot. The story revolves around the Librarian Irene, who is sent on a mission to recover a unique book for a Chaos infected world. However, it appears everyone else wants this book also, the result of which are obstacles such as Vampires, Werewolves, Fae and getting a little smitten for the worlds own version of Sherlock Holmes. There are flashes light and colour set against a world of darkness and secrets, and secrets within secrets. The Victorian era setting mixes effortlessly with the Steampunk, magical creatures and zeppelins, the themes fluid and smooth in contrast to their opposing concepts.

The main character, Irene is likeable, and the overarching villain Alberich (who really only showing his face towards the end of the book) while initially an abstraction and campfire nightmare tale, told to other Librarians was intriguing and left the reader wanting more.

Kia’s presence for me did feel a little understated, I would have liked a more focus on his role and background, but can tell there is a lot more to come so was not greatly disappointed. I am looking forward to seeing how Kia personal history unfolds for Irene.

There were some nice mystery’s and uncertainties left to the reader, my favourite being the planting of some seeds of doubt regarding the library as well as the mystery surrounding Alberich himself.

Overall, I really could not find fault with this story or it’s writing. Cogman has provided a tale that is fun, with twists of darkness and secrets and plenty of action that will keep you turning the page and counting the days until the next book.

If you like you worlds colourful but dark, fantastical and adventurous, this is the book for you. Speak the name of the Library in the Language and the door will open. Step through at your own risk.

For even more reviews, author interviews and biographies, check out the site Fantasy Book Review.


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