The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman

Irene passed the mop across the stone floor in smooth, careful strokes, idly admiring the gleam of wet flagstones in the lantern-light.

A rather bland opening line for a book otherwise crammed full of amazing things! Steampunk alligators, airships, vampires, and of course the Library that collects books from alternate realities…!

I absolutely adored the idea here: the library that sits between all manner of worlds, interested only in books. The librarians are practically immortal – when they’re in the library – but are sent out to collect rarities and oddities from the different ‘alternates’.

Our lead character, Irene, is perhaps just a little too much of a wish-fulfillment creation, sort of blessed head girl perfect-ish. She’s sent on a mission to collect a unique copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and saddled with a new apprentice – the drop-dead gorgeous, amazing, etc etc Kai. Hmm. Then the world they’ve been sent to turns out to be populated by master detectives, vampires, agents of chaos, and Irene’s worst enemy…!

I wanted to love this book more than I did. It has such great concepts, but throwing them all together gets a little messy and misses out on spending more time with the intriguing aspects: the possible other realities to travel between, dragons, all those hints about backstory, and, of course, the library itself. For a place of such wonder, it comes across rather poorly by the end, which is a total shame.

Still, a mostly fun and easy read, and I’m glad I read it for the imagination-prodding.

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.

Kindle: 337 pages, 23 chapters
First published: 2015
Read from 4th-12th August 2015

My rating: 6/10 – glorious, inspiring idea, just not quite hitting the mark all the way through

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