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Book Review: The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

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.

As the bibliophile that I am it was impossible to say no when I received a request to review The Invisible Library. With the mentioning a spy that works for a mysterious organization known as the Library and has to retrieve books from different kind of realities, where can you possibly go wrong? The Invisible Library is Genevieve Cogman's debut into the fantasy genre and she does a very good job in producing a highly entertaining, humorous and entertaining first book. It reminded me a lot of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next's series but with a lot more Urban fantasy elements. If you want to start of the year good, make sure you read this one!

The story of The Invisible Library opens up with the direct focus on the main protagonist of the story, Irene. Irene works for the Library as a spy and is one of the best. Her last mission went something of awry and all Irene really want to do is refill her batteries before going onto another mission, well if only, as she is almost immediately charged with another mission. That of retrieving a book, but not just any ordinary book. As I mentioned Irene works for the Library, and the Library operates not only one dimension. In her job as librarian, Irene finds herself in many different dimensions retrieving books, it is here that the danger lies as different books can have different impact on the time lines of said dimensions it is up to her to make sure everything stay OK. Her job now is to retrieve a particular version of the famous Grimm's fairy tales. (Un)luckily Irene isn't on her own in her latest mission, she is forced to team up with the rookie Librarian, Kai, who doesn't let much on about his history and let me assure you that it is very much interesting. Together with Kai, Irene sets of to travel to this alternate version of London, a Victorian inspired one. But Victorian style isn't the only influence as this version also carries a chaos infestation, chaos meaning in this case vampires, werevolves and the mysterious fae and they aren't in it to play nice. You might think that this is a simple done and done deal, jump into a different version to retrieve a book, thinking that only the Library known what power certain books hold, but what if other persons also know of this power? This is the case for Irene and Kai as when they arrive in this alternate version of London they discover that the book that they are suppose to retrieve has been stolen. From this moment onwards Irene and Kai are thrown in a rollercoaster ride of adventure after adventure. 

Time and dimensional travel is a popular theme among author in the last few years but coming up with something new and catching is hard. However this is precisely what Genevieve Cogman has done with The Invisible Library. The story is highly creative and even though there are some books that have librarians in there stories, though these all haven't featured this unique combination of books and traveling through different dimension and of course Dragons. What do you say? Yes Dragons. 
What is mentioned above all led to the creation of a very interesting and dynamic world. Genevieve Cogman has brought the best to the front of the book. There is a lot happenig in the story of The Invisible Library and you can really see the enthusiasm that Genevieve Cogman has, she enjoys writing this. But luckily she doesn't let her enthusiasm go out of bound, creating a chaotic story and info dumps. Instead She writes in a very clear and passionate way the introduction to the world and everything that makes the world tick. It clearly comes to show that she intends to explore this world in much more depth and with everything she has shown so far, I can only imagine what she will show next. 

As for the characters of the story. I already said that the story focuses on Irene, a librarian spy. I liked how Genevieve Cogman portrayed Irene. She isn't a superhero or all knowing kind of protagonist, instead she has her own flaws and things she has to work on. Also when she is navigating her way through the different dimensions she gets surprised by the things she encounters, even through her work experience. The unknown parts, where Irene has to act on the fly and improvise really create something special for her character. Added to this comes the downright fact that she is just a funny character in herself and just one witty comment away from you to make you laugh. Great fun to read. Next to Irene you have Kai, a young librarian who is about to learn the finer things of being a librarian by Irene's training. For me Kai was something of an opposition to Irene in terms of action and his reactions. He is more cool and reserved and calculates where Irene acts more impulsive. Also from the beginning Genevieve Cogman introduces something of an spell around his character that makes you think that there is more behind his character and trust me there is and trust me again you will be astounded by what. Very cool!

The Invisible Library is a great start of the new series, inventive and highly addicted. The idea behind The Invisible Library allows Genevieve Cogman to bring this series to many different times and continents so I am curious to see just where Irene will pop up next. This first introduction has established a clear foundation in terms of what is going on in the world and has already highlighted some important parts but I am sure that this is only the tip of the iceberg of what we will see next. Genevieve Cogman is off to a solid start with The Invisible Library, don't miss it. 


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