Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Invisible Library

Genevieve Cogman
Tor, 2015 (my copy was gracefully provided by Pan Macmillan for review, in an exquisite binding)
Size: Average (my paperback copy has 329 pages)
Theme: Fantasy mystery
Narrative: third-person
Main character: Irene
Recommended minimum age: Teenager
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

Irene is a Librarian, part of an organization that exists beyond the borders of our world. The Library connects multiple planes of reality, and has the goal of collecting works of literature from all those realities. The Library is a realm of order and its agents have to fight the forces of chaos, which create unnatural events and impossibilities. In this story, Irene is tasked with finding a specific book in an alternative London, but that reality is festering with chaos influences, which includes supernatural creatures such as werewolves and vampires, but also a combination of magic and technology often acting unpredictably.

The story is compelling and rich in details, with a smooth narrative and a fast pace. The plot has several twists and yet maintains a strong grip on the main storyline. Characters are very well developed, and we learn much about them from their conversations along the book, discovering more at each page turn. I very much enjoyed reading it, being a welcomed change from my more usual sci-fi. And, having no prior expectations set, it was an unanticipated pleasure.

The “Invisible Library” looks like the very promising start of a new saga. The world created by Cogman is teeming with possibilities and promises of many more adventures for Irene and the Librarians. Thus, I am looking forward to a follow-up novel, and highly recommend this first installment.