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The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Genevieve Cogman weaves a tale of suspense and intrigue in alternate worlds of real places with the library at its center. The Invisible Library is Book One in a seven-book series that follows Irene, Kai, Vale, and friends across alternate realities and through the Library that traverses those alternate worlds.

Librarians are no longer the mousy, glasses wearing sh-ers (yes, I know it’s not a word) we’ve all come to know and love. Oh no, those who work for The Library are spies sent to retrieve famous works throughout alternate worlds. One such Librarian is Irene, a progeny of other Librarians, and who has lived and breathed books since birth albeit with a dose of ‘normal living’ during formative years. She’s resourceful, practical, and loyal to those she calls friend. On her latest mission, she finds herself with an assistant, Kai. As his story unfolds, she begins to unravel the mystery of his purpose at the Library and on her mission while falling deeper into the mystery of her mission.

In an alternate Victorian London, they meet Vale. Something like an alternate version of Sherlock Holmes minus the violin, cap, pipe, and Dr. Watson. Though he’s got his own secrets. And Silver, a foe in friend’s clothing, Fae nobility by birth and thereby on the chaotic spectrum versus Irene, Kai, and Vale in orderly, organized, and logical spectrum.

The story takes readers on a wild ride from the quiet hushed solitude of the Library and its maze of passages between stacks that lead to alternate realities. Some realities are technology focused, some are historically accurate, and still others blur the lines between the two. Add Fae, werewolves, Librarians who speak a magical language, and dragons for a taste of the fantastical characters and creatures that coexist in some parallel form.

I’ve finished Book One and am in the middle of Book Two, so look for a quick overview for the second book next month, and a detailed arc review of the books once I’ve read all seven of them. If you love books such as The Magicians by Lev Grossman or All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, this book will be right in your wheelhouse.

Fun fact: It’s rare to go into a bookstore and stump the bookseller, but on a recent hunt for this first book, a bookseller learned about this series for the first time. In the end, we taught each other. I thought there were only four books. Turns out there are seven in total. And how did this all begin? I bought Book 4 first. On page one, I knew I’d mad a mistake, and went in search of Book 1 – The Invisible Library.

Not only did the bookseller order my copies for me, but ordered a set for herself and the bookstore. Talk about word of mouth advertising!

What’s Next for Book Review Week?

The Invisible Library, The Hill We Climb, and The Shrouded Spark are on the bookshelf for this week’s Book Review Week. Image: Lisa Rogers 2022

Okay, so Book Review Week was a little hit and miss earlier this year. But now we’re back in full swing and will be posting a short book review a day Sunday to Sunday once a month. Two things that are different this year: If I can, I will always link direct to the author’s site rather than to Amazon or Goodreads and if you’re looking for your next book, I’m working on a curated book list of favorites and themes for patrons.

What’s your favorite book you’ve read this year? See if you can tell me in one sentence what the book is about or why it resonated with you. It’s more difficult than it sounds.