Review: ‘The Invisible Library’ by Genevieve Cogman

 21416690The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!
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.

[From Goodreads]

Book details

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Tor

ISBN: 9781447256236

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Review

Cogman’s debut novel is a book every bibliophile needs to read.

Not only is it beautifully written and expertly plotted, but it’s also built on a premise that simultaneously delighted me and filled me with jealousy for the main character. It’s set in a book lover’s dream world – an invisible library that hoards books from different realities.

Irene quickly became one of my favourite literary heroines. She’s headstrong, intelligent, disciplined and overflowing with integrity. But most importantly, she’s unapologetically herself. She doesn’t particularly care about whether people think she’s weak, because she knows deep down she’ll be able to prove them wrong. Her belief in the power that literature holds is inspiring and empowering, not to mention entirely relatable to book lovers everywhere.

In a way, Irene reminds me of the Sherlock Holmes she admires so much, minus the arrogance. And with a whole lot more flair that instantly made me want to go on a secret mission with her to hunt down books.

I think The Invisible Library will quickly become one of my most treasured possessions. The story is beautiful, and the characters are marvelous. There’s something magical about the book itself. It calls the readers very soul to believe wholeheartedly in everything it proposes, be it the possibility of alternate universes, an invisible library that has access to all of them, or the existence of suggestively immortal spies tasked with the responsibility of retrieving books for collection. Not to mention the dragons that hoard treasured pieces of literature above gold trinkets, and the secret Librarian Language that can change the nature of objects.

Words truly do have power, and the ones in this novel particularly so.

5 stars

Rating: 5/5

Recommended to: Bibliophiles everywhere.

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The Last Word

Whilst reading The Invisible Library (the entire time, mind you), this was my face:

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