The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

*I received a copy of book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The 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.

Don’t be ridiculous…we may collect fiction, but we are not required to imitate the stupider parts of it.

“…chases through the street, dangerously flamboyant personalities, [and] cyborg alligators” – this perfectly sums up the crazy whirlwind that is The Invisible Library. It truly took me by surprise. I went in expecting one thing, and the opening scene totally threw me for a loop. I was picturing Irene as the maid from The Leaky Cauldron in The Prisoner of Azkaban, then all of a sudden she’s being chased by gargoyles and running for a magic portal into the Library! From there the real story begins in earnest, and you get to see Irene in a whole new light.

The Library lives in this in-between place, between universes/dimensions/realities, that is also impervious to time. When in the library, you don’t age, and no one can be born or die. It’s a very interesting concept really. The Library has those that work for it – from what I gathered they recruit those that have no families; people who wouldn’t be missed. Librarians live long lives in their service, spending their younger years retrieving rare books from alternate worlds for the Library’s collection, and retiring to their research once they’re older (they age while out of the library). For the Library, and its Librarians, books matter above all else. They do not interfere in the worlds themselves.

Irene is unique in that both her parents are Librarians; she was raised with the Library. It’s all she’s ever wanted to be. After returning from her mission from the opening of the novel, she’s immediately assigned a new one, and a new assistant, Kai. Neither of them is prepared for this, or for the state of the alternate they’ve been assigned. Each alternate world is unique; there is magic, fae, werewolves, dragons, and all kinds of fictional and mythical creatures and the like in existence in different places, to varying degrees. In this particular world, chaos has taken hold and there’s a great deal of the supernatural. As the synopsis says, their mission is to retrieve a dangerous book, but by the time they arrive, the book has already been stolen. True to her job and love for the Library, Irene and Kai go undercover to find it and end up on a path that is far more dangerous than she ever dreamed.

As I said before, The Invisible Library took me by surprise. I went in not sure what really to expect and I ended up loving every minute of it. The story took so many twists and turns and was so full of imagination! The idea of multiple dimensions has always intrigued me, and the idea of this Library being at the center of it all it really interesting, but creepy at the same time. The Library has the ability to travel between the alternates, and possibly do real good and help people, but it won’t, all it cares about it its quest for knowledge and keeping itself hidden. I also really appreciate that the dimensions can be so wildly different, not just some are space age and some are like the dark ages, but some have magic and supernatural creatures. It's very steampunk crossed with magic and fantasy, with a good mix of all.

Overall, I give it a 5 out of 5! The writing was clever and on point. Cogman knew how to make me laugh out loud and keep me on the edge of my seat. I was able to guess a few of the twists but some I didn’t see coming at all. I have a few theories for book two, which I can’t wait to see if I’m right about! The great thing about The Invisible Library is that the whole series is already written and was released in the UK, so we won’t have to wait long between releases!

The Invisible Library is available June 14th with The Masked City, book two, scheduled to publish September 6th, and The Burning Page, book three, scheduled to publish on December 6th! How awesome is that?! So mark your calendars and add them to your TBR!



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