Format: E-Galley, 352 pages
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
Irene is an undercover Librarian—a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London.Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book.
The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…
Story Locale: England
Series Overview: Undercover Librarian Irene and her assistant Kai travel through time and dimensions, fighting supernatural creatures of chaos, to track down the most important books in all of the worlds in this fun and adventurous fantasy series.
The Invisible Library is the first installment in author Genevieve Cogman's new series. Gogman's main character is a woman named Irene, no last name. Irene is a junior grade Librarian/Spy who has been traveling to alternative worlds in order to collect unique works of fiction. In doing so, she tethers those worlds to the secretive library she works for. A place that is out of time and space from actual reality. The Invisible Library is a mixture of steampunk, adventure, mystery, and a whole lots of twists and turns.
"No strategy ever survived contact with the enemy."
Upon completion of yet rather interesting mission where she was forced to survive against gargoyles, hellhounds, and magical teens trying to prevent her escape, Irene is not only given a rather serious new case, but an apprentice who is cocky and a mystery. Irene and Kai find themselves in an alternative London that is very much straight out of Victorian times. They must retrieve a rare Grimm brothers book and bring it back to the library while also facing off against Vampires, Fae, Werewolves, and the Library's own past secrets.
Upon arriving in this new universe where magic and paranormal are normal, Irene and Kai discover that this mission will be anything but easy. They have to deal with the fact that the book is missing, and there are other factions that are eager to get their hands on the book. Irene also has to deal with her new apprentice who is obviously more than he appears. I think the most interesting aspect of this story is the chaos theory that the author has created. Fae are creatures of chaos and magic, while Dragons, yes, Dragons, are supposed to interfere if a world tips too far in the wrong direction.
Irene is an interesting character who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. She's grown up in and around the Library thanks to her parents who she rarely sees. She has faith in its mission, but tends to be a bit on the daring side. She has made mistakes, and she has her fair share of haters including Bradamant, a fellow Librarian who is older and more experienced. Although I am not 100 percent sure why their is hatred between the two, one can hope that they will eventually parlay their way into a partnership, maybe even a friendship.
I also loved the so called Librarian magic that allows Irene to access magic and open doors back to the Library or make inanimate objects alive. I liked Peregrine Vale as well. He is an outsider that becomes an ally, that becomes a friend, that becomes someone who finds himself deep in a world that blows all his theories to hell and back. There are a whole lot of curious questions about the Invisible library that I hope will be addressed in future installments. After what happens to Irene and Kai, you have to ask yourselves if they can truly be trusted.
As this is the first installment in a new series, there's more than enough from for character growth, and a discovery of what makes Kai tick. The next installment is called The Masked City. It has already been released in the UK, and will apparently hit the US September 6, 2016.