Format: Paperback, 367 pages
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction / Time Travel
Librarian spy Irene and her apprentice Kai go to Prohibition-era New York in their fourth adventure in the bibliophilic fantasy series from the author of The Burning Page.
After unavoidably torching a number of priceless manuscripts in an effort to save the Library, Librarian Irene is in hot water. When Irene is approached by a dragon who wants her to find a copy of a very rare book to impress her superiors, Irene decides to kill two birds with one stone. Given that the Library itself doesn’t have a copy, finding one for the Library might help raise Irene’s status.
Irene and Kai take a leave of absence to find the book in a Prohibition-era New York full of museums, but they’re not the only ones after it. It turns out that it is a matter of dragon internal politics as to who can get hold of it first and hand it over. And, of course, the Fae are interfering. Irene will have to get out of the situation without embarrassing the Library, herself, or Kai, preferably while still alive.
Story Locale: Prohibition-era New York City
Series Overview: 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 Lost Plot, by author Genevieve Cogman, is the fourth installment in The Invisible Library series. Protagonist Irene Winters is a Librarian-in-Residence who works for the secretive Invisible Library. Her "home" world is that of an alternative London which is features a Detective known as Peregrine Vale. The Invisible Library's most important job is to maintain the balance between order and chaos. Between Dragons who are order and reality, and Fae who are chaos, fiction, and heroes in their own plays. Sometimes even between Dragons and Dragons, Fae and Fae.
As a Librarian, Irene has visited multiple alternative worlds in order to obtain books. She herself is a bibliophile who loves to read along with a good cup of coffee. She has an apprentice in Kai, who is a dragon, and the son of the King of the Eastern Ocean. The story starts out with Irene attending a vampire soiree trying something different for a change. Instead of just stealing a book that has been requested by the Library, she attempts to make a trade. Irene is a master at escaping precarious situations and moving to the next one.
Shortly her escape, Irene is approached by a female dragon named Jin Zhi. Zhi serves the Queen of the Southern Lands. Zhi is interested in finding one of four classic novels in Chinese literature. Zhi claims that a Librarian is involved in helping her rival and she wants Irene's help. She claims that there is a contest between two powerful dragons, herself and male dragon name Qing Song to fill a position that opened up with the death of one of the Queen's ministers. The winner fills the position, the loser pays the price.
Irene's career as a Librarian is at stake. Irene and Kai travel to a world based on the 1920's Prohibition Era New York City and attempt to uncover whether a Librarian is involved in the chase for the missing book or not. Is the Librarian actually violating the neutrality clause that the Library tries hard to maintain? Or, is something else happening here? Irene must find the missing Librarian, find the missing book, and keep herself and Kai from being drawn into Dragon politics.
They will face off against Dragons, a curious Fae who plays the part of an assassin, human police who are outgunned, gangs who run liquor against the Volstead Act, and dire wolves who are loyal to their dragon master. I adore Irene, I really do. I found it fascinating that she gets to meet with the Library Security this time out. We've met the person in charge before, but this storyline really focuses on Irene's background and who she is.
Irene is a character who has had an interesting time as a Librarian. So far, she's visited alternative England, Venice, and St. Petersburg. She's the child of two Librarians which is unheard of and not normal. Her recent probation, after she saved Kai and Vale in Venice, was purely for political reasons, and not because she necessarily did anything wrong. She has faced off against a major villain twice and lived to tell the tale and may have saved the Library itself.
Irene has a reputation as a rogue agent which makes her perfect for the assignment at hand. Succeed and life goes on; fail, and she will be disavowed and cast aside. Irene's relationship with Kai is put to the test time and time again but it almost always comes out on top. These two haven't had any romance between them yet, but the tension and the desire is definitely something you can feel.
*Apparently, there are two different settings for this story. One is based on Chicago, & one based on New York City. I received the one based on NYC and loved it. I have more historical knowledge of the setting at hand and can really get more of a feeling of being there with Irene. I loved the speakeasy, the fashions, and the curious mob bosses who basically run the city. I loved following Irene as she races to keep herself Kai, and the Librarian known as Evariste Jones out of harms way. I can only presume that the one released in the UK has Chicago as its setting. Perhaps one day I will find a copy of said book.