BooksOfTheMoon

The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6)

By Genevieve Cogman

Rating: 5 stars

The world in which Irene grew up is in danger of turning towards chaos, and she must retrieve a book from another world to stabilise it. However, that book is owned by a Fae who demands that she steal a painting for him in exchange for the book. Irene and Kai now have to work as part of a larger team to steal the painting, as long as they don’t kill each other first.

I do love a good heist story, so I enjoyed the painting theft. It involved a classic trope of collecting experts in different fields together who don’t trust each other and watch them in a delicate balance of collaboration and betrayal to achieve the objective. Great fun to read.

For me, the stakes were lessened a bit, because this is really the first time that we’ve really heard Irene talking in any great detail about this world where she went to school, so we aren’t as invested in it as she is. But that’s more than made up for by the story of the painting, and the secret that it hides. And we do also get to meet Irene’s parents and discover just how dysfunctional a family they are, while still loving each other dearly.

Cogman is great at writing action scenes. The chase with the dragon is fantastic, and she obviously has a lot of fun writing Fae who are within their strong archetypes. Mr Nemo is a fantastic character, something between information broker and Bond villain (complete with Island lair) and the other members of the gang have their own charms. I’d love to see more of Ernst, in particular.

The hints thrown in here about dragon back-story, and the setup for the future at the end has me excitedly looking forward to the next book. Almost no Vale in this book, but that’s about the only negative I’ve got.

Book details

ISBN: 9781529000573
Publisher: Pan
Year of publication: 2019

The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library #5)

By Genevieve Cogman

Rating: 4 stars

Dreamy sigh. I’ve got quite the book-crush on Irene, but then after five books of saving the world (or worlds) while wanting nothing more than to sit with her feet up and a good book, what sort of heartless monster would you have to be to not? I’d love to sit down with her over a cup of tea and discuss books with the caveats that a) I’d be constantly terrified that Things would happen around her and b) I fear that my range and taste would be somewhat disappointing for her.

The fifth book in the series has the much-rumoured peace conference between the dragons and fae finally happening, but the murder of one of the delegates throws the whole thing into doubt, and Irene is brought in, along with her friend Vale, to solve the mystery and save the treaty.

All the machinations of fae and dragon from previous volumes come together here as well as the undercurrent of the role of humans (and the Library) in the multiverse. Irene has to cope with Kai no longer being her apprentice but an agent in his own right, and one whose interests may not always coincide with hers and has to work with both dragons and fae in her investigating team, walking a careful path between negotiator and leader.

After his absence in the previous volume, I’m glad to see Vale back and in a much stronger supporting role than he’s ever had before. Lord Silver also comes back in all his licentious, manipulating glory; he’s such a fun character (although I do feel that the revelation that he was there in order to “control/blackmail” Vale sort of petered out and didn’t really go anywhere, although that’s a minor issue with so many threads swirling around)

The end of this volume now opens up a lot of possibilities and I’m excited to see where Cogman takes the series next. I understand that she’s been contracted for at least another three books, so there will be plenty more opportunities for me to indulge my crush!

PS: subduing a dragon king! Think of the XP!!

Book details

ISBN: 9781509830725
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Year of publication: 2018

The Lost Plot

By Genevieve Cogman

Rating: 4 stars

A senior dragon has died and there is a vacuum surrounding his station, one that two factions race to fill, dragging the Library into their internal politics, something that it must avoid at all costs to preserve its neutrality, and possibly its existence. A Librarian is caught in the midst of this, and it’s up to Irene to extricate him while preserving everything the Library holds dear, even at the cost of her own life.

This was a great addition to Irene’s adventures. Much more politically focussed than previous instalments, although that doesn’t stop there being lots of action, razor-sharp wit and mobsters with tommy guns in the 1920s style alternate America that Irene finds herself on. Her relationship with her apprentice Kai is stretched right to the breaking point here, as she struggles to avoid involving him in dragon politics that could also further implicate the Library. It’s nice to see that develop and I wonder where it will go.

The usual supporting cast get almost no screen time. Irene’s superior Coppelia is represented only by an email, and the Holmes-a-like Vale only appears in the last chapter. I missed him a lot, as he’s a fun character, but there’s more than enough plot and characterisation to be going on with, even without him.

Niggles are minor. There’s the old trick of ending every chapter with a cliffhanger. It’s an effective tactic, but it can get a bit much. It does fuel that “just one more chapter” feeling but can be a bit exhausting as well. It’s still a great read and I look forward to the next one.

Book details

ISBN: 9781509830701
Publisher: Pan
Year of publication: 2017

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)

By Genevieve Cogman

Rating: 5 stars

Irene is on probation after her escapades in The Masked City but now a new threat has arisen, one that is destroying gates back to the Library and possibly threatening the existence of the Library itself. Irene must go up against the traitor Alberich to save everything she holds dear. Oh, and her own life, if she can manage it.

I loved this book. I’m a big fan of the series as a whole but I think this may be my favourite entry so far. The threads of the previous two books are pulled together and the long-promised threat to the Library itself is realised. Irene has to try and protect Kai and Vale, not to mention try to separate friend from foe while avoiding assassination attempts left, right and centre. We see her fraying more than we have done before, and we see more of Inspector Singh, although he’s still just a face without really an awful lot of personality. The story went on at a cracking pace rarely giving the reader (as well as Irene) space to breathe before the next threat was upon us; it’s an effective device.

Although Tor have signed two more books in the sequence, this does feel like the end of an arc, with various things tied up and brought to some sort of a conclusion. Of course, there’s lots of things still left dangling: Irene’s relationships with Kai and Vale; the politics of the Library; Alberich’s fate and more, but this is a satisfying book and a decent enough end that I’m happy to reread the earlier books with this as a conclusion point, without waiting for the others (which I will, of course, buy as soon as they’re out).

Book details

ISBN: 9781447256274
Publisher: Pan
Year of publication: 2016

The Masked City (The Invisible Library, #2)

By Genevieve Cogman

Rating: 4 stars

Barely has Librarian/spy Irene settled into her new role as Librarian-in-residence on Vale’s world than her Dragon assistant Kai is kidnapped, and it’s up to Irene, acting alone, and without help from the Library, to get him back, and possibly prevent a war.

The second volume in Genevieve Cogman’s excellent Invisible Library series is, if possible, more self-assured and fun than the first. There’s no sign of second-book nerves here. Cogman throws us into the middle of the action and then back-tracks from there; an old trick, but an effective one, and one that Cogman’s writing is good enough to pull off with aplomb. It takes a while to get to Venice, the masked city of the title, but once we do, the city that the author draws for us is beautiful to behold. It’s evocative, dangerous and lovely to read.

While the apparent Big Bad of the series, the disgraced former Librarian Alberich, remains off-stage for this book, the villain of the piece, the powerful Fae Lord Guantes, is just as effective and, in combination with his wife, quite the foil for Irene. Lord Silver returns as a decadent Fae aristocrat combining playing for power with playing with people in a turn that makes me sort of want to scrub myself down. He’s a lovely character. The rest of the supporting cast is mostly just sketched, something which works well for the Fae, given their embrace of narrative and storytelling roles. I would like to see Vale be slightly better developed, and become more than just a Holmes-clone, though.

Still, that’s just a little niggle in a series that has been, to date, a joy to read. I mean, for book-geeks like people who hang out at GoodReads, what’s not to love about a kick-ass female librarian who can rewrite reality around her! Roll on volume three.

Book details

ISBN: 9781447256250
Publisher: Tor
Year of publication: 2015

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)

By Genevieve Cogman

Rating: 4 stars

Irene is an agent of the Invisible Library, which exists between realities. She goes out to one of the many alternate Earths and brings back rare, important and sometimes dangerous books to be kept safe within. Her latest mission is to retrieve a book from a steampunk-esque alternate Earth and is given a new apprentice. However, she soon discovers that the world that she’s been sent to is infested with chaos magic, that her new apprentice has secrets of his own and that a terrible threat stalks her in her quest for the book.

This is a great fun story. I’m a book geek (big surprise from someone who’s reviewed how many books on a social network for readers!) and this pressed so many of my buttons. From the intelligent, capable woman who can rewrite reality with Language to the hints of the mysterious Library itself to the steampunk world that Irene finds herself on, there’s lots to enjoy here.

The main thrust of the story here has a conclusion, but the main plot is only just beginning. I look forward to volume 2 (coming this year, according to the author!).

Book details

ISBN: 9781447256236
Publisher: Tor UK
Year of publication: 2015

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