Thursday, July 7, 2016
The Invisible Library
Imagine a library existing outside of space or time, where a group of dedicated librarians travel to alternate worlds to recover rare texts. Some of these worlds are contaminated with chaos magic, however, and are populated by vampires, werewolves, fae creatures and the like. This is the premise of The Invisible Library. The library itself is a mysterious place- it's huge for one thing, taking librarians sometimes days to traverse its halls. We're not told how big it is, and this is just one of the mysteries that will hopefully be explored in future books.
I thought this was a good book with lots of interesting ideas. The idea of a conflict between Law and Chaos is not a new one but it's nice to see it reappear in fantasy, especially in a YA. One of my favorite tropes. And I also like the idea that underneath the surface the library may serve its own purposes and its servants are unaware of this. That is certainly hinted at here as Irene, a junior Librarian, has to go a Victorian era world with elements of chaos and clockwork tech, to find a book that turns out to be very important indeed.
Along the way Irene will be tested and forced to look at her role in a new light, and to consider the ethics of what she does. What gives her the right to enter a world and take a book that may affect the lives of many? I liked the character growth here in Irene as she starts to re-examine some of her assumptions, and there are a lot of intertwined plot strands that made this a fulfilling read. I especially enjoyed Bradamant, a rival with superior rank who shows up to make her life miserable- her inclusion and the intrigue associated with it made the plot more fun.
The book starts off with Irene on a mission, so we jump right into the action. Even so it took me a while to get into this story- I actually spent a few days away from it and wasn't sure I was going to like it- but I stuck with it and as soon as Irene got to her world and her mission began I was hooked. There are some neat concepts here, and the idea that Librarians are basically immortal- they don't age when they're in the Library- is just one of them. I'm looking forward to the next book to see what more we can learn and what Irene gets herself into next- judging from this it should be a wild ride.