The Invisible Library is the first book in the series of the same name by Genevieve Cogman. I picked this book up on a whim after reading the back cover at our local library in Pittsburg, KS. I started using the library more due to the fact that our small home library is nearly at capacity for books without throwing out the furniture. I love alternate worlds and cross-genre fantasy and this book does not disappoint.
Cogman sweeps you away on an adventure with a multiverse of alternate worlds that have their own various levels of technology and magic. At the heart of it is The Invisible Library that is trans-dimensional and seemingly timeless. The Invisible Library deploys librarians across multiple alternate worlds to acquire books by mostly any means necessary. They have access to a power called The Language that allows them to effect the universe in which they are in. The Language is specific and often literal and doesn’t allow them to do just anything.
The protagonist Irene is a smart, no-nonsense character who is driven by a deep love of books and insatiable curiosity. Kai is her protégé and potential love interest for the book. However, romance or sex isn’t central to this story but she sprinkles the interest piqued between the characters throughout the book, making you root for them getting together. Kai has a secret ancestry that makes him dangerous as well.
The alternate London they are sent to on a secret mission is infested with Chaos. Chaos is associated with the Fae and fairy tale magic. This alternate world seems to have balanced itself with pseudo-magical steampunk technology to prevent complete chaos. In this London there are high-flying zeppelins, thuggish werewolves, and aristocratic vampires all blended into a magical pulp noir setting.
The story seems to revolve around the duality of chaos and order, the nature of good and evil, and the balance often found betwixt them. I found those concepts cleverly dispersed throughout the novel like bread crumbs as I was led through this fun mystery.
This book is just pure fun if you like mystery and magic and have a pervasive love of books! I paused my reading list to read the next in the series The Masked City. Can’t wait to see where Genevieve Cogman takes these characters!
You can learn more about the author Genevieve Cogman and The Invisible Library series here.