The Secret Chapter review: Never trust a Fae with sharks

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by Allen Childers

The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman is sixth book in The Invisible Library series. My review of The Invisible Library can be found here.

First off, let me say that I love this book series! Since my review in March, I binged this book series over 2019 and I am eagerly waiting on The Dark Archives to arrive later in 2020. It is an easily accessible series that utilizes the various literary tropes and storytelling genres and twists them into smart capers filled with humor, magic, and a love of books.

In this world, books themselves are sources of world-stabilizing power that can bend a parallel Earth into chaos or order. The Fae embody a plethora of character archetypes while the dragons lay the foundations of order and law in their worlds. The Library and the librarians themselves help balance betwixt the two with a special power called The Language.

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In The Secret Chapter, Irene and Kai return in another adventure that takes them on a mission to save the world where she grew up. They will meet the infamous and dangerous fae Mr. Nemo, a collector archetype who has a specific book that Irene needs. Mr. Nemo is like a James Bond villain complete with sharks and an underwater lair. He assembled a crew of both fae and dragon operatives all who want something from him. He sends them on an Oceans Eleven style caper that tests the limits of the new peace treaty.  Irene is also an ambassador to the newly formed and tentative dragon-fae alliance. This is an interesting story because of the fae and dragon interpersonal dynamics: None of the characters besides Irene and Kai trust each other. I would say that Irene already has trust issues, given the nature of her job and the relationship with her parents, which is explored in the novel (as well as her upbringing).

Genevieve Cogman writes her characters with a realistic personality that acknowledges their faults even when they are creatures confined to the social hierarchy of their species or specific agendas. For me, the only drawback was that the detective Peregrine Vale –who is his world’s Sherlock Holmes – does not make an appearance. Vale has an analytical mind that helps him see things from different perspectives than Irene and Kai. Hopefully he can show up in the next one.

Like I said earlier, I am eagerly waiting The Dark Archives in 2020! Hope you all enjoy this book series as much as I do.

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