Irene is a librarian and it is a librarian’s job to travel to alternate worlds to collect books significant or particular to that world. She’s just completed a job and is looking forward to a nice stretch of time to do her research. Without warning Irene is sent out into the field again this time with a student shadowing her named Kai. It’s supposed to be a fairly routine job–one week max. But when they get there, they find that the book they’re meant to retrieve has already been stolen. As Irene and Kai try to find the book while navigating this world, they’ll face giant robot centipedes, cyborg alligators, and more.
This book has basically every single fantasy element in it and somehow it all comes together and works. We’ve got fae, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and steampunk. There’s just so much going on! I’m amazed that Cogman has been able to keep the story from getting too confusing or bogged down with the different species and worlds that exist in this book. The library itself is a very fascinating place that we don’t actually get to learn much about. Librarians have a special magic called “The Language” that they can use and it works in any world with virtually any object. I was very interested with this interpretation of magic. It requires that a librarian uses very specific language in order for it to work and I enjoyed reading about how Irene uses it throughout.
There were definitely times when the plot was a little slow, but then there were times when the action made it move super-fast. Perhaps the author could have regulated the pace of the book a little more, but overall it wasn’t too distracting or disruptive.
The characters were really quite fun. Irene and Kai kind of have a weird relationship…I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there. Vale is 100% delightful.He’s basically Sherlock Holmes, but he’s much better with people than Sherlock ever was. Even Silver and Bradamant were fun characters to read even though they were kind of evil. And don’t even get me started on the villain. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this is probably one of the most evil villains I have ever read. Seriously, super messed up.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series (there are going to be at least three). I’m interested in seeing how this world continues to develop. Lastly, this book just makes librarians seem WAY awesome. They’re spies and thieves but they’re also just as bookish as any librarian would be!
Overall Rating: 4
Sexual Content: Mild
Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for a review and for featuring it on my Instagram account (@whatsshereadingblog).