Review: The Invisible Library

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself… (via Goodreads)

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Irene is an agent of the Library – a secret organization that once sworn in, you’re bound to for eternity (though you can retire after a few centuries). Much of a Librarian’s job includes collecting books from different alternate worlds in order to preserve them for the sake of knowledge. In fact, that’s how we’re introduced to Irene as she’s infiltrating a boarding school in an alternate to obtain a rare copy of a book. As soon as she returns to the Library, she’s immediately sent off on another mission and gets the bonus of taking along Kai, a Library trainee.

Honestly, the story took a little time to get into, though that could be from the fact that I’m not huge on fantasy novels. Either way, there’s a lot of information about this world (or worlds, if you include the alternates) that goes along with the story. There are dragons, fae, and other magical beings that exist throughout these alternate worlds, and Irene is thrown into a world that contains most of them. Not only that, there is apparently a dangerous former Librarian lurking in this world and is after the same, rare manuscript that Irene and Kai have to retrieve. So, yeah, there’s a lot to take in when reading The Invisible Library.

For the most part I liked the characters, especially Kai, but I didn’t feel a connection to them. There’s not much given for Irene’s backstory, which is weird considering she’s the main character; the only thing really known about her is that her parents are Librarians as well, and she doesn’t see them often. Kai was mysterious, giving out bits of his background, but never revealing anything solid until a certain point in the story. He was without a doubt the more intriguing of the pair.

What shocked me about this book was some of the more violent scenes that went on. There were attacks that left large amounts of blood around the place, skin torn off, missing body parts… it could get bad at times. Thankfully not too much, but I definitely hadn’t been expecting that level of mentioned violence on a journey to retrieve a book.

I found that as the story went on I enjoyed the mystery of where the manuscript was and how Irene and Kai were going to get to it before the other people who were also after it (there were at least three). The ending definitely gives you that inkling that there’s going to be a bigger story arc along the way, and I don’t know about anyone else who’s read this book, but I’m intrigued and am looking forward to continuing this series.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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