The Invisible Library

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The premise was beyond amazing – from the library, the actual mission of the librarians, the use of language to the idea of chaos and the alternate worlds. Reading the descriptions of the library and the love for books made me smile and wish I were part of that world; it was incredibly immersive. The concept of using language was cleverly done – it gave a whole new meaning to the idea that words are incredibly powerful. (The quote “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it” came to mind).  It was also good to see that Language too had its own limits as opposed to being completely omnipotent.

“The atmosphere of the place soothed her automatically; the rich lantern lights, the sheer scent of paper and leather, and the fact that everywhere she looked, there were books, books, beautiful books.”

However, I found the characters, especially the main protagonist and main villain to be somewhat lacking. There was a lack of depth to Irene especially. It felt as if the Irene presented hadn’t quite been finished as a character and was still in the early stages of being drafted and thought of. (On a side note, I was also vaguely surprised when i managed to figure out a twist way before any of the other characters – for some reason, it took some of the enjoyment out of the book).

Additionally, Alberich was supposed to come off as someone who makes everyone (even the most experienced of librarians) cower in fear just by the mere mention of his name. This was not conveyed enough and honestly, despite Alberich’s countless heinous crimes, I did not get that feeling of being scared for Irene when she did eventually come face to face with him. This was rather disappointing and the whole ending was a little anti-climactic because of it.

“and the deepest, most fundamental part of her life involved a love of books. Right now, she wanted nothing more than to shut the rest of the world out, and have nothing to worry about, except the next page of whatever she was reading.”

Having said that, the mystery that surrounded Kai held my interest  until the end. What’s more, the array of different types of fantasy creatures depicted was amazing as was the author’s slightly different take on them rather than adhering to the typical portrayal. The whole concept of chaos was brilliant albeit a tad confusing when first introduced. But for me, this was something I hadn’t come across before when reading, so I found it rather original. Furthermore, the whole idea of different alternate worlds and realities was very nicely done.

The plot moved at a good pace, but again was missing that depth. There were a lot of questions that were left unanswered – some, to be fair were still acknowledged (but still not answered), whilst others were left completed unaddressed. One that falls in to the former category was the question of why does chaos break out? What is its true purpose essentially? An example of one that belongs to the latter category was simply ‘as well as travelling through space, can librarians travel through time? Arguably, given that this is a series of books, all these questions will be answered as the series progresses.

“We have to report this.”

Kai sighed deeply in relief. “I was afraid you were going to say that we had to investigate it ourselves.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Irene said briskly. “We may collect fiction, but we are not required to imitate the stupider parts of it.”

Overall, I was captivated by the over arching, ever present premise of the book. Yet, I was sorely let down by the lack of connection I felt towards the characters, due to them feeling too rough. Even though it can be strongly argued that character development normally happens slowly and over the series, there was still something lacking in them even for their debut appearance. This completely let the book down for me. Nevertheless, due to having such a strong premise that resonated with me, I will (at some point) be continuing on with the series.

“…no strategy ever survived contact with the enemy. Or, in the vernacular, Things Will Go Wrong. Be Prepared.”

Ciao,

Saz

P.S. I wasn’t able to make reservations at the library. They’re fully booked 😉

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less

51-obw1ea2l-_sx321_bo1204203200_Of course this book was going to appeal to me – I always wanted to become a grifter and play the long con ever since I first watched ‘Hustle’. (Great show by the way guys – Micky Bricks is someone who defines what it means to be smooth and suave – an incredible character to say the least. Plus some of the cons him and his crew pull off are just mind blowing!) To be honest, it’s still a dream of mine.

The characterisation in this book was nicely handled. Each of the four protagonists had been carefully drawn out and each presented with a different personality and skill set. My favourite had to be Stephen. His academic intellect coupled with his ability to think on his feet was extremely admirable. And of course, the easygoing, chilled James was very hard not to like. The small doses of humor that had been injected sporadically throughout helped build a clearer view of each character. Plus it made me inwardly chuckle – which always goes a long way when liking a book.

The plot moved quickly but wasn’t hurried along. The details about the planning and execution of the schemes were all there and presented in an exciting manner. How each scheme had been thought out, playing to the planner’s strengths and was very realistic was just brilliant. Although I was able to call some of the plot twists, it was still enjoyable to read them. At first I was a bit lost what was going on regarding the initial con involving stocks and shares, but this didn’t turn out to be a problem, as I eventually picked up the main jist of what was happening.

The writing was kept simple and to the point. It was what I can only describe as being clean and concise. There were no convoluted, unnecessary descriptive paragraphs or anything of that sort. Additionally I really enjoyed the theme of revenge, hunting the one who was previously the hunter and how four strangers formed a bond over this adventure.

Overall, this was a fantastic book and a delightful read (made me want to become a grifter even more!) Anyone looking for a light fast paced read with a dash of humour, this is a definite recommendation.

Happy reading fellow bibliomaniacs,

Saz

P.S. I used to think I was indecisive. Now I’m not too sure 😉