Reviews

看不見的圖書館, by Genevieve Cogman

picavaria's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

ashcomb's review against another edition

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4.0

I have meant to read this book for ages now, and I finally picked it up. I wasn't disappointed. The book was a positive surprise. It has been a long time since I have been sucked deep into the story, finding the characters and the setting compelling. This was such an occasion. The Invisible Library hit every mark of a good entertaining book, which has a correct balance of easy to read and yet not inconsequential. As the name entails, it has that stereotypical librarian wit with literary references and a passion for books and tea. But it is not too over the top or snobbish. Oh, of course, I could complain about things like naivety and clichéd settings and plot devices, but when such things are well executed and fit the book, it is easy to shrug off such things and just enjoy the book.

So what is the book about? It is pretty much what the title of the book says. An invisible library exists between parallel universes (not identical) containing feys (vampires, werewolves, and dragons, and elemental spirits) and technology (steampunk, thus far). The Library's job is to secure books to their collections for safekeeping. Unfortunately, I can't go into details here about its duties as it ruins the plot. The Library employs librarians who go into these parallel universes to retrieve the books they want to gain. They are ready to steal and use a cloak and dagger to get what they want. Irene, the protagonist, is sent to mid-1800 century London to get the Brothers of Grimm book, and she has to babysit a junior associate, Kai, while at it. And, of course, nothing is as straightforward.

Irene is a compelling character. She is strong, independent, snarky, likes tea and books, and has a flaw. She is too invested with the Library and too consumed by being a good little librarian. I liked her, despite the flaws in her logic. She can stand on her own. She has history, personality and isn't a plot device. I would love to add something that is revealed at the end as a critique, which made me grimace a little. I can't, as I don't want to spoil anything. Let's just say that she is more of a cliché as a heroine than I wanted her to be. Before I move on to Kai, I want to say something about the clichés the book is riddled with. The plot, the setting, and the characters are not original (to an extent). It is all highly familiar and has been seen many times in other books. What is novel is the combo, which works so well that it is an original story nevertheless. The writer puts her spin on it to make it appealing and fresh.

About Kai. He's a junior associate in training to become a librarian. He is inhumanly gorgeous and highly sure of himself. But, he is flawed yet, perfect (and naïve.) So, I wasn't that excited about him, not either, when the story revealed his full character. That's on me. I hate when characters are described as incredibly handsome. So we had a rocky start immediately as he was introduced, and it remained so towards the end. That said, he fits the story as he is, and I can't think of a replacement for him, which wouldn't alter the course of events too drastically, so Kai is what he is. A wet dream to some and an annoyance to me.

I have run out of anything else to say about the book. But I want to add that I jumped straight to the next book in the series. I'm in the right mood for parallel universes and librarians, having had almost cinematography experience with the first book. Unfortunately, I have read already several pages, and I'm annoyed. I'm not sure yet why. It hopefully will pass, and I can get back to that cozy feeling I had with this one, as if I was reading it by the fire with a bar of chocolate next to me and no hurry to go anywhere. The Invisible Library is worth the read if you like: books, books about books, tea and books, steampunk, dragons, vampires, and Sherlock Holmes.

limitlesslady's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

Settings
  • [ ] Typical setting for this genre
  • [x] Unique setting for this genre
  • [ ] Unique setting in general

Protagonists
  • [ ] Hot garbage
  • [ ] Boring boring boring
  • [ ] Serviceable
  • [x] Likeable leads
  • [ ] I love them so much

Side Character
  • [ ] Every character is terrible
  • [ ] Characters commit sin of being boring/generic
  • [x] Enough interesting characters to balance out the few terrible ones
  • [ ] Likeable side characters
  • [ ] Amazing characters all around

Antagonist(s)
  • [ ] Hate them for the wrong reasons
  • [ ] Cliché as hell
  • [x] Serviceable
  • [ ] Sympathetic or likeable enough that I don't want to hate them
  • [ ] Love to hate them

Plot
  • [ ] Average, generic plot
  • [ ] Average plot made interesting with creativity
  • [ ] Crazy plot that is either so bad it’s good or just plain bad
  • [x] Unique plot that keeps you interested

Writing
  • [ ] Terribly written
  • [ ] Very simple but effective language
  • [x] Average writing that does the job
  • [ ] Beautiful but accessible writing
  • [ ] Challenging

Short summary:
I liked this book. Alternate worlds are always cool. The idea of a secret library with people obsessed with books and hunting rare ones down is intriguing. I really liked Vale. 

Only a few things irked me:
  • SpoilerI didn't like the fact that the only seemingly POC character is murdered and skin worn by the villian. It happens to a non-POC too but it just kind of rubs me the wrong way.
  • Kai is inconsistent. At one point he tries to 
    Spoilersleep with Irene (and fails)
    then in another scene he is suave and cool as a cucumber and then in another scene is petulant and judgey. I still like him but his mood swings irked me.
  • There were some obvious moments where you could tell the identity of a couple of the bad guys quite easily 

Still an entertaining book and may take a gander at the rest of the series. 

qwordy's review against another edition

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4.0

3.5 rounded up. This was a very fun adventure that gave me The Librarian vibes. Some parts I felt were out of place and others I just loved. And then there was some logic that I just did not get. Irene, I love her, but my girl needs to learn how to LIE better. And I didn’t really get Bradamant as a character and wanted her to have more repercussions for her actions than what we got. I am intrigued to continue the series though.

wordnerdy's review against another edition

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3.0

http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2015/07/2015-book-177.html

https://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2021/03/2021-book-53.html

I have actually read this before, but didn’t love it because of the way it wrapped up and never bothered with the rest of the series. But now I am forever on the hunt for fantasy series by women authors, so it was time to revisit! I didn’t remember the details so it was fun to reread; it’s about a woman who works for an interdimensional Library, which sends people to alternate worlds to snatch up rare books. Now she’s on a mission with a new apprentice, but things quickly get way more complicated than expected. Maybe because it was a reread, or just my general state of mind, but I didn’t mind the ending this time, and look forward to seeing the further adventures of our book-loving characters. A-/B+.

shafaerie's review against another edition

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adventurous funny mysterious medium-paced

3.5


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kate_reads101647's review against another edition

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adventurous funny medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

3.75

clarabooksit's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.75


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lmarsh's review against another edition

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adventurous fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No

4.0

Very fun read; I finished it in a day. You have to love a library setting, and the conceit of this particular library (multiverse) is very fun in that you can layer it on top of other sff books' canon if you want to.

thumbetina's review against another edition

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0