May 14, 2016

Steampunk Sundays: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Series: The Invisible Library 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Publisher: Tor UK/Roc
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Recommended By: Nocturnal Book Reviews
Genre: YA | Fantasy | Steampunk

The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies - think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

A steampunk-ish fantasy adventure with precious books at the center and librarian and her dragon sidekick at its helm. With a basic description like this, how can a reading junkie like me NOT read Genevieve Cogman's THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY?! 

And so I did with much anticipation and gusto. Only it didn't exactly had me enthralled. For all the great parts THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY has, there are also things about it that didn't quite work me.

  • Let me start with the characters, Irene and Kai. Irene is a full-fledged Librarian whose has her share of missions already so she's seasoned. She's capable, discerning, and feisty to say the least. Kai is a bit mysterious, cocky, quite the chameleon, and his gorgeous charms might catch you off -guard. That said, there's an awkward pair-up going on here. It almost feels like GCogman is that annoying grandmother trying to match these two who don't have much chemistry, romantic tension, or even a flirtatious banter filled with double entendres and the like.

  • One of the things that I love is how this world is set-up. Librarians can go back and forth and slide through time or universes depending on their mission a la Dr. Who. This is a great plot element in that it teases and fulfills every book lover's fantasy. Who doesn't want to be a superhero, and more specifically, the kind that "saves" unique and special book editions? 

  • I wouldn't necessarily classify THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY as strictly steampunk. For this mission they're in a version on London ridden with magic, fae, vampires, etc. There's some modern gadgets involved but it's not as rustic cool as your usual steampunk novel.

Final verdict: THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY is not the best match for me. For all its awesome world elements, crisscrossing genres, and supernatural flavor, it failed to hold my attention. The current mystery about the missing book and all the brouhaha surrounding it is interesting, but  I find the dialogue dry. And for all its inventive and fantastical props, the action adventure didn't do much for me. It's me, not this. Definitely.

Talk Supe


  1. Replies
    1. If you're reading this, I hope you enjoy it :)

  2. I love witty banter, like in Gail Carriger's books, so dialogue that falls kind of flat isn't quite my thing. You should keep going with the Parasol Protectorate!

    1. Me too! What's more entertaining than a snarky heroine and a quick-witted her right?

  3. I have seen this one around. It looks like one I'd read. Great review!

  4. This blurb did not grab me so I skipped this one. Didn't seem to miss out on too much. Do like the Doc Who parts though.

  5. I added this one to my TBR just last week after seeing it around, so I'm glad I saw your review. Nice to know, I'll go in with lower expectations now and see how it works. I'm cautiously optimistic although steampunk can be hit or miss for me. Thanks for the review!

  6. First I've herd of this one, sounds interesting.

  7. At least the plot doesn't look bad! But the characters must lack vigor. Great review!! :)

  8. This one definitely sounds fascinating with the librarian as the main charcter, but sadly it sounds like it fell flat for you Braine! Thanks for the review on this one!

  9. Sorry it wasn't a bit more than that. I didn't know about this one so thanks for the discovery

  10. Sorry it wasn't as enjoyable. I like the idea though, even if it's not a genre I like.

  11. Sorry this wasn't the best fit for you! I'm definitely really curious about this one. I'll have to try and it read when I can, and it's been released. haha


  12. That's too bad. Never good when the characters just aren't a good match :/

  13. Oh nooo! I have this for review but I don't want to read a book with sizzle-less romance. Boo!

  14. Ouch, there are few things that ruin a story like incompatible characters.

  15. Aw man! I was hoping for more... especially with a library and a sidekick dragon. Throw in the Dr. Who part. Hm... I still may try it. I may be more for me? Sorry it wasn't a match for you. :(

  16. The title sounds very promising and I like the idea of steampunk-ish elements and a library. It's too bad there were some parts that didn't quite work for you. It's a shame when the romance falls flat like that and there's no chemistry. I am not a fan of time travel, so I don't think I would enjoy that part as much. Great review!

  17. I do need to get to more steampunk books. I've been falling behind on my steampunk fixes. :)

  18. Oh boo! Sorry you didn't like it as much as did, Braine! I did listen to it, and the narrator is amazing, so that might have made a huge difference to my perception.

  19. Oh boo! Sorry you didn't like it as much as did, Braine! I did listen to it, and the narrator is amazing, so that might have made a huge difference to my perception.

  20. Damn this sounds interesting for sure. I hope the pairing finds a way to work or is just forgotten about


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