This book, and its sequels, is composed of many parts that appeal to me: librarians, hidden libraries, secret societies, multiverses, time/space travel, strong female lead (in fact, it skirted dangerously close to the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde). I wanted to love it, but the writing just wasn't there. As noted by others, the pace and amount of detail were too frenetic and overwhelming. Also, I kept getting taken out of the story by lapses in logic. During conversations, Irene, the protagonist, would react to things that didn't seem to me to have been said. I couldn't follow her leaps of assumption (emotion? intuition?), and every time, I broke out of the action and puzzled over it. By the end of the book, I was grudgingly interested in the sequel, but it felt like an obligation to follow the story and not engagement in how the characters evolve. I do hope the inconsistencies smooth out in future books, because the story holds promise.
I discovered this author with book 3 and have returned to the first to learn the background. I agree with others that the plot isn't as tight in this first book, but hold in there because the third is a whammy and the pen is polished! A magical world with life and death danger and destruction like Harry Potter, but totally literary. The possibilities are endless and the alternate worlds and importance of books to different cultures and time periods is fascinating. I have book #2 on my next to read list, and am looking forward to more from this author.
Irene and Kai work for a mysterious library that collects fiction across dimensions. While in pursuit of an obscure work of fairy tales they encounter a detective akin to Sherlock Holmes as well as an assortment of supernatural creatures. The first in a series, this adventure story is a lot of fun!
I was pulled in at the beginning by Irene's fast-paced escape; however, I quickly got bogged down in too much detail. I couldn't help feeling like I was reading an unedited script of The Librarian. Hardcore SciFi fans may love it, though.
3.5 stars. If I wanted a quick way to describe this book, it would likely be "Harry Potter-ish". I really liked the strong female protagonist and the eccentric cast of supporting characters. The bibliocentric concept was really fun (the author's love of books and Sherlock Holmes was obvious). Finally, the action came fast and furious. In fact, it was such a page-turner that I actually felt exhausted by the time I finished the last page. This was great escapist fiction. I have already put myself on hold for the next title in the series.
The combination of alternate realities and literary pursuits in this book is like Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere combined with Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series and a bit of steampunk. Cogman tries to throw too much together here, but that can probably be excused for a first foray into this universe. She gives prominence to strong female characters without using weak male characters as foils, unlike those found in most of CJ Cherryh's novels. This series shows promise. You might also like Rachel Caine's novel Ink And Bone.
I didn't love this. I agree with other readers who have commented that the author threw in everything including the kitchen sink and the pace and story suffered for it. However, if you are a lover of mysteries and have been wanting to branch out into SciFi and Fantasy, this is totally the book for you! It also has a strong female lead.
Irene is an engaging heroine/narrator and the author's concept interesting. Like much in the world of steampunk literature, however, the over-complication of everything (plot, number of characters, narrow escapes, etc.) pushes the pace past fast and into Frantic. Hope this author learns to control the pace - I'd be willing to come back and try again.
I love the premise of this story, but I didn't love the writing. Overall, I was disappointed with this book and have no plans to read the next in the series.
Too short of a loan period, that I can't even finish the first chapter. 5 more people are waiting in line. Guess that can tell how popular this book is.
I love this book! It was soo fun. It was like being in a book that had everything you loved in other books. Alternate dimensions, magic, vampires, werewolves, dragons, spies, thieves, assassins and BOOKS
LOVE! This was a delightful, wonderful, fun romp of a story that relished in all things ridiculous and bookworm-ish. Librarians are spies! From a secret world! With mysterious powers! YES!
I was really excited for this book and couldn't wait to read it, but sadly I was greatly disappointed. I didn't understand many of the things that went on and just wasn't grabbed by the writing at all. I think this book had great potential but unfortunately fell short!
I think that I would have loved this story when I was 15 and even when I was 25 but I was not intrigued by the characters. The premise was promising but i expected a contemporary setting and I just could not get into this. I put it down after 150 pages, per Nancy Pearl's suggestions.
I liked everything: Strong, clever, yet vulnerable heroine. More than one fascinating hero. Books, mysteries, magic, slithery danger....And now there's a sequel coming! This was a really smart and fun read.
This was quite an adventure. A fascinating concept of the Library where all books are preserved - and not just from one world - but from multiple realities. Irene, the lead character, is one of the Librarians, but her job is less about stacking returned books, and more about being an a sort-of-secret agent who gets to visit alternate worlds and get books for the library.
I really liked Irene. She is a very mature, supremely intelligent, witty, clever, brave. She is unlike many YA heroines, because she reads more like an adult, because she is mature in a full sense of the word. I liked how she led the story, action, and was a leader without being side-lined when the male characters of the scene-stealing variety came into play. Irene retains her authority, fires of commands like a true-general, and manages to save the day by using all of her resources.
I also like the fact that while there was an admitted sexual attraction between Irene and Kai, it never interfered with the plot nor was there suddenly romance in the air. No time for that, as Irene would say. They're all mature adults who can handle themselves around each other without obsessing what the other thinks of them every second or falling prey to lust.
Can't wait for Book #2 to arrive!!!
Fascinating debut novel combining detective, sci fi, and fantasy genres. A rollicking read!
Watch out for #2 in the series 'The Masked City' due out in Oct 2015.