The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
The Invisible Library is exactly the kind of fantasy novel I would have loved as young teenager. The Library is a space that exists between worlds, inhabited by people who love books and have made it their mission to gather as many texts as possible from the various multi-world dimensions they are connected to. The opening chapter shows just how dangerous and unexpected this can be as the main character Irene is completing a mission where she is chased out of that world by hellhounds. Cogman plays with a great mix of magic, technology and chaos, meaning that just about anything can and will happen as Irene’s adventures unfold. As the first book in a series it sets up the story nicely for expansion into other worlds offering many different settings.
It has a strong female lead character in Irene, who is just neurotic enough to be relatable but when the time comes she pulls it together with a no nonsense, common sense attitude to get the job done. Unexpectedly burdened with a young apprentice she sets off on her next assignment with an awareness of her role as a mentor, which leads to some of the questionable decisions she makes along the way. Kai, the apprentice, makes for a good sidekick. Whilst he is handsome yet naïve, it soon becomes clear that he is hiding some secrets of his own.
The Invisible Library is a fun, adventurous story offering the reader some light-hearted escapism with a side of intrigue and humour. As a teenager I would have devoured the whole series and eagerly awaited the next instalment. I might even be tempted to read on as an adult…