The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman.
Library and heroine Librarian? Check. Steampunk and Fae-influenced world? Check. Rip-roaring and action-packed adventure? Check. Excellent read? Check!
So: I rather liked this book! I admit I’m biased from the start – as a Librarian I’m partial to any books involving Librarians and Libraries! It’s also steampunk, which when done well is a wonderful genre. And overall, this is an excellent adventure; it’s got a nasty villain and a few nice twists, a fun and believable heroine, even in the weird setting, some nice supporting characters and a lot of fun ideas.
The original set-up is a little complex; it took me a few chapters to get my head into the world and the setting, and then it changed to a different world…*steadies head on shoulders* but the second setting was nicely explained, so that worked. I would have appreciated a bit more explanation of the Library’s workings; I didn’t realise what Cornelia looked like until she came back at the end, and that made me wonder what else I had missed at the start (at least, I’m assuming it got described at the start. If not, that was a bit jarring) and I wasn’t entirely sure of the other Librarians and the higher workings. But that was a minor point for most of the plot!
The plot itself was a lot of fun; I followed most of the twists, and having the one baddy was useful – I think if it had been any more complex, the book would have been too difficult to follow (with the unusual setting and all). But the events kept the plot rolling along; there was just enough explanation to keep me involved and not enough to overwhelm! Irene is understandable, fun and complex; I liked that she just got on and did stuff, and didn’t get relegated to a secondary role by any of her helpers. There was a satisfactory ending with most things rounded up, and those that weren’t sound like they’re going to be followed up in the next one.
I spotted on Amazon that some people didn’t like the book…I’m really not sure why. If you’re not a fan of rip-roaring adventures, female heroines or steampunk then don’t read it, but if you like any of those things then you’ll love it! The second one is The Masked City and it’s definitely gone on my TBR pile.