When I read the synopsis of Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library, it reminded me very much of the TNT series of movies about The Librarian (and the spinoff series The Librarians, which I’m watching as I write this). And as much as I love Noah Wyle, Rebecca Romijn, and the ragtag bunch of junior librarians traipsing around the globe picking up mythological and magical artifacts for preservation in their Library, I was really hoping that Cogman had not skirted too close to this already existing imaginary world.
I wasn’t disappointed. Although Cogman’s Library is also a central building holding unique items, the focus of The Invisible Library is actual books. This Library connects alternate realities by way of the libraries within them, and sometimes those alternates hold books, or variations of books, that exist only in one place. And the Librarian we have the pleasure of following on her missions is Irene, a mid-level member of the staff, who happens to be somewhat unique herself.
Both of Irene’s parents were also Librarians, so she is perhaps the most qualified of all, and yet she is a young woman who understands her place in the hierarchy and occasionally doubts her abilities in relation to others. She is surrounded by mysterious, mischievous and magical characters, some who outsmart her and others whom she charms. Cogman has created a smart, fun world, at times grim and gruesome, that I hope to visit again soon.