Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Mortal Word

Title:  The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library Novel)
Author:  Genevieve Cogman
Publication Information:  Ace. 2018. 448 pages.
ISBN:  0399587446 / 978-0399587443

Book Source:  I received this book through the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "My lord father, Please forgive the haste and informality of this letter:  you know my respect for you and my obedience to your will."

Favorite Quote:  "I want the truth ... I may need a cover-up. The two are different things."

The first book in this series, The Invisible Library, had me at the title. I love books about books. The idea of action, adventure, and mystery surrounding a Library pulled me right in. A Library that exists hidden in the midst of a myriad of parallel alternate worlds, and a Librarian's ability to traverse these different worlds added greater potential. A Library that provided infinite, immortal access to the knowledge of the world is a book lover's dream. A Library that acts as protection and haven to those who bind themselves to it reinforces the symbolism a library holds. The main character Irene is, of course, a Librarian. The premise of the series is awesome.

The Mortal Word is the fifth book in the series. While having read the prior books is not absolutely essential, it is definitely important in this series because the characters, the relationships, and even parts of the story line are a continuation from previous book. Having only read the first book, I felt able to establish enough connections to move forward with this book.

The first book was an action packed adventure with much of the look and feel of a children's or young adult fantasy series. This book, however, is definitely in the adult world as relationships have progressed into the adult world. The romance hinted at the in the first is now apparent; a relationship deemed inadvisable by many exists.

The mystery of this book is a political murder that threatens to tear a fragile peace and lead to war. On one side are the dragons, and on the other are the fae. The characters and multiple parallel worlds are pure fantasy. The setting is 1800s Paris. The emotions and the conflicts are all too human.

As with the first book, this story has a lot going on. Paris. London. The Librarians. Irene, Kai, and Vale. Dragons. Fae. A lot of characters and a lot of plot lines underlying the main mystery. This book also introduces political overtones as another layer of story.

As with the first one, the one thing I wish this book had more of is the Library itself. I find the idea of an invisible library and the power of language intriguing. However, the book takes place primarily outside of the Library and does not explain the use of Language or the workings of the Library. I want to know more; I want to explore the Library. Yet, after two books, it appears that the Library serves as the anchor for this series which are more episodic in nature. So, Irene is of the Library, but the story is not.

Like the first book, this one is a fun, light read. It stops short of being a compelling one and does not propel me to pick up others in the series. Am I likely to be drawn in once again by the idea of an all encompassing Library that transcends time and place? Probably. Am I likely to follow through on that pull? Maybe, maybe not.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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