Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.
This was our book club read for October and I think I have to accept that fantasy and magical books are just not my type of read. I persevered with it as it was for book club and I wanted to be able to contribute to the group discussion because if it hadn’t have been I would have abandoned.
This is the first in the Library series and I appreciate a lot of this book was groundwork and setting up for the next in the series but I struggled to remember what I’d read and had difficulty getting to grips with the magical language and events. I don’t think it’s a particularly difficult read, I think it’s because I lacked interest in the magical elements. Unfortunately because of these reasons I lacked the enthusiasm to pick the book up so it took me longer than usual to read.
That said, the parts that were investigative were good. I enjoyed the scenes where Irene was thrashing out her thoughts and the other characters were either shooting her down or backing up her theories and there were a few good action scenes which helped speed things along.
I quite liked the Victorian setting that Irene and Kai were thrust into; albeit a very different kind of Victorian era you would normally expect. There was a mention of traffic lights and it made me think had I got the era right so I went away and Googled Victorian traffic lights to see what was in existence at that time (that was quite interesting actually).
I figured out one of the twists quite early on so was waiting for the characters to catch up but all is revealed at a steady pace to keep you reading and hold your interest.
Also, the blurb of this book leads you to believe Irene is a spy…well if traveling between alternate realities stealing books is a spy’s job description so be it, but pretty it up as you like and for whatever reasons; she steals that book!