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Libyrinth [Paperback]

Pearl North
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 7.66
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Book Description

5 Sep 2010 Libyrinth (Book 1)
Haly is a Libyrarian, one of a group of people dedicated to preserving and protecting the knowledge passed down from the Ancients and stored in the endless maze of books known as the Libyrinth. But Haly has a secret: the books speak to her. When an attack by the hostile Eradicants drives her from her home, Haly learns that things are not at all what she thinks they are. Taken prisoner by the Eradicants, who believe the written word to be evil, she sees the world through their eyes and comes to understand that they are not the book-burning monsters that she has known her entire life. The words of a young girl hiding in an Amsterdam attic and written hundreds of years before Haly s birth will spark the interest of her captors and begin the change necessary to end the conflict between the Eradicants and Libyrarians. With the help of her loyal companion Nod, a creature of the Libyrinth, Haly must mend the rift between the two groups before their war for knowledge destroys them all. In doing so, Haly s life and the lives of everyone she knows will never be the same.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (5 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765326876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326874
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.8 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,085,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Among this novel s pleasures are the many anonymous quotations scattered throughout, snatches of prose that Haly hears as she goes about her chores, from such sources as Anne Frank s The Diary of a Young Girl, Charlotte s Web, and Fahrenheit 451, all of which are carefully identified at the end. The complex moral issues posed by this thoughtful and exciting tale are just as fascinating. Publishers Weekly. --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

PEARL NORTH has written fantasy and science fiction for adults under a different name. "Libyrinth "is her first young adult novel. She lives outside of Detroit, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Books deserve better than this 13 July 2011
Haly is a Libyrarian, dedicated to the preservation of the future world's dwindling stock of books which is constantly under threat by the Eradicants, a sect who believe that words should be free (cue, horror of horror, book burnings, oh noes!). She also has a secret: the books talk to her. I'm glad my books don't talk to me, they would say things like "Dust me, please," and "Can you stop that damn cat eating our corners?" Anyway: decent concept, dull execution; the title ('Libyrinth' - 'cos it's a maze, geddit?) is probably the best thing about it. The books Haly hears are a strangely random bunch, too, ranging from the only-too-predictable (no dystopian future would be complete without comparisons with 'Diary of a Young Girl') to the plain old 'whuh? ('Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual').
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get lost in the Libyrinth 23 July 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Pearl North is the pseudonym of another author, but this is apparently her first young adult novel. Thought I'd make that distinction since on Amazon it claims its from a debut author, technically true, but not really.

For a book nut like myself Libyrinth was a really fun read--the book has dozens of quotes from all sorts of famous literary works (The Diary of Anne Frank, Tale of Two Cities, Life of Pi) and technical manuals (Glenn's Complete Bicycle Manual). For the most part the quotes correspond almost perfectly with the current situation in fact, making me look at the quotes I could recognize easily with a different perspective. More than that though, North gives each book a distinct personality. Theselaides for instance is a bully and Anne Frank has a softer, gentler voice. Some are loud, some are high pitched, and some have a dark feeling to them.

I suppose its every book-lover's dream to live in a cavernous dwelling with so many books and shelves that one could literally become lost forever. The Libyrinth as a place sounded so perfectly suited to me that like Haly I found myself utterly hating the Eradicants (Singers) on principle alone. I can't begin to fathom a mentality that believes to liberate a book you have to burn it, but on the other hand I can't believe that as a people they wouldn't want to share their knowledge.

Haly was undoubtably my favorite character, but I grew to find Nod a really funny character. A revealation closer to the end made me want to go 'ew ew ew', but it made sense within the characterization of Nod and his attitude. I found myself tense and irritated by her friend Clauda, who seemed to be more interested in bungling around then forming a plan for much of the book. Impulsive is probably how best to describe Clauda until a major setback forces her to think long and hard. Selene by comparison ran hot and cold with me, depending on how she was acting in a situation. She was kind of contradictory--on the one hand not wishing to be Queen and on the other disliking her mother for not spending more time with her and extreme in her judgements.

The book begins with Haly, Clauda and Selene together before they venture out and then branches off to follow either Haly's adventures with the Eridicants or a combination of Selene and Clauda's adventures in Selene's homeland. The stories then separate farther as Clauda and Selene separate, but finally converge at the climax. The big Redemption the Eradicants believe in.

Its hard to put down, I won't lie. I read it during my Otakon trip and repeatedly found myself wanting to carry it with me even though it wasn't feasible with my plans. I wanted to snatch moments whenever I could to find out what mysteries Clauda uncovers or debates of religion Haly engages in. The end is satisfying and appropriate--in the beginning I wouldn't have thought it possible, but after everything Haly learns and experiences (as well as everyone else) I felt it was the only viable option left to save their civilization.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Done YA Debut! 25 July 2009
By S. S. White - Published on
The premise: Haly is a clerk in the Libyrinth, a library so big and so vast that people get lost and are never heard from again. Haly's got a particular talent in that she can hear the voices of books, literally. When she's close, the book in question tells its story to her and only her. This makes her role to protect the books even more personal when the Eradicants make their yearly pilgrimage to the Libyrinth to burn volumes of books. When Haly learns of a plot that will allow the Eradicants to burn every volume left in the Libyrinth, she'll do anything to stop it. But what happens next opens Haly's eyes to a world she's never known or understood, despite growing up with the voices of books guiding her her entire life. Not only does she learn who the Eradicants really are and what they really believe in, but she learns what her true purpose in life is. That purpose could unite the world if she plays her cards right, or destroy it if she lets others make her decisions for her.

My Rating: Must Have: what starts out as a deceptively and almost irritatingly simple book about the dangers of censorship blossoms into something much more complex and engaging once you hit the POV switch. The pace is fast through-out, but I found myself more invested as Pearl North allowed her characters to learn more about the world and the cultures that populated it, and how all of those cultures influenced the Libyrinth itself. Truly North does a fantastic job crafting not one, but two likable and relatable heroines in Haly and Clauda, both of whom have a more important story than merely falling in love with a boy (though one of them does, indeed, fall in love with a boy, that's not the POINT of her particular story). North also does a marvelous job creating not one, not two, but three separate and distinct cultures that have their own values and faiths that come across as believable and real and not one dimensional (though one of the cultures seems one dimensional from the start--bear with the book, you'll be glad you did). But one of the best things Pearl North does with this book is incorporate passages of books into the text, to the point said passages become a kind of commentary on what's happening or what's about to happen. Particularly impressive is North's use of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, and how it plays into the climax of the story, which is also very well done. I'll be more than happy to pick up the second book in this trilogy, though this book is tied up so well that I'm left wondering just what exactly a second book would be about! Whatever it is, I look forward to it. North has impressed me with her YA debut, and I think she'll impress you as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, layered story 16 Feb 2010
By Louise Marley - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book in so many ways. First of all, the characters of Haly and Selene and Clauda live and breathe on the page, and their adventures are breathlessly exciting. Second, North has managed to make the issue of literacy and knowledge a real-world challenge, with real advantages, and she has explored its opposite--blind faith--in a way that is both fascinating and illuminating. There are few black-and-white characters here, or causes; the novel compels with its dramatization of cultural misunderstandings and misconceptions, but it never, never preaches.

And the book quotes! It was a brilliant choice to list them in the back of the novel, but avid readers will have a blast picking out the ones that aren't attributed in the text. This is a book for lovers of books. I hope every young adult librarian will stock their library with plenty of copies.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read 30 Oct 2009
By A. Hall - Published on
The plot definitely kept me turning the pages, and I think this book would make a good movie. But what I liked most about this book was the detailed new world her characters live in, with its mythologies and different histories. I'd recommend this book to anyone.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars n engrossing, riveting story 19 Sep 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
In the future world of LIBYRINTH technology hides behind magic and wars are fought over books. Haly is a Librarian - dedicated to preserving the knowledge passed down from the Ancients. When she's taken prisoner Haly must use her secret abilities to communicate with the written word to not only escape but to heal two warring peoples. An engrossing, riveting story evolves, highly recommended for any young adult collection.
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