Top positive review
Another compelling fantasy adventure
24 September 2018
This is the second novel in the Invisible Library series - and it's best to read them in order so if you've not read the first yet, start there. This picks up several months after the first finished. Our heroine, Irene, is an operative for an inter-dimensional library, complete with magical type powers and plenty of street smarts. Her job is to steal rare books - rare as in unique across the numerous alternative worlds. She is assisted by her handsome apprentice, Kai, who just happens to be a dragon in human form.
The action kicks off straight away with Kai being kidnapped in the prologue. Distraught, Irene abandons her post in order to chase across several worlds in a dangerous rescue attempt. There's plenty of excitement throughout, and the chance to find out a bit more about the conflicting forces of Irene's universe - the dragons and the Fae. I can see Cogman's logic in wanting a storyline in which Irene rescues Kai, given that much of the first book involved the reverse. Kai is also an extremely likeable - even loveable - character and the reader's concern about his fate will keep them reading into the night (at least I did).
The downside of this set up is that Irene and Kai are separated for most of the book, depriving us of the interaction between the two that was such a strong feature of the first novel. The two bounce off each other well, with dialogue that is funny and entertaining, all spiced up with a strong undercurrent of unresolved sexual tension. A couple of other characters return - Vale the detective, Irene's supervisor Cordellia, and the Fae ambassador Silver. The main antagonist from the first book is missing, as is the character of Bradamant which I thought was a bit of a shame. But with a long series planned Cogman has plenty of opportunities to bring people back in later instalments.
Overall, this is another great piece of fantasy adventure fiction. On one level it's daft and full of clichés, but it's well written, exciting and I'm totally hooked. It's pure escapism and great fun. It's also refreshingly funny and doesn't take itself too seriously - although it has some surprisingly emotional moments as well. If you enjoy this genre of book, you will be sure to love this series.