Book Review: The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library Edit21416690The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Series: The Invisible Library #1

Published by Tor UK on January 15, 2015

Genres: ARC & Review Copies | Action & Adventure | Books About Books | Fantasy | Fiction | Mystery | Science Fiction | Steampunk | Young Adult

Pages: 329

Format: Paperback, Publisher

Rating: ★.5

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

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.



Critical Rating: ★.25

Entertainment Rating: ★.75

Overall Rating: ★.5

Plot: Medium to Fast Paced | Complex & Intricate | Time Travel & Alternate Universes | Definitely Plot Driven

Characters: Not Memorable | One Sided & Flat Protagonist | Somewhat Interesting Side Characters | Didn’t Care For Them Much

World Building: Historical London | Well Done & Imaginable | Difficult To Easily Understand | Some Questions Left Unanswered

Writing: 3rd Person | Relatable For Book Lovers | Fitting For The Story Line | Nothing Too Special


*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.   


The Invisible Library is a book that sounded like the absolute perfect fit for people who love the idea of a secret librarian society, filled with fae, magic, time travel and even dragons. As soon as I read the synopsis, my first thought was “hey, this is really ambitious” and it was. I mean all of those buzz words separately would get me excited but together? If it worked it would be dang UH- MAZING. But if it didn’t? Well let’s put it lightly and say that I would be slightly disappointed. Thankfully, in this case I wasn’t too let down by the execution and though there were certainly moments that I thought could have been improved, the overall result was entertaining and fairly well done.

“She was a Librarian, and the deepest, most fundamental part of her life involved a love of books.”

So what’s this awesome sounding book even about, I’m sure most of you are asking. Well before I even try to make this somewhat understandable, I’m going to make a warning right now that there is A LOT of info dump within the first couple of chapters. Basically, The Invisible Library takes place in our world but what we (as boring mundanes of course :P) don’t realize is that there is a secret Library with librarian spies who live among side us. Their job is to independently travel between alternate worlds in order to obtain special books that have specific meaning for humanity. (I’ve got you so far… Right?) And in these worlds, there are magical creatures ranging from vampires to werewolves to fae. Irene (our protagonist) is still a junior librarian with many years of training in front of her, until one day she is commanded by her senior that she has to take a newbie under her wing. The mysterious Kai comes to her with a special mission and together they travel to an alternate London. There, they are supposed to retrieve a one of a kind edition of The Grimm’s Fairy Tale and of course, chaos ensues making their task near impossible and their lives are ultimately at stake.

With every single book I have read, I find that there are two categories books in general can be sorted into. One of the categories holds the character driven stories; filled to the the brim with lots of character development, relatable qualities and unique personality quirks. These types of books make you want to keep reading because you care about the characters and what happens to them as their lives go on. The other category holds the plot driven stories with fast paced writing, mysterious secrets and interesting prose. These books make you want to keep reading because you want to see what happens next, not necessarily because you care for the characters. Neither category is “bad” per say and it all in the end comes down to personal preference. But for me, I almost always prefer character driven stories. One of my favourite things about reading is how much I can feel connected to, or even remotely understand where the characters are coming from. Unfortunately (for me at least!), if I had to choose between the two categories to shelve The Invisible Library on, I would, without a second thought put it in the latter shelf.

“It was about finding unique works of fiction and saving them in a place out of time and space.”

This book is one that you feel drawn to because of the storyline. It isn’t especially fast paced at first, but when it gets going, you are in for a whirlwind of action. Fight scenes break out, lives are on the line and you don’t know who is going to stab who in the back. It’s simply put, addictive and exciting to read. There isn’t a moment of boredom once you really get absorbed in the story and you WILL feel like you are there, an innocent bystander watching the terrifying events unravel in front of your own two eyes.

That being said, I’m going to dead honest and say I didn’t particularly care for the characters. Irene was initially likeable (just because she loved books too…) but after a while, she fell kind of flat and felt quite one dimensional. There was nothing interesting about her and while I appreciate fellow bibliophiles A LOT *wink, wink*, I don’t like ones with zero personality. Worse, the little bit of hope I had left quickly vanished when Kai came onto the scene. Despite how he was described in the synopsis, there was nothing “mysterious” about him at all. I figured out his shocking “secret” within just moments after meeting him and well, it just wasn’t very surprising or interesting. Kai was… let’s just say… Typical and rather unmemorable. And while I can detect a potential romance between Irene and him, I don’t know how much I’ll care for two people in a relationship who I don’t even like separately.

“Right now, she wanted nothing more than to shut the ret of the world out and have nothing to worry about except the next page of whatever she was reading.”

This is getting rather on the negative side so let’s change it up a bit 😀 Despite my reservations with the main characters, I am quite happy to say that all of the side characters were fully developed and enjoyable to read about. Most of their personalities stood out to me as something unique and different, and while the majority of them weren’t on the page for too long, they each left a meaningful mark in our characters’ lives. And of course, like in all fantasies, we can’t forget about the world building! Cogman did an above par job in creating an intricate world filled with magic and mischief. While some questions were left unanswered, as the first book in a trilogy, The Invisible Library set up a solid foundation without compensating too many pages with unnecessary descriptions. The historical element was a fun touch and the intricacy of an alternate London was one of my favourite aspects.

Overall, The Invisible Library was an entertaining, quirky book that competently added a new aspect to the genre of Young Adult Fantasy. Though you shouldn’t go into it with too high of expectations, if any of the magical elements sounded even remotely like your cup of tea, I would still highly recommend you to pick it up. It was a couple hours of my life well spent and I am excited to see what’s next in store for this series!


Have you read The Invisible Library or are you planning to? Did the synopsis catch your interest like it did mine? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for reading lovelies xoxo,

-Jenna <3-

Find me here!



3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Invisible Library

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