An invisible library, filled with books taken from thousands of alternate worlds? Librarians, who go out to find books from these worlds? Some of these worlds infected with ‘chaos,’ and therefore have vampires, werewolves and other Fae creatures running around?
Sign me right up!
Except, that isn’t quite what I got.
Well, I did get that. I got the vampires, the Fae, the magical Library and it’s Librarians, trying to collect a certain version of Grimm’s Fairytales. But I didn’t really, care about it all.
Sure, the story line was incredibly inventive, and, quite frankly, like my ideal job, if I had the slightest bit of bravery in me. I just simply could not find myself to care about anything going on, and that was because of a few issues:
- The characters.
- Missing emotional context.
- Lack of common sense.
These three things all weave into each other, but essentially, our main character, Irene, is rather good at not seeing the obvious. Or even suspecting it. She’s too busy trying not to think about Kai, and trying to be a Good Librarian, that she doesn’t even consider several very obvious possibilities.
Without giving too much away, there’s an Evil Librarian, who is trying to kill Irene, her apprentice, Kai, and their associate, Vale. And when she gets betrayed by a fellow Librarian, she doesn’t stop to think that maybe, just maybe, the one betraying her is the one trying to kill her.
I don’t know about you, but if I was being hunted down by someone who’s gone rogue from my secret society, and then someone in my society betrayed me and left me to the mercy of werewolves, I’d think that maybe they were the same person. Or at least associated with each other.
But not Irene. She just continues to think that this is all because of her and her betrayer’s rivalry.
The same goes for when she finds out the other character’s secrets, she doesn’t pull them aside and get them to explain, or wonder why she’s been lied to. She just carries on, resolving to ask later on, and continuing to just trust her partner, who has lied to her about who he is, for the rest of the book.
Which was, frankly, infuriating. Which is the only emotion I felt through the entire book.
There are several scenes in this book that should have made me wince in pain, or at least feel something, but each one fell completely flat for me.
Irene is injured several times, and quite severely. Or she’s put in danger. Or she nearly dies. Each time, I could not have cared less. The scenes were described in such a way, that I felt nothing. Even during the fantastical scenes, such as a steam-powered centipede attacking the main characters, there was no shock or surprise.
At any point, I could have put the book down and never picked it back up again, and not cared one iota about the fate of the characters. Several times, I did put the book down on a cliff hanger and didn’t pick it back up for several days, and each time, I didn’t think once back to the characters fates.
The only reason why I finished the book was to avoid having another ‘DNF’ on my list because I hate doing that.
Essentially, I really, really did not care for this book at all. It had all the elements I love – steampunk, libraries, female protagonists who actually do something, along with vampires, and I just could not care about it. I wished I could have liked it, but I really couldn’t.
A great story idea, with brilliant plots, but poorly executed. But hey, at least the cover is pretty?