Reviewed by Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating: 4 Stars!
There is a secret library that exists outside of time and space and its purpose is to house important works of fiction from all of the alternate realities. It's the job of the immortal librarian Irene and her assistant Kai to collect these books, even if it means stealing them. Along the way, they encounter all sorts of fantastical beings and battle fierce opponents. If they don't succeed, reality is at stake.
Cogman does a wonderful job sketching out the alternative worlds for her readers without burdening them with insignificant details . She also introduces fantastical creatures (fairies, witches, dragons) and Steampunk elements (zeppelins) without becoming so far-fetched that it is beyond ridiculous. Irene is the librarian I have always wanted to be; going on adventures I would love to have. What results is true escapism for the the reader.
This is hardly an original work of important fiction. It echoes a lot of elements in shows like: Doctor Who, The Librarians, and Warehouse 13. Her voice reminds me a lot of Piers Anthony or Terry Pratchett. It is a fun ride through alternative realities and easily transports the reader away from the stress of everyday life into the adventures of an immortal librarian on a quest!