The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

the-invisible-library-by-genevieve-cogmanThe Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Series: The Invisible Library #1
Genre: Fantasy
Setting: Inside the Library and in alternate worlds
Published by Roc
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: June 14)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
352 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

Initial impressions

  • So many things caught my attention about this book–the Library aspect, the adventure of finding books and bringing them back to the Library. I enjoyed the book–with a few caveats!

The story

  • Book begins with Irene in an alternate world stealing a book for the shadowy Library. She gets away and back to the Library, but not before she is chased to the portal to the Library.
  • She reports in and immediately receives a new assignment. And she is assigned a student to mentor. She had hoped for some down time in the Library, but she heads off into the Library to meet Kai, the student she must take with her and mentor.
  • When she meets Kai he is rather mysterious. Their assignment is to an alternate London which is chaos-infested. Irene is puzzled that she is being sent there with a student.
  • In a chaos world reality is changed enough to allow supernatural beings and magic. This makes the world unpredictable and dangerous.
  • On their way to the portal for the alternate world they are intercepted by another spy who wants Irene to hand over her assignment. Irene has a history with this spy and doesn’t trust her.
  • Irene and Kai enter the alternate London, meet their colleague stationed in this world who briefs them about the world and start trying to retrieve the book.
  • They immediately run into problems which escalate–mostly because of the chaos in this world.
  • Irene tries to figure out exactly what Kai is hiding as well as trying to unravel the mystery of where the stolen book is. Can she trust Kai?
  • She receives an urgent message that a dangerous renegade Librarian is present in this alternate London.
  • Irene and Kai must unravel the mysteries, decide who to trust and survive to get the book back to the Library.


  • The chaos world Irene and Kai are sent to is interesting. I think there is lots more to learn about it in future books.
  • The ability to move through many worlds is very exciting to read about.
  • Reading about a huge invisible library is very awesome!
  • I enjoyed learning more about Irene and Kai during the book. Each of them have vulnerabilities, but lots of strength of character, too.
  • Lots of chaotic things happen during the book both because of the world they are in, the characters they meet in that world and the renegade from the Library who infiltrates the world.
  • There’s a steampunk vibe to the world Kai and Irene are in which I enjoy.
  • There’s mystery to the story and even a detective from the world they’re in whom they join forces with.
  • Kai is still mysterious by the end of the book and I look forward to getting to know more about him.
  • I want to learn more about the Library. I have a feeling the motives of the Library and some of the people working there may not be as pure as Irene thinks.


  • This read more like a young adult book, but it doesn’t seem like it should be YA since Irene has lived quite a while already. Irene doesn’t seem as self-confident and experienced as I would expect and Kai acts like a teenager. I’m not sure the romance vibe between them works.
  • I feel like this first book throws lots of concepts and setup of the worlds at the reader which we will understand better as we read more books. This made things kind of confusing, but after a bit I just went with the flow!

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  The next book in this series–The Masked City–comes out in the United States in September!
  • I want to find out what happens next!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England.

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