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January 9, 2017

Review: The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman #MondayBlogs

by MK French

January 2017; Roc; 9781101988688; ebook &
print (336 pages); science fiction
a free copy was provided for this review

Irene is a Librarian, a member of an organization that moves between parallel worlds to obtain rare and unique books to be kept within the safety of the Library. The Librarians are all well versed in the Language, a means of commanding others or subtly changing the world around them to achieve their goals. Irene and her apprentice Kai have gotten into trouble before, and as a result, she is on probationary status. There's trouble brewing in the Library, however, and it's a danger that can threaten not only countless worlds but the Library itself. Irene has to do her best to contain the damage, but there's uncertainty at every step.

As a fan of the TV show "The Librarians" and the made for TV movies that they were spawned from, I was excited to see the summary of The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman. I hadn't read the prior novels in this series but had no trouble getting the idea of the Library and the powers that the Librarians had. Irene refers to events from the prior novels (so I'll be spoiled for them when I go back to read them!) but there's enough of an idea about what happened that I could still continue with the current story. It's a fascinating mix of recognizable characters and subtle changes to show the differences between worlds. Vale lives at 221B Baker Street, for example, and is a detective that needs to solve complicated puzzles of cases. The magic of the Librarians, dragons, and fae described in the book is fascinating. There's so much action, and moving through the underbelly of London and the different worlds also reminded me of Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere," another favorite of mine. It's a wonderfully detailed book but isn't bogged down by those details, either. If anything, that makes it feel immersive, as if this is a movie unfolding. Irene is a plucky and likable character, and I really liked Kai. A number of other characters aren't described as well, though it could be because more time had been spent with them in the prior books. There's such a sense of history in Irene's interactions with the other characters, but not knowing that history in detail doesn't ruin the flow of the story. Instead, it adds to the air of mystery and the almost claustrophobic sense that permeates the book as Irene is trying to figure out who is trying to kill her and help destroy the Library. I heartily recommend this book, especially to bibliophiles.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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  1. I liked the first book and still need to get to the second, but this does look like a great third installment. And where I initially thought this was a trilogy, now I understand there may be 5 books? Yay! Glad you enjoyed this one.