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The Secret Chapter

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Member Reviews

The Secret Chapter is another winner in the continuation of the Secret Library Series by Genvieve Cogman. I love this series and recommend it to everyone. Our heroine is a feisty, intelligent, capable librarian (a librarian!) and is part of a secret society of librarians who are part spy, part diplomat. This book focuses on the dragons and her lover and partner Kai and his side of the chaos/order continuum represented by the dragons vs the fae. 

I wrote a blog post about the growing subgenre of librarypunk and this series is a part of it. I'm enjoying reading every one. This books gets four stars out of five because I thought it dragged a bit in parts and because I got a little tired of dragon politics, but all in all, a terrific library caper.
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Librarian-spy Irene and dragon-prince Kai are off again. This time they are working on a trade that goes very wrong. There is tension and danger making it a fun read. I did feel that the plot was a little thin and the conclusion left a lot up in the air. Still a nice addition to the series.
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The Invisible Library series is one of my favorites, and I was eager to dive into the latest book as soon as I could. Genevieve Cogman has crafted an intricate multi-dimensional world filled with supernatural beings, including fae and dragons, and, of course, our favorite magical Librarians. As the Library's representative lead for the treaty between the fae and dragons, Irene, knows how tenuous the situation is during its early days. When word comes that the world she spent much of her school years is in danger, she will do just about anything it takes to save it. Joined by her ever faithful companion, Kai, Irene finds herself in a very precarious position. In order to save the world she grew up in, she must steal a painting for the nefarious fae, Mr. Nemo. He's put together an unlikely team of fae and dragons, plus Irene, to carry out the heist. They all must walk a fine line of not breaching the treaty and yet stealing their prize. Not knowing their team members, Kai and Irene are not sure who to trust, and soon it becomes apparent that the theft faces quite a few obstacles. Not to mention the political aspects that come in to play to avoid breaching the treaty.

As with every book in the series, The Secret Chapter is full of nonstop action and colorful and unique characters. Irene is as clever and resourceful as ever. And I just adore Kai. With each book I feel like we get to know more about each of the main characters' backgrounds--and that of the world they live in. I am fascinated by the origins of the dragons. And I definitely want to know more about Irene's hidden past. Each book gets better and better, and I cannot wait to see where Cogman will take me next.
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The Invisible Library Series continues. Although, you wont find a lot of romance in Cogman's books, there is plenty of magic, creature and political aspects. I would recommend reading previous books in this series as this is a continuity.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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Fantastic addition to this series! I'm always so happy to read another one of Kai's and Irene's adventure and this book of course was no exception! I loved all the drama and intrigue and can't wait to read the next book!
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review!
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Irene and Kai must walk a fine line being involved in a heist and maintaining their diplomatic relationship with the Fae and the Dragons. We get to see more of Irene's parents and explore their relationship. Continue to enjoy the mystery and intrigue Cogman creates in this fantasy world.
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The newest book in the Invisible Library takes a slight turn from the past couple books and their ongoing storyline. We are in a new world with lots of new characters, a move that makes the book feel a little less repetitive, which is always welcome. Overall, the main character, Irene continues to annoy me based on her personality - I find her overly cocky, demanding, and frequently meaner than seems needed. However, the easy to consume storyline, low key romance, and writing keep me coming back. In this story, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet some new fairy archetype characters that are a contrast to other fairies we have met. Although I was missing Gale’s presence and enjoyed his brief cameos in the story. 

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a new lighthearted read.
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Another lovely installment of The Invisible Library series. This one involves heists, art history, James Bond parodies, and Irene being awesome. Oh, and we finally get to meet her parents.
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3.5 stars

"The Secret Chapter" was an exciting, twisty read, full of politics, action and adventure, some family drama, and a challenging heist.

Irene has fond memories of the world where she grew up so when it's threatened, she is determined to save it. She'll do anything, even make deals with a mastermind thief, Mr. Nemo, who reminded me strongly of a Bond villain, and work with strangers she doesn't trust. The team Nemo puts together takes time to gel, and there are some misunderstandings along the way. And of course, what's a heist story without complications, betrayals, and personal drama? Both Irene and Kai got to show off their diplomatic abilities in this story, Kai especially. Although his arrogance still trips him up occasionally. Kai has grown the most over the series and I've enjoyed seeing him come into his own. In this story, we get to know both of them a bit better and learn more about their families and familial relationships. 

Cogman’s writing immediately pulled me in and kept me engaged. As always, she balanced witty banter, sarcasm, political and philosophical observations, along with some mystery and suspense, and lots of adventure. Irene was once again our guide into the worlds of chaos, order, book preservation, and cosmic balance. We see the story through her perspective, learning info as she does. Though she was much better than I was at putting information into a cohesive whole and figuring things out. :D

Cogman's world building continues to amaze me. The politics, the magic systems, the personal relationships, are rich, complex, and multi-layered. It's both cohesive and messy, just life real life. While certain parts of the world are clearly inspired by the real world, Cogman has expanded and developed them, giving them their own life beyond their inspirations.

"The Secret Chapter" was fast paced, twisty, and full of revelations. I can't wait to see where Cogman goes next with the revelations from this book. I do hope we'll see more of Vale in the next book.
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This book was fantastic!  I remember reading the first book in this series, The Invisible Library, right around its publication date and knew that this was going to be a very special series.  I have looked forward to each installment and have yet to be disappointed.  One of the things that I love about the series is that the possibilities are endless.  This book was my favorite in the series to date.

You would think that Irene and Kai would get a bit of a break after all of their work to secure a very important treaty but the fun never seems to stop for this pair.  After a quick assassination attempt, they must face Irene's parents which proved to be an eye-opening situation.  Before long, Irene is summoned to the Library and given the task to secure a very special book.  Irene and Kai dealings with Mr. Nemo prove to be more difficult than expected and they find themselves being put on a team to pull off a very big heist. 

This was a very exciting book.  The action started in the few pages and really never let up.  Just getting to Mr. Nemo was an adventure but the fun really got started once they made it to his island.  It was really interesting to see Irene and Kai work within a group.   Irene has a take-charge attitude which doesn't always work with the group.  The task that they have seems almost impossible and they have to do it with a group that they don't completely trust.  I had no idea how they were going to make it work and I love that the story kept me guessing.

The characters in this book were very well done.  I have grown to love Irene and Kai over the course of this series and I liked them even a little more by the end of this book.  I was a little sad that Detective Vale only made a quick appearance but there were so many new and interesting characters introduced in this book that I didn't miss him as much as I would have thought.  The crew that Irene and Kai must work with were all really unique individuals.  I wasn't sure who could really be trusted but there were a couple of individuals that really proved themselves in the end. 

I would highly recommend this book to others.  This is the sixth book in The Invisible Library series which is a series that really should be read in order.  I loved the excitement of this story and thought that the task was incredibly unique.  Once I started reading this book I did not want to put it down.  I cannot wait to read more of this wonderful series!

I received a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group.
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The truce between the dragons and the Fae changes how Librarians can operate. As co-signatory to the peace accords, the Library must remain a neutral party, which includes no stealing books (euphemistically called retrievals) even for the purpose of maintaining the balance of order and chaos. Unfortunately, a world is now in danger of descending into chaos, a world for which Librarian Irene Winters cares deeply. Because of the treaty, she is tasked with negotiating with the Fae holding the book necessary to restore balance to Gamma-017, but Mr. Nemo has some tricks up his sleeves as well. Can Irene and Kai accomplish the task Mr. Nemo demands in exchange for the book, particularly considering the motley crew he insists they work with?

THE SECRET CHAPTER is the sixth book in the Invisible Library series and is best appreciated in the context of the series as a whole. Genevieve Cogman’s world building has reached a crucial stage with the newly ratified treaty, and it helps for a reader to have some prior understanding of the dynamics between Librarians, the Fae, and the dragons. THE SECRET CHAPTER adds some new wrinkles and the importance of this new knowledge will only make sense if one already has at least a general understanding from prior books in the series.

Irene is one heck of a heroine! She’s smart, clever, loyal, and above all she wants to do the right thing. THE SECRET CHAPTER puts her to the test in many different ways and I love that Irene always remains true to who she is, even when it’s at risk to her own life or emotions. And oh, I love that we get to meet her parents and dig a little deeper into their relationship!

Genevieve Cogman has done it again! THE SECRET CHAPTER is yet another phenomenal chapter in the Invisible Library series and one that opens up a myriad of future possibilities. The Invisible Library series is a clever series, full of intriguing and thoughtful twists and turns interspersed with some fantastic action and character development. If you love fantasy, dragons, or just a darned good story where the Librarian is the heroine and books have power, then THE SECRET CHAPTER and the Invisible Library series are must reads! 

*review is in the editing queue at Fresh Fiction*  Also, book will be featured in an upcoming fantasy/urban fantasy article at Fresh Fiction
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Genevieve Cogman enters another chapter in the Invisible Library, The Secret Chapter  has the Librarian Irene who is part of a dragon, fae, librarian group to oversee a truce treaty between the three parties, engaged to regain a special edition of a book which will help stabilize the world where Irene grew up.  Mr. Nemo who holds the book engages a team to grab a painting from a low magic world : Irene the Librarian joins the team with the book as the proposed reward.  When the enter the world with the painting everything goes to hell in a handbasket. Relax and watch paranormal doublecrosses.  Will Kai, the dragon prince and Irene survive this adventure?
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Librarian Irene is summoned to the Library and tasked with negotiating with a Fae for a very specific book needed to stabilize a world Irene has fond memories of. Accompanied by the dragon prince Kai, in human form, the two travel to the Caribbean and find themselves part of an unlikely team comprised of Fae, dragons, and a Librarian charged with stealing a painting from a museum in Vienna on yet another world. Promised anything as a reward, the group sets off to a world where supernatural beings are actively hunted and a trio of dragons hold power. As they puzzle out how to steal the painting, the bigger question becomes whether or not to trust each other.

This is part of the Invisible Library series, something I was not aware of when I requested it from NetGalley. I thought the idea of a librarian teaming up with a dragon and Fae sounded interesting, and was pleasantly surprised to realize I hadn't necessarily needed to read the previous books, though I also sensed it would have helped make more of the book make better sense. Still, this was an interesting novel, though I do feel like I was missing some pieces of information to paint a richer picture.

The Characters: Interesting Characters, But I'm Missing Something

I liked the characters, but I wouldn't say I loved any of them. As a matter of fact, I easily confused most of the Fae all the way through the book. I did enjoy how sharply different the Fae and dragons were from each other, though. It was interesting to read how this motley group managed to work together.

It's a little difficult to comment on the characters when I know this book is the most recent in the series and I haven't had the pleasure of getting to know them over several stories. I'm a little confused about the relationship between Irene and Kai, but I liked how close they seemed, being able to maintain a friendship and still be able to work together professionally. Still, I felt I was missing out on a few things, so I'll keep it to I enjoyed the characters, I thought they were interesting, the relationships were amusing to read about, but I was unable to know them well.

The World Building: Fascinating Interconnecting Worlds

I was most impressed by the world building. Even though this was just my first introduction to the series and I haven't read the books that come before, I was very interested in how the worlds were developed and how they functioned. The idea of multiple parallel worlds whose histories and designs differed by a shade from another was quite interesting, and I would be willing to read the other books just to explore more worlds.

The world in this book involved supernatural beings being hunted by a sort of police force. Of course, the world also contained a few secrets and twisty relationships, and those were fun. It was lovely to see how the world unfolded. I most particularly loved that this was a world that was new not just to me, but to the characters. It was one thing we could all explore.

My favorite part was that the city of Vienna was grounded in the real city, making it easier to jump right into it. Though it differs, greatly, it was still nice to have a springboard to make the transition into another world easier. I especially liked that it was something familiar and it was easy to see how this world could have developed considering I haven't had the benefit of reading the prior novels, so have little idea of how these worlds function and how they developed.

The Plot: Fascinatingly Criminal, But Way Too Convenient

The thing that most frustrated me with this book was the story. I thought it was interesting in that librarians are little more than thieves and spies, so Irene's shady dealings and deeds made sense. I liked the idea of having to steal something that added to the greater fabric of the series in order to obtain a book. It was fascinatingly criminal, and I really liked the spin on librarians and libraries.

At the same time, I was annoyed at the way the story moved forward. As interesting as I found the plot, which was why I requested it in the first place, I felt everything was a little too convenient and other parts were seemingly thrown in.  It was irritating when Irene and Kai would get into trouble so easily, only to be able to use magical powers to magically spring free. It was too easy, and made the trouble parts feel like their sole purpose was to either pad the story or serve as tension. By the end of the book, I had caught on to the pattern, so felt very little to no tension when I should have. It was too easy to roll my eyes and just tell myself one or both would use their powers to get out.

I think it's safe to say I like the idea behind the story. I did not enjoy the execution.

Overall: A Mixed Bag

This book felt like a mixed bag to me. There were things I liked and things I clearly did not enjoy. I loved the idea of there being humans, Fae, and dragons and having them intermingle both on friendly and antagonistic terms. I enjoyed the worlds and the idea between them. I did not enjoy the execution. Overall, though, it was a fun, readable book for someone who hasn't read the prior books.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group - Ace, for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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This series is pretty much frying pans and fires all the way down, but this entry has an added fillip of archetypal James Bond movie villains to put a bit of extra zing into this increasingly wild ride of a story.

And there are dragons. There are definitely dragons. In this particular entry in the series, there are dragons on all sides. Irene is, of course, accompanied by her own personal dragon, her apprentice-turned-lover Kai.

While dragons in this universe are creatures of order, and Kai is an actual prince among his kind, the side that Kai is generally on – as well as nearly always at – is Irene’s.

But he’s not the only dragon in this one. And not all of them are exactly on the side of the angels. Or even all on the same side. In fact, it could be said that one of the dragons is more than a bit chaotic – at least insofar as anarchy generally equates to chaos – even if the dragon in question doesn’t see it that way.

The Secret Chapter is both a caper story and a followup to the previous entry in the series, The Mortal Word, without being directly dependent on its predecessor. Well, Irene’s and Kai’s actions are influenced by those previous events, but the caper they find themselves in the middle of doesn’t directly relate to the treaty between Dragons and Fae squabbled over during that story and finally signed at the end.

Instead, this one at first hearkens back to earlier books in the series – and earlier escapades in Irene’s past. Irene is sent to the lair of an archetypal fae collector and information broker – cue the James Bond music – to negotiate the acquisition of a book from Mr. Nemo’s collection that will stabilize the world where Irene went to school.

And that’s where the caper comes in. Mr. Nemo collects lots of interesting things – and people. As a powerful fae, it’s both who he is and what he does. He gets and keeps his power from embodying that archetype.

In return for the book that Irene and the Library desperately want, Mr. Nemo requires that they, along with a motley crew that he has previously assembled, steal a particular painting from a specified world and bring it back to his lair.

The caper, the theft, and the way it works – and doesn’t – may remind readers a bit of the TV series Leverage. It’s the old story of taking a thief to catch a thief, but with multiple twists – not always expected.

This is one of those stories where things are far from what they seem. The thug isn’t a thug, the prisoner isn’t a prisoner, the painting isn’t just a painting. It’s also the “secret chapter” of the book’s title. It’s a secret chapter in the history of the dragons – a secret that no dragon should ever want to let out.

But then there’s that anarchist…

Escape Rating A-: If the pattern for the previous book in this series was that of a murder mystery, the pattern for The Secret Chapter is the caper movie crossed with James Bond-type villainy. It’s the motley crew carrying off the heist for the best of all possible reasons, like Leverage. With a villain like Blofeld or Goldfinger pulling the strings behind the scenes. (I’m pretty sure I remember a Bond movie or two that included that scene with the sharks…)

But underneath that set up, there are more interesting games afoot. Or a-wing in the case of the dragon members of the barely together party.

There is more than one “secret chapter” in this story. Come to think of it, both Irene and Kai are dealing with secret chapters of their lives and histories that have all the impact of a bomb in this entry in the series.

(Take that as a hint, don’t start the series here. Begin your journey at The Invisible Library and be prepared to get lost in the stacks.)

The secrets that Irene exposes – or feels exposed by – are all personal. She and her parents have to resolve Irene’s discovery that she was adopted – and that they never told her. Her sense of herself is still reeling a bit. That the book she needs to retrieve will prevent the world where she went to school, one of the few stable places in her chaotic history, from falling into absolute chaos gives the story a personal stake for her.

At the same time, one of the many, many things in this caper that are not what they seem is the painting that they have to steal. It IS a painting – but it isn’t the painting that they think it is. Or not just that painting. Hidden underneath the masterpiece is something else altogether – a half-finished painting that is intended to undermine every so-called history that the eternal, immortal dragon rulers have ever told about themselves. Whether the revisionist history of the painting is a truth that they’ve been covering for millennia or propaganda created for the purpose of destabilizing the dragons is anyone’s guess.

From Irene’s perspective the truth doesn’t matter. Destabilizing the dragons will cause chaos throughout the multiverse that the Library protects. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, of the one – or of the truth.

I can’t wait for further truths to be revealed – or concealed – in future books in this series. Book 7 is already in the works!
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Thank You Genevieve Cogman for delivering 100% on this one! I didn't know that we needed a "heist" one in the series but I am oh so glad for it. This one brings Irene and Kai (and various other Dragons and Fae) into James Bond meets Oceans 11 territory. What's not to love? Billionaire eccentric Fae Villain with his own private island and pools of sharks? A heist/caper challenge filled with a motley team of talented specialists, almost all completely unreliable/unknowable? A painting behind the painting that may reveal the TRUE history of the Monarchs of the Dragon Courts (or it could just be a forgery, who knows?) Double, triple, quadruple crosses? And all why our beloved Irene tries to keep a level head, control the situation, dodge the creepy CENSOR (Combined European Nations Supernatural Observation and Response) organization, and get in an afternoon nap with Kai? 
I needed this book in this series...the last was a little bit of a lull, and this one definitely delivered on ALL the things I was missing: more action/adventure, more emotional involvement of characters, and more secrets/revelations in the bigger story arcs (that carry throughout multiple books). The secondary characters in this one were particularly good too. Genevieve is very clever with the way she has done the Fae in her books, by having them don archetypal personas and function with in their stereotypical story lines she allows herself the freedom to have fun with those types of characters, and embrace those archetypes without the backlash of the educated reader saying "those characters are so stereotypical etc." There's a reason those archetypes exist and why they are timeless and popular across all formats and artistic mediums, and so to see an author get to so unabashedly embrace them, whether in earnest or humorously, is pure enjoyment. Probably my favorite in the series so far (besides the showdown with Alberich....he needs to come back by the way....just saying:)   .
Thank you NetGalley for supplying me with an ARC of this book (in exchange for my honest review)!
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The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman is the latest in her wonderful Invisible Library series. Coming after the six previous novels, Irene and Kai have become well-loved characters. In this installment, the world where Irene grew up is in dangerous of slipping into chaos. In order to retrieve the book necessary to fix that world, Irene and Kai are forced to work with others to steal a painting in exchange for the book. I know I'm in for a fun adventure whenever I start reading one of these- this series just gets better and better!
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I love this series. Absolutely fun and exciting and recommend it to anyone. In that The Secret Chapter was an excellent addition to the series and will continually be recommending it.
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The Secret Chapter, by author Genevieve Cogman, is the Sixth installment in the authors The Invisible Library series. Librarian Irene Winters and her assistant, Dragon Prince Kai, travel through time and dimensions, fighting supernatural creatures of chaos, to track down the most important books in all of the worlds. But, this time out, there is something different. There's a truce in place between the Fae and Dragons arbitrated by the Library. Irene is the Librarian delegate, while Kai is the Dragon delegate. The Fae still have not named their delegate but will by the time this story is finished.

While Irene may be the key Librarian delegate, she also has another job as spy and thief and Librarian-in Station to a world that resembles a steampunk 19th century London. In this story, Irene's main job is to retrieve a copy of an Egyptian Text called (The Tale of The Ship Wrecked Sailor 2000-1700 BC). There's a chapter in the book that is missing. All copies of the version have been lost. But one. Irene is only authorized by her boss Coppelia to use Quid Pro Quo negotiations in order to get the missing chapter in order to save the world that she spent her formative years at an exclusive boarding school. 

The catch is that Irene is expected to negotiate with a man called Mr. Nemo for the copy. Mr. Nemo is a billionaire enigmatic collector who collects things and unaligned people. He also lives on a secretive Island in the Caribbean which is impossible to reach without help. Nemo is a stereotypical Fae villain who loves classic novels in how he operates. There's even a scene where he dunks someone into a shark tank. Yep, very James Bond like of him. Irene & Kai will have to work with a curious team that includes a dragon techie (Indigo), a Fae thief (Jerome), a gambler (Felix), a driver (Tina), and the muscle (Ernst).  

Nemo has an offer for everyone: he wants the group to steal a very specific painting from a specific world. If they are successful, they can ask for anything they want. Their goal? The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, in an early twenty-first-century world, where their toughest challenge might be each other. In this world, there is a painting called The Raft of Medusa that Nemo wants badly. But how far does trust go? And will they succeed? The world has both magic and technology. There's even a group known as CENSOR which monitors everyone. There are apparently vampires and werewolves in this world, not just Fae, and Dragons. And, it seems as though Irene is clearly a target here. But, by whom?

Irene isn't someone to mess with. She's had years of training and is loyal to the library and its goals. She makes mistakes along the way, but she always tries to do the best she can. She uses a combination of sarcasm and humor in order to deal with twists and turns thrown at her. For the first time in this series, Cogman introduces you to Irene's adoptive parents Raziel and Liu Xiang who were kidnapped as bargaining chips the last time out. Neither name has anything to do with their origin or their nation of birth. Librarians tend to use extreme cultural appropriation when choosing a name.

They are a curious pair. They are excellent spies and thieves. The father is a specialist in Egyptian hieroglyphs and texts. They love Irene, I truly believe, but they just have more important things to worry about her every time she goes on a mission. One of the most curious parts of this series is that Irene and the Library is supposed to be a neutral party. They are morally grey, they steal (for the greater good but are professionals at theft) from others. They have the ability to use a power called the Language, they can change/change how you perceive reality. We also get us a bit more allusion to the dragon’s history which has been going on for the past couple of books now. I think this bombshell is going to cause all sorts of issues for Irene and especially Kai in the coming installments. 

Recommendation: While this book can be read as a standalone, my recommendation is to please read the books as they are released. Irene is definitely a character that you want to read about and her relationship with Kai has come a long way since Irene first took him on as an apprentice.
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4.5 'He who controls the present controls that past' Stars

You can also see a different joint review done with Anne at Books of My Heart

I’ve enjoyed the invisible library series so far. It is one of the smarter series I read and I’m always interested in what new shenanigans Irene and associates are going to get into. Irene is usually trying to steal one book or another from some world but now she needs to steal something much larger to get the book she needs and she has some new hinderances/helpers for the task. 

In the last book Irene became the Library’s representative one the tentative peace treaty was signed and Kia was placed in a similar position enabling their relationship to change. I was a little worried that the romantic aspect between them would take over a little since this is the first book they are officially together. I was worried for nothing, there is the romance between them, but it is so in the background really that it is almost not there. So, the tone of the story hasn’t changed much from prior books, which means if you are reading this solely for the romance…don’t.

Irene and Kia both go to meet with Nemo, a criminal overlord type Fae who has a book Irene desperately needs. Irene and Kia both have very different reasons for going, they both have their own political agendas and those agendas don’t always line up. I respect that both Kia and Irene are still their own people with their own motivations and just because they are together that isn’t going to change. Each has secrets from the other and they respect that. While each might do whatever they can to protect the other, they aren’t blindly just letting the others agenda overshadow their own. 

***”Should I worry about him?”
Does he matter to you? Besides politically, that is?”
Let’s just say, whether of not he’s in danger will affect my response to the situation.” ***

A few of the things I loved. We finally meet Irene’s parents. They are a trip and it was a pretty funny exchange. 

***Was it a surprise that a daughter of spies had developed trust issues? she thought wryly. ***

While other story plot lines have really examined more of the Library and Fae this one had some bigger developments surrounding the dragons and their origin story. I enjoyed learning more about how the dragons think and their political machinations. Sadly, Vale didn’t have much to do with this story but the good news is that I was so caught up in the quirky new characters and the heist that I didn’t really miss him much.

This was another very well written story with new information that will probably build into the next books. I enjoyed all my time with Irene and co. again and can’t wait to see how the revelations about the dragons in this will play into future books.
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