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Books Featuring Magical Libraries

The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman

I've been excitedly looking forward to the U.S. release of The Invisible Library since my friends in the U.K. started raving about it last year. Magic, library... that's really all it takes to pique my interest.

Irene works for a library that collects books from many different worlds. She is sent out on missions to retrieve rare books, while also dealing with the inevitable politics of bureaucracy.

But not all assignments are what they seem. Irene is tasked with mentoring a new librarian on a mission that turns out to have unexpected and potentially fatal competition.

With an interesting approach to magic and a rich cast of characters, The Invisible Library is a quick, enjoyable read in the spirit of Genrenauts.

The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins

I am not generally a fan of horror, but The Library at Mount Char manages to walk a fine between fantasy and horror in a way that did not turn me away.

Adopted into the Library at a young age by a cruel, godlike "Father," Carolyn has lived apart from humanity long enough to lose much of what made her human. When Father goes missing, his ancient and mighty enemies look to take over the Library and its dangerous secrets.

The mythology is fascinating, the view of dysfunctional families bleak, and the plot twists and turns keep you on your toes in just the right way. This was not at all the book I was expecting—and I am delighted.

The Forbidden Library, by Django Wexler

When a reviewer describes a book as a cross between Diana Wynne Jones and Lemony Snicket, I am both dubious and immediately sold.

And it is an apt description. While officially a middle-grade novel, The Forbidden Library suits the adult market in the same way as Jones.

When young Alice's father dies suddenly, she is whisked off to live with a mysterious uncle she's never heard of. Cue large empty house with unseen servants and scowling adults.

Eventually Alice finds her way into the library, meets a talking cat, argues with a sorcerer, and falls into a book of monsters that she has to fight her way out of. Once she survives this trial, she is caught in a web of adults and magical creatures who are all lying to her as she tries to master her newfound powers and find out who killed her father—and why.

This is the sort of book I was always looking for when I was younger, and I am happy to find it now. It navigates tropes with a deft hand and keeps you engaged even if not challenged.



 

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