This is a book for bibliophiles. I highly recommend everyone have at least a look at this book and the idea it presents simply because it’s so excellent. Unless someone has thought of this idea before: using books as ways to bring objects and other things from the stories into reality. So you can get that light saber! Or Excalibur! Jim C Hines uses this idea in some pretty funny ways, especially the idea that you can accidentally get bitten by a vampire when you stick your hand in the book. That means every different version of vampire ever written is real, and running about in mishmashed nests. This book has Charlaine Harris’s ‘southerners’ and Stephanie Myer’s ‘sparklers’.
I picked up Libriomancy because I really liked Jim C Hines’ other books, especially his Fairy Tale reimaginings “Princess” series (I will always love the interpretation of Red Riding Hood as a violent vengeful nutter CLICK HERE and you will know what I mean).
Okay, for now I’ll get past the idea behind this urban fantasy and analyse the tale presented. See, the actual story is… it’s only ‘okay’. Compared to the wonderfully original idea behind the world, the story is glaringly unoriginal. Not that there’s nothing wrong with an okay/seen-it-before story playing with a new idea. I’m a big believer in “same-same but different” books that gradually try new things. Having said that, with such a cool idea as Libriomancy, when compared to the actual plot there’s just no comparison: the idea is better than the story. It’s a shame, really. Makes me feel like I’m retreading old territory with a new toy.
The characters were, hm, relatively interesting, I guess. Isaac Vainio is a geeky screw-up that basically screams ‘IDENTIFY WITH ME’. The second protagonist (called the deuteragonist, but I don’t think many people know that. I didn’t – I had to google it) is more interesting, but at the same time very isolating. It was difficult for me to like her, I’m sorry to say. I appreciate the direction the author went with tying her to the rules of the world, and it was actually a pretty brave thing introducing a character that has such a weird nature, but in doing so it makes her, literally, a blank slate. How her character arc ended did give me hope that she will grow as the series progress, but so far it is severely limiting growth, and that’s just disappointing. Understandable, but still very disappointing.
In conclusion, I still recommend anyone who likes any sort of speculative fiction, check the story out and decide for yourself. Read the blurb, down the free sample from Amazon, at least to appreciate the idea.
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Libriomancy, by Jim C. Hines
Magic Ex Libris #1
Book Length: 308 pages
Urban Fantasy (Adult Fiction)
According to the Blurb:
Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .