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What’s Rachel Reading? The Invisible Library Series: A Review

the invisible library series

I know, it’s been a while since we’ve done a “what’s Rachel reading” update here. It’s not that I’m not reading (I’m always reading!); it’s that life (and more reading!) sometimes gets in the way of my telling you about it. 

But you know how sometimes you stumble into a series so good that you just can’t resist sharing? Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library series is just such a find. Now that I’ve just finished binge reading all five of these novels over the last couple of weeks, I’m so sad to be done with them that I’m going to talk about them with you instead… so that the magic of their alternate universe can linger in my mind just a little bit longer.

I’m not sure how I missed book one when it first came out, but am actually kind of glad to have been able to chew through all five books in a row. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than discovering a series you’ve missed a little later in the game. And, good news: Books 6 and 7 are in the works.

The Invisible Library Series: A Review

the invisible library series, a review

The Invisible Library series features Irene, a Librarian who works for a mysterious Library which exists in a place out of time, with the mission to collect important and unique titles from multiple alternate worlds (in order to help keep these worlds connected, and maintain the balance between chaos and order). Librarians such as Irene are sent on missions to various parallel worlds to retrieve rare books, but her adventures soon take her well beyond this basic premise as she uncovers plots within plots and ends up a much more important player than her “junior Librarian” status would imply.

The Invisible Library books are hard to classify — fantasy, to be sure, but with heavy elements of science fiction, detective fiction, steampunk, and romance — all tied together with a heavy sprinkling of literary allusions and fast-paced adventure. While the first book holds a lot of potential and is an enjoyable read in itself, the series really starts coming into its own as you get further into it; the characters and world building have more of a chance to develop.

Most importantly, these are fun, clever, and fully engrossing novels: And, they have all the things. Dragons? Check. Fae? Check. A great detective? Steampunk-ish alligators? Check and check. 

The clever dialogue, humor, fast pace, plot twists, and time-and-world hopping here will appeal to fans of everything from Dr. Who to steampunk, from Neil Gaiman to Sherlock Holmes. While some readers criticize these books for trying to pack too much in, their multiple layers, players, and elaborate world-building are all part of the fun — and sticking with the series beyond the first book allows some of the threads (and characters) to grow over time.

I can’t tell you too much more without giving away too many of the surprises, so… grab book one and see for yourself, and check out an interview with the author here.

Books in the Invisible Library Series

If you’re the least bit convinced, you also have some lovely binge reading ahead. In order, go with:

  • The Invisible Library
  • The Masked City
  • The Burning Page
  • The Lost Plot
  • The Mortal Word

Check out the entire The Invisible Library series.

What are you reading this week?

What have you been reading lately? Tell us all about it! And, you can browse all of the What’s Rachel Reading? book reviews here.


Tuesday 25th of February 2020

Just found Mashup Mom this past weekend. Since I frequently shop at Aldi and love to cook and find new recipes, I subscribed and knew I would be returning to the site. Then I saw the book review of a series that I liked and enjoyed reading and it seemed liked karma. I read the fifth book in the Invisible Library series a couple of weeks ago and looking forward to the next one. Also looking forward to new recipes and book reviews from Rachel.


Wednesday 26th of February 2020

Welcome! I hope to get back to doing book reviews more regularly when life calms down a bit here -- I'm still reading; it's finding the time to tell you about it. :)