Title: The Burning Page
Author: Genevieve Cogman
Publisher: 2016, Pan
Three Word Description: Fast-paced, Intruiging, Fun
[Side note: Hi guys how are you?! I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything last week, had so much school work AND was sick. Not a good combination. Hadn’t any content I had written before either so nothing I could queue. Oh well, here’s finally the review I promised before, with a bonus – rating!! I’ve decided to finally do rating (had trust issues with rating system) but chose to begin now with it. Instead of the usual 5 stars, I’ll go with 6! The extra will go for the absolute extra book]
*Throughs the book in your face* READ IT!!
No seriously, this YA-ish series (I honestly don’t know sometimes, seen it marketed as both) needs so much more recognition. Secret librarian agents, dragons, fae, humor, adventure, steam-punk, alternative-worlds… and, *sobs with gratitude*, no romance sub-plot in the way. It’s not that there is no romance, it just isn’t in the way of anything.
Anyway, let’s get started with the review.
The Burning Page is the third installment in the Invisible Library – series following the librarian Irene and her student Kai. Their job is to collect books from different worlds for the Library, which exists outside all of them (it’s… you’ll understand). But their job is rarely a walk in the park, especially not if a bigger threat is looming over them.
The plot is fast-paced and filled with both humor and suspense, and I honestly think this is the strongest book in the series yet. Irene is a wonderful protagonist; she’s professional, smart, witty and strong-willed. Anyone foolish enough to challenge her would soon enough find their tails between their legs (in one case, literally). But because of resent events in the book, or books, both Irene and Kai comes to face fear worse than ever. Though it did not make me enjoy the book any less, Irene still acted very calmly and reasonable (for the most part) for someone who expects a murderer at every corner. But that is her character, she knows that panic won’t solve anything. It gives also a good contrast to her partner Kai, who wants to act on a bit more on their paranoia.
The writing style and humour is something that deserves a praise as well. Never does Cogman ignore a possibility to leave a little comment that’s worthy of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams. It may not be as much ‘lemony’ as them, but it’s still an almost constant present. Some highlights being;
“She wondered what the proper etiquette was for visiting werewolves. She’d done vampires, Fae, dragons, and even university students.” /…/‘Is anyone up there?’ came a yell in French from downstairs. The natural human response was to shout ‘No!’ which said something about humanity.
I also loved that we got so many different environments in this book. In the two previous installments we go about one “main” environments in which the plot is taking place. For a book about different realities and a library in-between, I actually wished for a bit more “world discovering”. In The Burning Page however, Cogman takes us to both familiar and new locations. And I also had my suspicion of that one of them is a foreshadowing, and will come to play a part in the next book (which was a bit confirmed when reading the synopsis of The Lost Plot. The rest remains to be see).
I really can’t come up with many critics for this book, I loved it and am only regretting reading it too fast. The only thing I can think of is that there is still some potential to flesh-out Kai’s character. It’s not that I find him 1-dimensional, it’s just that I think, because Irene is such an amazing character, he ends up in her shadow. But I bet my money on that we will see some more character development on his part in the next book.
As for characters, I really liked the villain in this one, he was the classic type that always works. But the interaction between the Big Bad and the protagonist is what really made it. As both have a sharp intellect, it becomes a sort of “battle to the wits” (or what you call it). In my opinion, a great book needs a great villain.
And I just want to thank Cogman again for no unnecessary romance sub-plot, despite there being romance. Everyone is just so professional and understands that hey, we have other problems to deal with. Attractions happen, but they don’t have to cloud your mind. Hell, there was even a sort of love triangle without a single person disliking each other (rival or not) or creating any real complications. I didn’t even know that was possible in a YA book.
So, needless to say, I loves this book and I really recommend it to everyone. Great writing, great protagonist and a great story!