Genre: (political) Fantasy Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 4.5 stars Series: yes - 4th book
After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.
In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can’t extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.
Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They’ll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library’s own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn’t end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene’s job. And, incidentally, on her life…
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
After a slight break, it was an absolute treat to come back to this series. Between the setting and the politics, it’s my favourite entry so far!
The setting in this book is very different to the previous books. The first three were in European settings, very steampunk-y/Victorian vibes, whereas this book is set in 1920s New York. It was such a different feel – machine guns, speak-easys, and mobsters. It really did set it apart, a breath of fresh-air that shot new life into the series. If it had all been the steampunk-y Victorian, it might have started to get a bit same-y, but this book deftly avoided that.
It was such a fun setting, and the guns really did raise the stakes – as Irene pointed out, they could hit anyone. The swords and single shot pistols of the previous books were far less dangerous to a Librarian, but Tommy guns had the potential to kill indiscriminately. Plus there was all the seedy-side-to-the-1920s-glamour
I would also class this entry as a political fantasy, given the incredibly complex web of intrigue between the dragons that Irene and Kai get dragged into. There were so many layers, and everything seemed to be conspiring to compromise at least one aspect of their mission. There was no apparent way out without sacrificing something. That’s the sort of political fantasy I love best, and I loved that there were consequences at the end. Irene did not manage to solve everything perfectly.
No Vale in this book, as he doesn’t come with them, which was a bit of a disappointment, as I want to see how he’s coping after the major events he was put through in the previous. However, it was one of the things that made it stand out as a bit different to the others.
Looking at the blurb of the next book, I think it’s a little related to this one. The incident that spurred the contest at the heart of the book is related to the peace talk in the next one, so bring it on!
Read my reviews of other books by Genevieve Cogman:
The Invisible Library (this series):