Book Review: THE MORTAL WORD by Genevieve Cogman

Title in black on pale blue leather surrounded by black border
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - 5th book



Book cover for THE MORTAL WORD: title in black on pale turquoise surrounded by a border with cats and two figures in historical dress

A corrupt countess. A spy in danger. And an assassin at large.

Peace talks are always tricky, especially when a key diplomat gets stabbed. This rudely interrupts a top-secret summit between the warring dragons and Fae. As a neutral party, Librarian-spy Irene is summoned to investigate. She must head to a version of 1890s Paris, with her assistant Kai and her detective friend Vale, where these talks are fracturing. Here, she must get to the bottom of the attack – before either the peace negotiations or the city go up in flames.

Suspicions fly thick and fast and Irene soon finds herself in the seedy depths of the Parisian underworld. She’s on the trail of a notoriously warlike Fae, the Blood Countess. However, the evidence against the Countess is circumstantial. Could the killer be a member of the Library itself? 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


The fifth instalment in THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY series, this time we get a murder mystery. There are clues, red-herrings, far-from-forthcoming witness thanks to the delicate nature of the situation, countless suspects with motives, and people trying very hard to stop the investigations in their tracks. It’s twisty, full of danger, and hard to work out whodunnit, making for an addictive read.

Plus, on top of all that, there is a peace treaty at stake, which means there are political pressures on the outcome of the investigation. Irene has to balance several pointed suggestions that a convenient scapegoat is found to ensure the peace treaty goes ahead. I loved the additional layer this added to the book, and how it upped the stakes.

It does make for a very packed book, and as such it is the longest entry in the series (of the 7 books currently published) by about 50 pages. However, it is fast-paced and the mystery does make it hard to put down. And, as someone who tends to prefer longer books, it was a bit of a treat to really be able to sink my teeth into this entry.

Vale really shines in this book. As the detective all sides have agreed to accept as the investigator, he gets a much larger role than usual, and we see him actually investigating – as is his job. Interviewing suspects, following leads, inspecting bodies and crime scenes, diffusing bombs; you name a detective literary trope, as he does it! It was a lot of fun to see him in his element, even if he was a tad uncomfortable in a world that was not his own.

I’m rapidly approaching the end of this series, which is not so fun, but at least there are two more to go for now!

Read my reviews of other books by Genevieve Cogman:

The Invisible Library (this series):

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