I received a review copy from the publicity team on behalf of the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 5 stars Series: yes - book 8
Librarian Spy Irene is heading into danger. Not for the first time, but could this be her last? She’s tasked with a terrifyingly dangerous solo mission to eliminate an old enemy, which must be kept secret at all costs. But even more troubling news emerges. Multiple worlds are disappearing – and the Library may have something to do with it.
Determined to uncover the truth behind the vanished worlds, Irene and her friends must descend into the unplumbed depths of the Library. And what they find will change everything they know. This may be Irene’s most dangerous assignment of her hazardous career.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
The finale of the Invisible Library series is as stunning as you’d expect from this quirky, inventive set of tales. While I’m sad the series is ended (though the acknowledgements say there is potential for more stories but no plans), it was sent off in the best possible way.
As the lead up of the last few books suggest, THE UNTOLD STORY is all about uncovering the origins of the library – and the power running it. Except that shadowy power is trying to stop Irene from uncovering it. And long-term enemy of the library, Alberich, is trying to help Irene – for his own ends, of course.
I love books about unknown histories, and how they reframe the context of a story. I particularly love it when I can’t entirely predict the real history because it’s not playing into common tropes but it still feels completely satisfying and set up. I don’t want to know from chapter one what the real history will be – I want to have to discover is alongside the characters and empathise with their grappling with the truth as it reframes events. And THE UNTOLD STORY absolutely does that.
I was so glad that Catherine returned to play a large role in this book, and that many members of recurring cast had prominent roles, rather than bringing new characters in. It’s a finale, and for those, I like to focus more on known elements, bringing them together in new roles. The same was true for the story mostly taking place in Vale’s world and the library.
All the fun of archetypal fae compelled by their chosen stories and the dragons with their strict order came to bear. We see fae storytellers more concerned by good stories than their own lives, politicians spinning webs, and dragons trying to use order to gain their own ways.
I think the language is one of my favourite magic systems out there. The precision of meaning is so much fun to play around with – and puts a lot of constraints on the users so that it’s not a “anything goes” magic system.
Whatever Genevieve Cogman writes next, I’m waiting to devour it!
Read my reviews of other books by Genevieve Cogman:
The Invisible Library (this series):