Friday, August 30, 2013

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

I saw this book in hardcover last year and just didn't get to it on my reading list.  Now it's in paperback, so I have no excuse not to pick it up and read it.

This is my first Jim C. Hines book, but it probably won't be the last.  He's got a quirky sense of humor, and combine that with the ability to pull objects out of books to make magic and you've got me pulled in without any question.

Libriomancer is the first book in the Magic ex Libris series.  Book two, Codex Born, just came out in hardcover a few weeks ago.  If you are a lover of books--and any kind of books--you will enjoy this novel about Isaac, a libriomancer.  Libriomancers are people who belong to an organization founded by Johannes Gutenberg to keep the world safe from all of the creatures found in books.  As more and more people read a book, their belief and imagination fires up that book, and those creatures and objects in the books become magical.  A libriomancer can literally pull them out of a book.  And so can the bad guys.  Some books are so dangerous that Johannes Gutenberg has locked them magically forever, so no one can use them for nefarious purposes.  

But someone has been very busy, and Johannes Gutenberg is missing.  Did I tell you he's still alive after all these years?  Yep.  Put that down to the magic of books.  I won't tell you more so you can discover for yourself how this all happens.  Once you start thinking about all the books you've read in a magical sense, it can become dizzying to ask the question: "What if I could reach in and pull out, say, a pot of gold?  Or a magic sword?  Or even a light saber?"  

All this magic has a price to pay, and Isaac has been banned to a small library in Michigan after making a huge error as a libriomancer a few years before.  He is forbidden to practice magic, and has followed the rules.

Until vampires show up and try to kill him.  Vampires from books, you see.

This was a fun read, chock full of authors and books you will recognize no matter what you read.  It gets a bit convoluted so you really do have to pay attention.  And Isaac's love interest (which fits nicely in the story)  Lena, a dryad who is one with trees, makes an interesting flip side to natural magic.  She's also on the cover of the second book.  

I think teens would enjoy this, along with anyone who has a life-long passion for books.  You don't have to be a sci-fi/fantasy fan to pick this up.  So go give it a try!

Rating:  7/10 for a brilliant idea about books and magic, room to grow the story in a series, and characters you enjoy and care about.  

Available in paperback, hardcover, and e-book

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