The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel Book 1) 

4.5 stars, actually.

I seem to be on a run of 4.5 stars recently. I considered both a 4 and a 5 for this one. I loved the reserved, high class English society feel of the main characters: from Junior Librarian (but no fainting lady) Irene herself to Kai the mysterious new apprentice who switches back and forth from naivete to sophistication, and of course the Sherlockian investigator Lord Vale from the alternate world of fae and Zeppelins where most of the action takes place.

Irene is given an apprentice and sent to an alternate world where the chaotic Fae seem to hold sway in search of a book of fairytales. This is all proper and right as that’s what Librarians do– at least those employed by THE Library between worlds and who can employ Language to make locks pop open and doors to open in a kind of magic. Only her apprentice isn’t what he seems, and her mission somehow catches the attention of the Library’s most notorious traitor.

Hijinks ensue. Alligators, Zeppelin chases, magical silverfish. And lots and lots of folks sitting around theorizing about what the main bad dude is up to and if he’s in league with the Iron Brotherhood faction or the fae and where the book might be and who might be on their side, etc. etc. Lots of sitting around (thus the minus half a point for me).

And the romance is there…but a little bloodless and distanced for my taste. Kai had some promise, but Irene herself is so job focused its hard to see her allowing emotions to attach herself to anyone. As I like romance (your mileage may vary) if there’s going to be some, I need to feel it.

Still, utterly entertaining world, some humor, great strategizing, and some ridiculous fights. I imagine if you are a fan of Parasol Protectorate or Steampunk, etc. you’re going to like this one.