Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Forbidden Library

It's funny, because when I was a teenager, I found myself wanting to read the books in the adult fantasy and sci-fi section of the library. Now, I'm returning to the children's fantasy that I have always loved. I'm disillusioned with adult books because so many of them are just too inappropriate and weirdly amoral for my taste. That's not to say there aren't good ones, obviously, but I digress. The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is a new kids fantasy book that I happened upon at the library a few weeks ago. It's relatively short; fairly large print and under 400 pages, so I ate it up in a day, three days ago. I have this bad habit of staying up way too late reading, but then at least I get lots of reading done! But on to the review.


Alice Creighton doesn't believe in doing things halfway. Even if she dislikes something (such as algebra), she will work as hard as she can to become skilled. One night she is working hard on her algebra homework assigned by her tutor, Miss Juniper, when she hears her father arrive home from work. She creeps down the servant stairs towards the kitchen, but stops short when she hears a voice and a low drone she does not recognize.

Turns out fairies are real, and this one is a real monster-looking thing. He's yellow and black and is threatening Alice's father. She eavesdrops, which she knows she shouldn't have. Not long after this late-night encounter, Mr. Creighton leaves on a journey by ship. News comes back that the ship has gone down. Alice is sent to live with her uncle on his creepy and eerily silent estate, The Library.

Geryon is an incredibly old man that Alice thinks cannot possibly be her uncle. He also tells her that the actual library on the property is off-limits unless she is with someone. This library happens to be an unattached building away from the main house; it recedes into the woods, so one cannot get a sense of how big it actually is.

One night Alice decides to investigate the library alone, after she has been taken into it by the oddly bland servant girl Emma. She meets a talking cat, Ashes, and suddenly discovers that things are not at all as they seem. Geryon is a Reader, a type of wizard who uses the power of books and words as his magic. And he is in the midst of a small war. And Alice finds she, too, has these magic powers, which she realizes will help her find the fairy again and discover what really happened to her father.


As far as I can tell, The Forbidden Library is actually the first in a series, and I have to say I am quite excited. Django Wexler tells this story so well, and he also uses the word susurrus twice so I kind of have to like him. Anyway, I give this book five stars (yes, I liked it that much) and eagerly await the next installment.

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