For those literary-fantasy-loving-bookish-folk, this book will be right up your alley. Exciting, adventurous, magical -- think "The Librarian" movie fFor those literary-fantasy-loving-bookish-folk, this book will be right up your alley. Exciting, adventurous, magical -- think "The Librarian" movie franchise with Noah Wyle and stir in a heavy dose of magical world traveling via 'The Library's' portals into other realms, and you've got yourself a book.
To be honest, I liked the IDEA of the book, more than I was truly gripped by the resulting novel ... I wanted more darkish magical things, like the Abhorsen Trilogy (oh, when will your equal come into existence?!) or even more wit/humor, like Jasper Fforde's 'Thursday Next' series, but this book is trying to create it's own world in a really great genre, which is indeed admirable! I love the idea of The Library (notice the caps?) being a sort of literal world in and of itself, with maps to get around, subject areas being like lands, having its own sense of time even, and I could almost feel my mind wrapping itself up in this concept, but Irene falls a bit flat for me. She seems to be a character who is an adventurous, independent, knowledgeable, novice-like woman, who totally owns her sexuality and nerdy personality, but she doesn't quite become fully fleshed out, I didn't think. It's almost like Kai, totally new boy trainee library assistant, has to prop her character up a bit too much.
In any case, librarians as spies and action adventure heroes is a fantastic premise! Very much like Doctor Who for librarians....more
I loved this book, and it was better than the first one. The flow was just right, and everything kept moving and forming and twisting and turning. I lI loved this book, and it was better than the first one. The flow was just right, and everything kept moving and forming and twisting and turning. I loved the focus on Turyin Mulaghesh, a character I didn't particularly like in the first book but came to love better than most characters (maybe I like Sigrud Harkvaldsson equally). She is hard, but also soft and empathetic, and you can see her grow and learn and adapt over the course of her life. She is also a big fan of forthrightness and cursing, and her dialogues make for a funny read at times. The author's envisioning of Vortya and this "lost" city of stark white afterlife is masterful and chilling, and made me really feel like I was seeing everything the author painted with his words. I have such a clear imagining of what this book looked like, I feel as if I watched a movie. Loved this book, and this author, and will definitely be looking forward to the presumed next in the series. ...more
I loved this book. The descriptions were beautiful, the storytelling lovely, strange, and alluring, and the characters fleshed out and honest. I foundI loved this book. The descriptions were beautiful, the storytelling lovely, strange, and alluring, and the characters fleshed out and honest. I found Amanda abrupt, frank, and quite hilarious. The story of George and Kumiko was like something Murakami would write, and the addition of Amanda/Rachel's plot line like some of Helen Oyeyemi's best works. I loved the folktales and is it weird to say that I kept picturing the volcanos love story from the Pixar short film on the Inside Out dvd? Bravo!
Some excerpts that struck a chord:
p. 131: "'The purpose of a volcano is to die, my lady,' says the volcano, 'but as angrily as possible.' 'You do not seem angry,' she says. 'You smile. You jest. You speak from desire, from flirtation. I have seen it the world over.' 'I speak from joy, my lady. Angry joy.' 'Is such a thing possible?' 'It is that which creates us all. It is that which fires the magma of the world. It is that which drives the volcano to sing.'"
p. 132: "She returns. She is older, wiser. The world is older, too, though surprisingly not that much wiser. ... 'You have not died like all the others and become a mountain.' 'I have not, my lady. There was no future in it.' He raises his whip, a long chain of glowing white heat, and lashes his great and terrible horses. They whinny in agony and trample farms and bridges and civilizations under their hooves, his innumerable, ravenous armies flowing like burning rivers in their wake."
P. 227: "He tore out one final (that word again) page of dense Jamesian prose and tried to read it to see if inspiration could be found. 'She saw him in truth less easily beguiled, saw him wander in the closed dusky rooms from place to place or else for long periods recline on deep sofas and stare before him through the smoke of ceaseless cigarettes.' Yep, that seemed to fit pretty well with the little George thought he knew of Henry James. He was sure it must be brilliant, but it didn't half read like an artistic representation of writing, rather than writing itself. A painting of a page. A cutting without cuts."
P. 227: " It was as if he'd wilfully [sic] decided to sacrifice [ital.] everything [ital.] just to spite Kumiko, a spite she would, he hoped, remain forever unaware of, so it did nothing but slice at his own heart, as spite only ever did. ... He hadn't even been [ital.] angry [ital.] with her, not really. He'd just felt . . . [ital.] lost [ital.]. Alone. Unaccompanied even when she was right there with him."
P. 270: "But he [ital.] had [ital.] demanded. He had been stupidly, stupidly greedy for knowledge of her. And he had found out. He knew her. But wasn't that what love really was, though? Knowledge? Yes. And then again, no."...more