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In the Stacks

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,271 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Listening length: 1 hour and 38 minutes

Life is always complicated for students of magic at the High University of Hazar, but the fifth-year exam is a particular challenge: Each student must return one library book.

Of course, they must return it to the Living Library, a haunted collection of ten million magical tomes, a collection where the rules of time, space, weather, an
Audiobook, 2 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by PodCastle (first published January 31st 2010)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,271 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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So I must have had this drop into my lap from The Great Library, because the Enhanced Edition contains only one scene, I think, from what I read before. And indeed, it felt slightly trimmer in the beginning, with more dialogue and less setting.

The concept is fabulous, surely created out of one of those random, funny ideas--what if returning a book to the library was a dangerous adventure--but the execution feels off to me. Too much description in some places (the word-eaters), not enough in oth
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
The motto of the Librarians: RETRIEVE. RETURN. SURVIVE.

3.5 stars. I love library-based fantasy, so I couldn't resist this Scott Lynch (author of The Lies of Locke Lamora) novella about a group of students at a magic school taking their final exam for their fifth year. The exam consists solely of returning a magical book to the proper shelf in the school's library. That's it. Of course, it's a particularly dangerous library. Apparently that's what happens when you store vast numbers of magic-infu
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have never read any of the Gentleman Bastard books but the blurp to this short story sounded very interesting - after all, there is a living library so how could I have resisted?!

The full cast audio tells the story of a few prospects trying to pass their exam to become full-blown magicians or maybe even librarians at the afore-mentioned living library. Naturally, all these grimoires make it a dangerous place.

What you get in this story:
- artistic tardiness
- a living library
- sorce
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, 2018-shelf, fantasy
Fun and short schooltime hack-n-slash fantasy with an always delightful twist of... a library dungeon with horrible nasties that aren't always just the books. :)

This is a revamped story from '09 turned into a full cast podcast with the link on the book page. :)

What makes this special is the humor and the delightful characters as they fulfill their final exam at their magic school by RETURNING A LIBRARY BOOK.

Delightful, scary, funny, and with as much fantastic action as you can squeeze into a lit
"A collection of thamaturgical knowledge so vast and so deep,"said Molnar, "is far, far too useful a thing to give up merely because it has become a magical disaster area perfectly capable of killing anyone who enters it unprepared!"

Into the Stacks is short, but builds a complete world. It's funny, suspenseful, inventive, and imaginative; a fantastic piece of short storytelling. This is a world of vocabuvores, books dreaming of their childhood as trees, a race of lizards who like to have their c
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 / 5 stars

How I've missed Scott Lynch!

In the Stacks: Author Enhanced Edition is an expanded version of the original story with its intended unabridged length.

This story is about a few mages of varying arcanic strength who needs must pass a test to graduate from the fifth year of their university. What is the test? Simply, to return a library book.

But this isn't an average library; this library is alive . It is a giant, floating, onxy cube in the sky, reachable only by teleportation, and
Akwa Timba
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really fun audiobook (short) about the coolest library in the world.
Its wears its DnD influences on it's sleeve and really shines for it.
Scott Lynch's tight prose and humourous characters are once again present and accounted for.
This was a full cast production (meaning everyone including the narrator got a separate voice actor) and whilst it was a little amateurish it actually fit the tone and spirit of the piece perfectly.
I found out about podcastle a while ago, but since I mainly listen to s
A nice little short story in which the magical students' exam test is returning one book to the Living Library. The tone is light and at times absolutely ridiculous, but it works!

It's pretty fun, and works perfectly as a short story. It's not something I'd want more of, so this makes it a great format for this.
Jon Adams
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There aren't many people that could pack that much world-building and characterization in a 77 page story. ...more
David S Meanderings)
I enjoyed this short story. It could have definitely been a little longer and had some more action/details. I loved the "living library" and I would have loved to learn more about it. ...more
Carolyn F.
I read this as part of the anthology Magic City: Recent Spells

This story reminded me of Harry Potter except it seemed they were more college age. It was very easy to figure out who had an ulterior motive. 3 stars.
Kari Rhiannon (Moon Magister Reviews)
Libraries and Lynch are a good combination.

This is a rollicking novella with all the bizarre antics and humour of a game of D&D amongst friends.

Laszlo is a student of magecraft at the university and after five years of papers and book work he must complete a task prior to continuing his studies. That task is to return a book to the great library. It is significantly more easily said than done...

An excellent novella to sit down with and read in one wild half hour.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2018
It was great to read Scott Lynch again, and this story is perfect for library folk. I love Lynch’s imagination, and he really let it run wild in this story. I especially liked the librarians who led the aspirants into the Living Library.
What fun! Everyone needs to buy it and read it.
Michael Burnam-Fink
In the Stacks is high-concept fantasy novella let down by merely average execution. At the magical University of Hazar, the 5th year exam in returning a library book. What makes this challenging is that it's a magical library, a magical space full of monsters and traps, and librarians are more like D&D adventurers than bibliophiles and emergency social workers.

Conan the Librarian from Weird Al's UHF

There are some good ideas: the premise and the vocabovore goblins foremost among them, but a story
Andy Horton
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun novella from Scott Lynch. A variant on the magical university, librarians-as-warriors subgenre. University students face a terrifying challenge - returning a library book.
Felt a bit YA, though not in a bad way. Scott Lynch revised this juvenilia, acknowledging it's not the book he'd have written now.
Of course, it's not very realistic. University librarians are depicted as fearsome warriors and powerful sorcerers, facing terrible monsters in the supernatural library. But they don't have the
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Scott Lunch delivers. He is a master of succinct imagery. You don't see words when you read his stories, you watch it unfold in your mind. He knows that "brevity is the soul of wit", and has a unique mind. Every book or story has tropes of one kind or another, and he knows how to own them and make them his own.

My only complaint is that I thought there would be more to certain scenes. Perhaps it's that I long for this to be a full fledged novel.

I highly recommend his Gentleman Bastard series. Gi
Joseph Vanucchi
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This could be a five star story. I think I have a short attention span, because besides REH Conan, it's hard for me to relate enough with ANY short story to grant it 5 stars. Now that that's cleared up (lol), it was great reading something by Lynch even if it's not literally "new". He's an amazing author who i hope isn't done with his creation of awesome works!
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, quick read. As a former librarian, it's not often I get to read about the heroics of my former profession in fantasy literature. I will say that a certain twist in it is a little blatant, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the tale. ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff, short
This is a light-hearted, adventurous look at a very dangerous library. I’d read so much more set in the universe contained within this library, and I wanted much more of this book than was here. But I did enjoy what there was.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic take about a library and the overworked caretakers. Absolutely adored everything about this start to finish.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. Lynch provided a short, sharp, witty adventure with inventive worldbuilding, well-visualized characters, and an enjoyable sarcastic romp through a dangerous magical library.

The only other thing I could ask for would be more of it. I would gladly read more stories in the Library, hell, if Lynch would expand on the world I would read the hell out of it.

Although, a nice short story is well worth it too.
Belinda Lewis
VOCABUVORES!! And some other cleverness in a short magic school / magic library romp.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Another brilliant work and a must read for fans of Scott Lynch! In the Stacks was incredibly creative, adventurous and written in the style I’ve come to love!
3 1/2 stars.
3.5. Entertaining, but brief and accordingly lacking in depth.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast, fun adventure about returning books in the world's most dangerous library. It's witty and ridiculous, but you can tell it's the author's first pro work. There are some rough edges, and the ending feels abrupt despite being well seeded. Still, it's such a blast that the flaws are easily forgiven. If you want a quirky fantasy novella with a great concept and unique atmosphere, look no further. Good stuff. ...more
If you need to wear full armors to fight monsters just to return a book and pass your exam then it surely will be an interesting adventure. It started out that way but then there was this plot line that defied such a hype and significantly lowered the stakes.
I do appreciate the idea of a magical library that fights back and all, but not the overall execution. Nevertheless, it has been years since my last Lynch so I am glad I read this if it's just to quench my thirst before The Thorns of Emberl
I wanted to like this, but I just couldn't do it. I really couldn't stand the Podcastle narration. In particular, the woman's voice of the female librarian was way too over the top. If I find this in print, I'll read it again and give it a rating. Right now, my rating would be tarnished by the voice "acting." ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
I don't know. Maybe it was the multiple cast. But this droned on and I had a hard time focusing. Then again, I supposedly read this story in an anthology a couple of years ago and nothing about it is familiar.

Must not have left much of an impression the first time either.
Althea Ann
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
A renowned school for wizards has the largest collection of grimoires known to man. Strange things happen when you collect that many spells in one place - and the final exam features just one task: return a library book to the shelves. Fun and funny; a must for Scott Lynch's fans. ...more
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I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 2, 1978, the first of three brothers. I've lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area my entire life; currently, just across the border in Wisconsin, about half an hour east of the Twin Cities.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, my first novel, was bought by Simon Spanton at Orion Books in August, 2004. Prior to that I had just about every job you usually see in this s

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