Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Forbidden Library

(The Forbidden Library #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,230 ratings  ·  660 reviews
The Forbidden Library kicks off an action-packed  fantasy series with classic appeal, a resourceful heroine, a host of magical creatures, and no shortage of narrow escapes--perfect for fans of Story ThievesCoraline, Inkheart, and Harry Potter.

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy

Hardcover, US edition, 376 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Kathy Dawson Books (first published April 1st 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Forbidden Library, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Django Wexler The second book, THE MAD APPRENTICE, came out in April. There will be a total of five books in the series -- book three should come out in early 2016,…moreThe second book, THE MAD APPRENTICE, came out in April. There will be a total of five books in the series -- book three should come out in early 2016, and one per year thereafter. (I'm writing as fast as I can!) More info on the series here:
David Justiss Oops. I meant to ask about Ashes' full name. And if anyone else wants to know, I finally found it in a internet search. His full name is "Ashes-Drifti…moreOops. I meant to ask about Ashes' full name. And if anyone else wants to know, I finally found it in a internet search. His full name is "Ashes-Drifting-Through-the-Dead-Cities-of-the-World"(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,230 ratings  ·  660 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)
Django Wexler
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Fair warning -- I wrote the book, so my review is probably a little biased. But it looked lonely with no reviews at all.
Robin Hobb
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: families who enjoy sharing books, any fantasy reader.
My quick review.

Django Wexler is a friend. I checked out The Forbidden Library as an audio book from my very unforbidden local library.

Midway through reading this, Django suggested we get together for coffee. I told him that all depended on how The Forbidden Library ended. That our friendship hung in the balance.

Yes. We are still friends. We will go out for coffee.

I found something in this book that has been missing in a lot of fantasy books I've read lately. A sense of wonder.

The protagonist
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum:

Updated: Interview with the author

I'm a big fan of Django Wexler's work. His adult epic fantasy The Thousand Names blew me away last year, putting him on my favorite author radar so I've been keeping an eye out for more from him ever since. This past year I've also read the first book of his new novella series John Golden, gone back to read one of his older published novels from a
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another of those young adult books which is totally readable by not so young adults like me:) The Forbidden Library is full of magic and books, talking cats and dragons and people who can read themselves into books. Slightly reminiscent of Jasper Fforde but in this case the main character, Alice, is not in control of where she is going and the results are frequently scary.
I enjoyed the whole thing very much indeed and it was further complemented by some delightful illustrations. Finally I discov
M.L. Brennan
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So, SO good. Django Wexler is one of those writers who, like Gaiman, Rowling, Snicket, and Lewis, can write a perfectly presented children's book that will also appeal to adults. Alice, the primary character, is clever, brave, and determined to find her father. She's a reader, and in this world that is a Reader, because that's where the magic in this book is found.

There is some delightful wonder in this book (the cats and the swarmers were my favorites) but it's also one of those books that is
I wanted to read this book the moment I found out about it. It sounded like the perfect blend of fantasy, magic and adventure - and in a magical library, no less! with talking cats!

So I jumped into it excitedly, once I got my hands on a copy. I expected to like it. I wanted to like it.

And yet...

It took me more than half the book to even get into it at all. Until then, it was a struggle. It had all the right ingredients, but it lacked something. Spirit? Excitement? I don't even know. Everything
Althea Ann
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read Wexler's previous book (The Thousand Names), and liked it well enough that I picked this up even though I saw that it was aimed at a younger audience. I didn't expect to like it *quite* as much, due to that fact.

I needn't have worried. I loved this book. It may seem like an exaggeration, but with 'The Forbidden Library' Wexler slips under Diana Wynne Jones' mantle - and is fully worthy of it. (Now, if only Miyazaki would option this story, as he did Wynne Jones' 'Howl's Moving Castle,' an
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
I really, really loved this book. Here we have a young, smart, capable, and brave young lady thrown into a completely new world where magic is real and books can transport you to magical places.

It was whimsical and funny and slightly creepy and had an interesting mystery and premise. What more could you want in a book?
Lubinka Dimitrova
A delightful little book, perhaps a bit heavy on the dark atmosphere, given that its target audience are mostly children, but on the other hand, the heroine is a feisty little thing that I'd like to follow through her further adventures. And there are dragons! (The last sentence of the book was the best, btw). ...more
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reminded me of other things; books and tv. Despite the lovely prose, I didn't connect to the characters as much as I'd have liked. Having said that I'm not the target audience and I know younger me would've read it many times, in the dark! ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read, 2014-read
Actual rating: 3.50

The Forbidden Library series:
Book 1 - The Forbidden Library: 3.50 (3*)
Book 2 - The Mad Apprentice: 3.75 (4*)
Book 3 - The Palace of Glass: 3.75 (4*)
Book 4 - The Fall of the Readers: 3.75 (4*)
Viv JM
This was quite a fun story- a plucky heroine, talking cats, magical books. And even a dragon :-)
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Executive Summary: While I don't make it a point of reading much YA, let alone "Middle Grade" books, I enjoyed this enough to pick up the next one when it comes out.

Full Review
I mostly decided to check this one out on the strength of The Thousand Names and generous nature of Mr. Wexler in doing a Q&A with my small Side Reads group last year.

I don't have kids of my own, so it's hard for me to gauge how much the target demographic would enjoy this. I can only really weigh in with the thoughts
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist

You had me at talking cat now you throw in an arrogant boy too? Be still my heart :P

This was a fun middle-grade book. I like what I've seen of the magic system, especially since it relates to books! I'm pretty sure I'm a Reader. ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Good entertaining read, will finish the series.
Casey Blair
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Heroines with agency and functional critical thinking faculties are my favorite. As are cats.
Abi Doughty
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Alice lives quite an ordinary life until one day she creeps down to the kitchen and sees her father talking to a fairy and wonders whether she has been imagining things. Soon after, Alice goes to live with a man claiming to be her uncle and discovers that magic is real (and seems to be largely unpleasant). Her uncle bans her from entering his library alone, but soon curiosity gets the better of Alice and she goes exploring. The library is a labyrinthine place in which the layout is constantly ch ...more
Alice is terrific. She lives with her father in New York in the 1920s, perhaps. She finds herself orphaned at the beginning of the story, and sent to live with a mysterious relative with an even more mysterious library. (A library with thousands of books and shifting corridors. I want to go there!) I She quickly stumbles on a portion of the truth, and has to go through several trials, forcing her to think and act quickly and decisively. She has the assistance, or hindrance, of a talking cat (lov ...more
I liked this book, and I loved Alice as a character -she has so much agency- but I really hate it when a book doesn't wrap up any of its conflicts by the end. I couldn't believe it was over because literally none of her problems have been solved. I felt like I reached the end of the sample, not the end of a book. ...more
Maria Isabel
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is very awesome, almost like Alice In Wonderland so yeah you end up in a book!! Anyway this is an awesome book especially since it talks about my most favorite thing in the world!! BOOKS, and it very nice almost like Inkheart.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is a middle-grade story about a girl named Alice who stumbles into a world where reading books literally takes her to new worlds. Unfortunately, those worlds seem to frequently be filled with deadly beasts and the real world with ancient and heartless Readers doesn’t seem all that much better. The Forbidden Library pulled me in the second I saw the first illustration and I can’t wait for the sequel! The ARC I read didn’t actually have all the illustrations ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
Reminds me of a cross between Inkheart and Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - the ability to enter books crossed with a heroine with a wonderfully strong sense of agency.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know this was meant for a younger audience but I loved this story. The magic system is very creative and I can't help but feel Harry Potter fans would love this series. ...more
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
The Forbidden Library Saga is far more appetizing to me than any other Django Wexler’s books, perhaps because of the many grains of fantasy that dissipate through its pages from the very beginning.
For me, the initial impression it left was: the mixture of all fairy-tales. It firstly reminded me of Coraline because of the cat that guides Alice through the book labyrinth; next, it spectaculously morphed into a Graveyard book when Mr. Black’s character appeared-his name really reminded me of poor
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to get an advanced copy of this book at NYCC. This is a fantasy adventure tale for middle graders and older.

Not all books are equal. Some books are more than just a collection of words but are magical portals. Such special books also serve as a form of containment unit for various creatures. The select few who can open these portals are called 'Readers' because they can read themselves into a book. This ability, however, comes with a catch. Once inside a book, the only way out is
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Huge thank you to Kathy Dawson Books and Netgalley for this ARC!

Ever since I saw the cover for The Forbidden Library, I knew I had to have it. I love library adventures, and when a book is set in a library or is about uncovering ancient information, or it just has a lot of humor in its approach, I just get giddy on the inside. Django Wexler's The Forbidden Library is fairly dark at times for a children's book, but there's a lot of mystery and intrigue, just as their is courage and crazy.

Alice is
Ruqayah Abbas
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
When I was searching for Harry Potter books, this book pop up on a searching area and from the title “forbidden library” I thought what this book is? Not allowed books or from the cover I thought is the horror library!
Honestly, for any book, wants to read or download, I will search for the author or the book its self, but it was the first time reading Django Wexler's book. So when audiobook downloaded, I can say that I loved this book so much!
The story about a young, smart, capable, and brave
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I feel a special affinity for books about the magic of books and reading. There’s a special connection there when the author totally puts the magic of words right down on the page, quite literally. Thus, when The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler landed on my door step, I knew that I would have to clear some time in my schedule for the intrepid young heroine Alice, a feisty cat, and a stowaway. As usual, making time to read middle grade fantasy was an excellent life choice. It turns out that I ...more
Wendi Lee
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
In a lot of ways this book feels like an Alice in Wonderland retelling, but it's so much more. Alice witnesses a fairy threatening her father. This seems so far fetched that she tries to forgot what she saw, but the next day her father goes on a journey, and never returns.

Alice is shuttled off to a mysterious uncle she's never met, who has a building called the Library. Alice is an uber bookworm (yay!), but she's not allowed to step foot in the Library. And when she is finally invited in, she r
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes
  • City Spies (City Spies, #1)
  • The Poe Estate (The Grimm Legacy, #3)
  • Jinx (Jinx #1)
  • The Burning Queen (Tangled in Time #2)
  • Not Your All-American Girl
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone
  • Story Thieves (Story Thieves, #1)
  • Monster High/Ever After High: The Legend of Shadow High
  • A Tale of Witchcraft... (A Tale of Magic, #2)
  • Ghosts of Greenglass House (Greenglass House #2)
  • The Last Spell (The Thickety, #4)
  • The Quest for Aztec Gold: Mexico (Secret Agent Jack Stalwart, #10)
  • The Arctic Code (Dark Gravity Sequence, #1)
  • The Deceivers (The Greystone Secrets, #2)
  • Well of Witches (The Thickety, #3)
  • More than a Princess (More Than a Princess, #1)
  • The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (Black Hollow Lane, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays g ...more

Other books in the series

The Forbidden Library (4 books)
  • The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library, #2)
  • The Palace of Glass (The Forbidden Library, #3)
  • The Fall of the Readers (The Forbidden Library, #4)

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
45 likes · 65 comments
“Have you never picked up a book you've read before, and found it speaks to you in a new way?” 33 likes
“Much later, Alice would wonder what might have happened if she had gone to bed when she was supposed to.” 9 likes
More quotes…