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The Library of Shadows

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  3,235 ratings  ·  505 reviews
Imagine that some people have the power to affect your thoughts and feelings when you read, or they read a book to you. They can seduce you with amazing stories, conjure up vividly imagined worlds, but also manipulate you into thinking exactly what they want you to.

When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di L
Paperback, 430 pages
Published June 4th 2009 by Black Swan (first published 2007)
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Stephen Hayes It's in a similar genre, which one could call the lost library/second-hand bookshop genre, several of which seem to have "shadow" in their titles.

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Average rating 3.38  · 
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 ·  3,235 ratings  ·  505 reviews

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Mark Zieg
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: 12yr-olds, to prep them for better books
Recommended to Mark by: award nominee
When evaluating a book, or indeed any sort of artistic expression, the first and often unconscious step is establishing the thresholds or criteria against which it should be fairly judged. Not all plays ought be held against the standard of Shakespeare, nor all novels Dostoevsky. From the moment you first pick up a book, thoughtfully heft its weight in your hand, absorb the cover art and typeface, and casually skim the publisher blurbs and reviewer call-quotes, you begin a process of shaping exp ...more
Sep 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-reviews, fantasy
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The concept is so original and I am a great lover of books. I believe that books do have power for their readers. Making this more than metaphor within a fantasy context is ingenious.

I loved the way the paranormal reading experience is described. We get into the minds of the characters as they are exercising their abilities. I would have liked more engagement with the specific texts. I wanted to know more about how the particular books played th
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was an okay-book, but I expected more from it. The cover was SO promising - Is it possible to die for reading? As a total book nerd I wanted to scream "yes!", grab this book and read it at once.

Okay, it might be exactly what I did. And though I enjoyed the idea (seriously, The Library of Shadows? Existing next to us for more than 2400 years? What could be more exciting?!), the book felt very flat. All of the characters felt flat and kinda one-sided and I couldn't associate myself with them. A
Amy (Lost in a Good Book)
Oh my god I adored this book. How it only has an average of three stars is beyond me. This was gripping, it was suspenseful and it draws you in like no other. Given the content of the book it was amazing that it had a hold over me. It would be a disappointment if a book of this nature, about this kind of thing was uninteresting and could be put down, but this I had to drag myself away from and got annoyed when I was interrupted.

I simply loved it from start to finish, the characters were real, de
What a great book! I got it for Christmas and I'm not even sure what I thought it was about, but I was very wrong.

It's well-written, although the language isn't perhaps always the most interesting, but the characters are believable and there are some fantastic descriptions. What really sells the whole thing is that it's about BOOKS!

Let me put it like this:
What if reading was a superpower? What if by reading out loud you could change people's experience of a story, enhance their emotions and ev
Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it
To my surprise, this book turned out to be a fantasy! The plot is about a fight between two groups of readers with superpower or Lectors.

The protagonist is a lawyer with no interest in book business until his father, a well-respected shopowner, died (murdered). He inherits the shop and discovers a new secret world, in which reading has the power to alter people's mind. Lectors were divided into 2 groups after an incident in his family. And now, when they were close to unite again, violent actio
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite
This story was absolutely AMAZING! Also fascinating, spell-binding and heart-poundingly gripping. This is Mr. Birkegaard's first novel and I sincerely hope that we will be treated to another book very soon. It's an outstanding story in which I found myself avidly involved and the postulations are not that far-fetched. By that I mean when I read a book ~ especially one that's got my undivided attention ~ it very much plays like a movie. But that's all I'll say.

Originally published (and of course
Anneta K.
This book had something of the Da Vinci code and was very promising from the beggining but somehow i was a bit dissapointed by the end of the book.Overally,the concept was very original and powerful but there was something missing.I definately expected more.Nice try mr Birkegaard but i wasn't convinced!!!!!!!
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I love books about books!

Very entertaining thriller about books as magic. Set mostly in today's Copenhagen and featuring Lectors who really transform books and reading into magic, the novel is a page turner with very endearing characters and a very clean and readable style.

Fairly predictable in plot and with without too many nuances, heroes being heroic and villains being villainous so to speak, the novel succeeds because of its "book worship" setting and the endearing characters.

Highly recommended for any book lover a
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This book was a good surprise.

What I like the most was his original idea, although it also have great and interesting characters, good descriptions and fast paced action.
Rena McGee
Sep 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Imagine if some people could change the way you feel, what you think and how you are likely to behave just by reading aloud to you? And what if those people could even kill you just by reading to you and make it look like natural causes?

This was a thoughtful, intelligent thriller that was also very exciting and had plenty of action. The writing was a bit different than I am accustomed to, but I think that is a factor of the book being translated from its original Danish and it did not take anyth
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, read2016
Wow! It took me a long time to get though this book!

Well, The Library of Shadows has such an interesting premise. The main character's father Luca mysteriously dies. He was an owner of a second-hand bookshop that our main character Jon inherits (oh, isn't that the dream of every bookworm?). But John is a quite succesful lawyer who hadn't seen his father in years and thus has no interest in the bookshop. Soon he finds out that there is much more to books than he ever expected.

In the society ther
Sally Sugarman
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A bookstore in Copenhagen, what could be a better setting for a mystery? Particularly if it is so well written, even in translation. However, what starts as a mystery veers off into something closer to The DaVinci Code. People are dying in ways that appear natural, but which those in the know are aware are murders that are being covered up. Jon Campelli inherits his father’s bookstore. Jon and his father have not been in contact for many years so Jon is somewhat surprised when his father’s faith ...more
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: denmark
The summary on the backcover mentioned murder, bookshop, secret, ....and there was a beautiful cover. But this didn't prepare me to be sucked into a book that I wish I was still living in.

In Copenhagen, Denmark Libri di Luca is the oldest antiquarian bookshop in Denmark. First there was Lucca's father, now there is Lucca and ... that is till Lucca one day dies. Everything shows a natural cause but the transmittes and receivers know there is more behind.
Jon is the son of Lucca. He is a well known
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book a story of recievers and transmitters, individuals who have the power to twist and manipulate the written word in books for both the reader and the narrator. The receivers and transmitters have long been divided and the one man who has kept relative peace between the two factions is dead. When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen. Jon has not seen his father for twenty years since the mysterious death ...more
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great book! The translation is wonderful; so I'm thinking the original must be flawless. I admired the way the narrative keeps you reading, and reading, and reading like the Energizer bunny. I loved the main plot: books can affect you in countless ways and reading is a very powerful thing. I wish I could visit Libri di Luca; by reading about it, I was able to visualize it to the letter, and most important of all, I was almost able to smell it... wonderful place. Jon and Katherina make a great pa ...more
Oct 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one, although it wasn't really my usual sort of thing at all. Can't add much to the description really - it is what it says on the tin - but it has really bad baddies and sympathetic heroes, the power of the written word is a fascinating idea and there's lots of lovely booky settings (particularly the basement room at Luca's bookshop). I'm not the world's biggest fan of translations, but this one from the Danish is pretty good. Not great literature and the sci-fi edge might p ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you thought reading was magical, wait until you read this book!

I loved the story and writing style that Birkegaard uses for this thrilling and suspenseful book. He created unique characters, amazing reading superpowers (that aren’t cheesey in any way), and a plot that you can’t guess. It was kind of like reading an adult version of Inkheart with different reading abilities and way more suspense (and perhaps even murder?!).

Highly recommend for any book/library lover!
Diane S ☔
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Would have given it a 3 1/2> The premise is totally original and of course I liked reading about the books and bookshop, but I've had enough I think of secret societies lately and so...... ...more
Maja Ingrid
I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for several years now. I actually got it in an English translation, but recently found my local library carried a Swedish translation, and I figured reading something translated from Danish to Swedish would be less awkward than reading something translated from Danish to English.

It was an okay read. Not very good, but also not terrible, though it leans more towards the bad rather than the good. While the lector’s (I had to look up the English translation b
BooksAndFrogs (Mervi)
May 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
"Suddenly all the symbols on the page came rushing at him and he had to look away. He felt sweat break out on his forehead. Stubbornly he forced himself to look at the page again and started to read. His impression of the book pages instantly changed. It felt as if the words and letters were now behaving themselves, waiting for their turn to be read, instead of having all the sentences on the page creating on big confusion like before."

Luca Campelli, the owner of Libri di Luca second-hand bookst
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really cool story, but I was a bit disappointed that it's not really the page turner I was expecting. I wish there had been more action scenes and less meetings, considering this is a thriller. That said, the whole metaphor about old books versus new, or digital versus paper is really smart. The descriptions were really vivid as well and the writing is very pleasant.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-memoribilia
A very good read. Would give it a 3 and a half stars.

What would you do if you had the very power to bring your book to a film-like existence? On the other hand, had a different kind of an ability to tap into the reader's mind while he/she read her book away? These people with 'special' abilities are known as 'Lectors'. The former termed as a 'Transmitter', while the latter, 'Receiver.' Jon Campbelli, a renowned Lawyer's life turns upside down when he learn's about his father's death whom he hasn
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I adore the concept the book was trying to portray. Story telling is truly underrated and in this case fascinating with the special ability the characters possessed to influence stories. However, I found the main character to be very boring and lacking depth. In fact so were most of the characters.
I also noticed the author was too vague about important aspects like environment and too detailed on things that didn’t matter.

It’s possible all the flaws I found in the writing were due to the trans
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Great premise, unfortunately writing style and very predictable plot marred this for me. Wanted to like it so much.
Jul 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
This just did not retain my interest. Parts of the plot were so predicable, I got impatient waiting for the author to get around to revealing them. I also thought the characters were fairly generic and there seemed some fairly formulaic "secret society" themes going on. To add to these flaws, there were some pretty enormous holes in the plot that irritated me. I got bored. I did read over half of the book though, which I think is enough to give it a star rating.
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed-by-me
I don't quite know what I expected from this book; but whatever it was, after finishing I felt my expectations hadn't quite been met. Birkegaard's book has an intriguing setting, but somehow it feels as though the book never quite reaches the level of greatness it perhaps could have potential for.

The prose felt a bit clumsy to me, but as I read a translated work I can never judge if it's the author's or the translator's gawky language I detected. The plot, as good as it seems during the first f
Ana Petrina
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
The library of Shadows or Libri di Luca is a mystery/crime novel set in Copenhagen, Denmark. The story begins with the mysterious death of the owner of a bookshop Libri di Luca, which leads to a series of events for the owners son Jon, a young lawyer who hasn't had any contact with his father since his teenage years, but who still inherited the fathers bookshop. Slowly Jon begins to understand, that his father had a rare gift and was part of a secret society - and that this society is linked wit ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard 2 16 Sep 08, 2015 04:23AM  

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Mikkel Birkegaard is a Danish author of fantasy fiction. He lives in Copenhagen.

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