Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer

Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris #1)
Jim C. Hines
(urban fantasy)

This book has a very fun premise, one that I absolutely love: magic is real, and works by allowing those who can use it to pull items out of books. You could reach into Harry Potter and pull out the Elder Wand, or get the One Ring from LOTR, or Excalibur from any of the books about King Arthur. (And each version of Excalibur would have powers that vary based on which book you retrieved it from, since the different authors wrote different things.) What bookworm hasn’t wanted to be able to use the objects found in books? And this doesn’t just apply to fantasy novels, but to Westerns and Sci-Fi and history books as well.

The plot also was interesting. To simplify: vampires and the keepers of the magic are on the brink of a war that each thinks the other has started. In order to stop this war before it actually starts, a former magician goes back in the field to find the person who’s really behind it all.

Even as interesting as I found this novel, however, it took me a while to read all of it. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the main characters as I wanted to be. Perhaps I haven’t yet gotten the desire for re-reads out of my system, and so reading a book that references books I’ve already read was just reminding me that I really wanted to be re-reading books instead of discovering a new one. I’m not sure. I did enjoy the book, and I will be looking for the sequel when it comes out. On the other hand, I had gotten this book from the library when I read it, and I think I will be buying it for a Christmas present for one of my family members instead of buying a copy for myself. (It is purchase-worthy. Don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think it’s one for my personal keeper shelf, hence the gift idea.)

I think my favorite part of the whole idea was how things could get out of books accidentally. For instance, take someone who doesn’t realize she can access the magic. And let’s say this person is really into werewolf books. Well, she could – without realizing what she’s doing – reach into a book about werewolves, get bitten by one, and get infected, turning herself into a werewolf in the process.

Like I said, I really love the premise.

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