by Jim C. Hines
DAW Books New York, NY 2013
I read The Libriomancer shortly after it was published and was hooked. Here was magic any reader could relate to. The idea that you can step into a book and pull out the “magic” appeals to anyone who resonates with what they read.
Issac Vanio is a Libromancer. He discovered the skill as a teenager when he reached into a book and pulled out Smudge, his pet flamespider. In the first book Issac is developing his powers and testing his limits. He finds that he is particularly talented. He’s not an especially powerful magician, but he has a creative mind, a wide interest in reading, and an eidetic memory.
We learn that the art of Libromancy has been around since Gutenberg, and the printing press. In fact Gutenburg used his magic to reach into the Bible and produce the Holy Grail, which has kept him alive and working all these years. He’s also responsible for “locking” books so that no one can use their magic. For instance, all the D and D texts are locked.
In the first book we are introduced to a psychologist for Libromancers, Nidhi. She is assigned to essentially keep Issac from killing himself in his enthusiasm to learn more. We also meet Lena Greenwood, the only known sentient being to be pulled from a novel. The vampires, werewolves and other similar things come into our world because people reach into those novels and become infected. There are even “sparklers”.
In this novel the adventures of Issac continue. But the novel is actually focused to a large degree on Lena. She is a dryad and the novel she comes from is essentially a sex slave fantasy. Here we get to see Lena struggling to become her own person and maintain her independence, even as she continues to be influenced by the people she becomes close to.
We also get the hint of a new wave of magic. How do the e-readers impact Libromancy? Does the written word really need to be written? Are there other ways this magic can be accessed and applied? It’s these kinds of questions Issac lives for and he jumps in with both feet, consequences be ……..
I am enjoying this series and can hardly wait for more. Given the outcome of this book, who knows what Issac will do next?