Wednesday, 22 March 2017

#TheInvisibleLibrary by Genevive Cogman mini spoiler free review

The Invisible Library is an excellent concept for a series, and I have high hopes for subsequent novels in this series by Genevive Cogman.

The Invisible Library is a unique collection of all things regarding the written word, located stealthily between dimensions and populated by a variety of Librarian staff whose sole purpose is the acquisition of rare and important texts from around the various dimensions and worlds.

A copy of one text in one dimension may differ to that of another dimension, making it all the more significant for the Library to have it amongst their vast collection. Librarians are bound to the library via an intricate tattoo mark on their backs, and whilst time passes normally when visiting dimensions, all time within the library is stationary, allowing for an extremely prolonged life.

There is lots unexplained about the library in this book, and I personally would've liked more in the way of delving into the expanded universe and social constructs of the library and how it came to be. I'm hoping this has been done to allow for expansion in some of the future novels.

This story sees our librarian Irene tasked by her superior and partnered with a curiously handsome apprentice, to retrieve a copy of The Grimm Fairy tales from a certain dimension, as it contains an entry specific to that alternate world that is a necessity for the library to obtain.

In at effort to include elements from seemingly all fantasy fiction, covering steampunk to magic; vampires and werewolves to fae and dragons, as well as issues with rogue librarian staff and the residents of the alternate dimensions, things can and do get a bit hectic and occasionally difficult to follow, forcing me a few times to backtrack a little and make sure what I understood about the story was in fact right.

Despite this, the story kept me intrigued and gripped for the most part, and I found myself eagerly awaiting my next reading session to discover the outcome of Irene's quest for her text. The fantasy elements within this story work well with the whole mystery/secret agent nature of the library, and whilst eclectic the descriptions of people and places show a truly thought out universe whilst leaving enough to get your imaginative juices flowing.

So, not perfect, but certainly a unique, interesting and most importantly, an entertaining fantasy read. Recommended for fans of Rivers Of London, Potter, Warlock Holmes etc.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

#TheAxemansJazz by Ray Celestin mini spoiler free review

The Axeman's Jazz is a murder mystery set in New Orleans just prior to prohibition, where segregation of races is prominent; mafia presence is the norm and the soundtrack is the ever evolving blues and jazz scene.

Everyone's out to gain something for nothing, and the cast of alcoholic investigators, drug addled journalists, cops in scandalous relationships and the Italian mob really add to Celestin's grimy portrayal of the deep south. Locations too, are vividly described, ranging from the seedy underbelly of Storyville with it's illicit prostitutes, to the crowded stereotypical police offices; the dusty fields of Agnola prison and the vile, murky swamps of the bayou.

What makes this story truly intriguing and difficult to put down is Celestin's excellent blend of history, music and fiction to create a truly absorbing and suitably realistic tale of crime, corruption, murder and music.

Multiple motifs rear their ugly heads as our different circles of characters find themselves intertwining in unforeseen ways. There are some appropriately violent sections, without the addition of gore for gores sake, and despite the range and quantity of excellent characters, I still found myself suitably invested in to many of the characters.

The range of elements here is such a success as to make this debut an excellent effort in crime story telling, and worth a go for fans of such fiction, gruesome murders and jazz music.

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