*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. And then I went out and bought a copy as soon as it was available because this series is THAT. GOOD.
I struggle to write a coherent review every time I read the next installment in this series. My vision gets blurry, and I struggle to find the right words, and all of that isn’t to say that there is nothing wrong with the book. It’s just that I don’t care about the flaws. I so desperately enjoy reading these that trying to maintain any amount of objectivity or clarity is improbable.
Let me also throw it out there that I read this months ago, but am just now sitting down to tell the Internet about it, so I’ve had some time to digest the story. There will be no spoilers from here on out for The Burning Page, but if you haven’t read The Invisible Library or The Masked City yet, proceed with caution.
Librarian Irene and her assistant (also dragon) Kai are reunited and back to work, though on probation. The fallout from Kai’s imprisonment is still being acutely felt, but there are new problems to contend with. When a gateway back to The Library malfunctions, Irene and Kai must make a hasty and dangerous escape from an alternate Revolutionary France. And they’re not the only ones having problems. Glitches and failures are being found throughout the library, and it is quickly discovered that The Library is under attack. Cue series baddie: Alberich.
There is a lot going on in this book. All of the threads that have been carried through the novels since The Invisible Library are still in play, and it makes life for Irene more and more challenging. Kai’s relationship to dragon royalty always seems to complicate things, and her friend Vale is suffering from Chaos poisoning/withdrawal. As always, the plot races along, and in hindsight, it’s hard to choose which threads I cared about most. Cogman is upping the ante and complexity with each book, but hasn’t (to date) dropped any balls.
I am,however, always left feeling like I want more character development. I get that all the worlds are ending and all, but I really care about interpersonal relationships, feelings, and yes, a little romance. I relish those bits of the story, and could always stand to have more of them. We’re just getting into it, and then some catastrophe is sprung on whoever is involved so we quickly transition back into the main action. If I wrote fan fiction, this universe would be ripe for some side-stories. Since I don’t, I’d be happy if the books were half as long again to make room for these stories.
My single concern about the series as a whole at this point is that this pace will continue in a way that ends up making things slightly ridiculous. There are only so many times you can bring the main character, all of her friends, and all the worlds to the brink of annihilation, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that she can keep the series feeling new and interesting without resorting to the end of days in every book.
To be clear, this hasn’t happened yet. I’m just ready for the next book now so I’m thinking ahead.