Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: "The Forbidden Library" by Django Wexler

Title: The Forbidden Library
Author: Django Wexler
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: April 15, 2014
Pages: 376


The Forbidden Library kicks off a brand new classic fantasy series perfect for fans of Coraline, Inkheart, and The Books of Elsewhere

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

I was a bit let down by this work. Though it's certainly not at all bad (actually a good read) I was expecting...well... more. I'm  happy that our main character is a determined young girl who is sure of herself (for the most part) and not dependent on others to help her figure out who she is and what she's after. I do wish that there had been more going on with the Library itself. The setting was so dark and mysterious! I was certain that as I learned more about the Library I would be surely drawn in to its magic and all of its whispering shadows.

Not so. The Library was SO dark and mysterious that even the reader never did find out very much about it, other than the fact that there were mysterious magical books, dark creepy corners, moving bookshelves, and a peculiar beastie watching over all of it. I could never get a proper minds eye view of what it was like... it just felt dark, musty, and full of old bookshelves that occasionally took it upon themselves to meander.

Despite the YA tag I felt that this was more for the Middlegrade market, though there were some very intense moments (drowning of or otherwise murdering of mythical animals for magical gain for example).

Great new twist on magical individuals being able to enter books for varying purposes. I did find this particular aspect of the story very intriguing, and there seem to be more books coming so I look forward to finding out exactly what's going on with all of the truths and mysteries that were not uncovered in the first work.

Somewhat reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland with the Young Girl (named Alice) following a talking furry animal into the unknown, accidentally stumbling into an alternate world,  and coming across an unexpected adventure  full of wonderous and dangerous creatures/individuals. There is also a giant grinning cat.

This is definitely not a "feel-good" magic book that leaves the reader feeling like they just went on an amazing adventure, that anything is possible, that evil can be conquered and good prevail! This is a book of magic that leaves the reader feeling as though they've just waded through a dank basement an inch deep in water, searching room after room to uncover answers to an important mystery yet finding only more questions and deeper water. Still enthralling, but certainly not cozy. 

Despite the above stated misgiving, and the somewhat confusing ending, I do plan on picking up the next book to find out what's going on. Plus, I am really rooting for our main character. I think she's pretty nifty.

Until Next Blog,

Read On!

  Auggie is the 27 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk, a part-time Reference Librarian with a degree in Anthropology and a nearly completed Masters in Library Science. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.

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