Monday, January 8, 2018

Lost Plot

The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library Novel) by [Cogman, Genevieve]

The Lost Plot (Invisible Library #4)- Genevieve Cogman
Ace/ Penguin Group
Release Date: January 9, 2018

Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead


Synopsis: In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can’t extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They’ll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library’s own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn’t end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene’s job. And, incidentally, on her life...


After the excitement and near-death experiences involved in taking out rogue Librarian Alberich in The Burning Page, Librarian Irene is hoping for a few quiet days reading a good book.  Unfortunately, Irene has a talent for innocently involving herself in major plots- and this time dragons are involved.  The Library's neutrality is being threatened in a power contest between two dragons and Irene and Kai need to contain the damage before the Library, other Librarians, and an entire world are destroyed.

In an interesting change of pace, in Lost Plot Genevieve Cogman leaves her traditional steampunk Victorian-era London for a 1920s New York.  With mobsters, Prohibition, guns and fedoras, it's a world we'd call pretty 'normal'.  Cogman doesn't give us overly detailed descriptions of this world, which works well for maintaining the fast pace of the book but is a shame since it means her fantastic world-building skills aren't particularly used here.  Maybe Irene can go back in a later book so we can enjoy more detailed descriptions of the time period.  Although by the end of Lost Plot, that New York was a little shaken up and might not welcome Irene back.

I enjoyed watching Irene work through this new set of problems and seeing her character grow even more.  She's gaining a Harry Dresden-like talent for balancing between the rules of different magic users while still getting to what she wants in the end.  And I like seeing her continue to grow from a "books only" focus- by the end of Plot she can put into words what she's felt instinctively for awhile: if you're willing to risk everything for a book, shouldn't you be willing to do the same for a person?

While Cogman will probably never be able to top her alligators in The Invisible Library, dragon trained dire wolves get a role here and a nice scene towards the climactic battle at the end.  Plot delves into the world of dragons and dragon politics the way Masked City did for the Fae.  While we are probably never meant to know too much as mere humans, Irene is becoming an expert among Librarians- something that I can readily see getting her further into politics than she'd like in future books.

The necessity to keep the Library and dragons separate naturally means Irene worries about her relationship with Kai.  Are they just as compromised in their neutrality as the Librarian Evariste is accused of being?  Irene doesn't have much time to worry about this until the very end of the book, but it looks like something that will get much more attention in future books.  Kai doesn't get too much 'page time' in Plot (and the scenes he gets solo drag down the overall pace a bit), but you see the relationship between the two changing from student-teacher to something more like equals as Kai grows into his place among dragons.  I do hope that future books won't try to create a romantic relationship between the two because I haven't felt a single spark of convincing chemistry between Irene and Kai in the whole series.  Trying it now would feel very contrived to me and I think having them as only friends/colleagues would make them both stronger.

While each book in the series is pretty stand alone and new readers don't need to have read the rest of the series to enjoy Lost Plot, they will get more out of some of the background, characters, and conflicts if they do.  The Lost Plot lives up to the high standards Genevieve Cogman set for herself in The Invisible Library.  Fast-paced and full of twists and turns, it is a fun continuation of the adventures of Irene and the Library.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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