Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Series: Magic ex Libris
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Contemporary
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Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic...

This book is the perfect example of why I should listen to my brain about a book instead of my heart.

My heart told me: they use books to pull things through into our world. My heart also told me that the author is an amazing person (which he is) and that I should read all his books in support.

My brain told me: I don't like urban fantasy. I've tried several times but there's always something holding me back from liking - much less loving - any UF book that I've read. (The real test will come when I read Lindsay Buroker's UF series.)

So, listening to my heart instead of my brain, I read it. And, honestly, was mostly bored through it. Sure, there were things I liked and things I didn't, but my overwhelming thoughts are of indifference and, while I was reading it, wondering when it would be over.

I can definitely see this book appealing to people that already like urban fantasy. The idea behind the world building - basically that certain people can reach into books and draw things out - is inventive and super creative. Though more than once it also left me feeling that that was too easy.

I have no complaints about Isaac, which in and of itself is unusual. He's got several fairly typical traits of UF main males - such as his snark and his getting beat up. (I've given it my all, but now I have to dig even deeper and give just a little bit more.) But no, don't worry, he's okay. (Though his beating is more mental than physical.) But, he's a nice guy, with a great sense of humor and he'd be someone fun to hang out with. At least once everyone and their grandmothers stopped trying to kill him.

I also love the fire-spider, Smudge. And I HATE spiders. Seriously, the creepy crawly things are just ugh. But, Smudge is so great that I was left kind of wanting one for a pet.

Then there's the requisite love interest. Who, thankfully enough, isn't just a love interest. (Unlike most other UF books I've read.) Looking at Lena objectively, she's a compelling character - and there's plenty of opportunities for a 'free-will' argument/discussion with her. She is also NOT stick thin. However, and I think this is partially because of what she is, I've failed to get attached to her.

The plot is pretty typical. A bit of a war breaking out between vampires and our select group of magic users. Things are kept from being too predictable by the fact that there are a whole passel of different 'breeds' of vampires. Sometimes I definitely though there were too many, but it does make some sense. And there's indications that all is not as it seems.

While reading the book, a head/heart battle started again. Only this time it was over me knowing objectively that the book is probably good for UF fans, and me not really liking it much.