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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Libromancer: Book 1 Magic Ex Libris" by Jim C. Hines (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)




Visit Jim. C. Hines Official Website Here

 Read FBC's review of Hines' Stepsister Scheme here

OVERVIEW: 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.

FORMAT: Libriomancer is an urban fantasy novel that is rich with magic, secret societies, adventure, and humor. It is the first book of a series and was published by DAW on August 7, 2012.

ANALYSIS: It is my belief that there are two types of readers in the world; those that sit down and just read the words of a book and those that live the book. Those that are classified in the second category live, breathe, and become all consumed with the characters, plots, and events of a book. Sometimes this happens with one book, sometimes it happens with every book that they read, but it happens.

If you have ever had an experience like the above mentioned situation then Libriomancer is a book for you. Jim C. Hines has created a magic system that exists in the modern world that I only wish really existed and I'm sure that other book lovers wished existed too.

Libriomancer revolves around the idea that there is a secret group of sorcerers, known as Libriomancers. These people have the ability to open a book, reach into it, and take out anything was created in that book. This even includes people, but they would of course be copies of the individual not the actual individual.

Of course, there are limitations like the item has to fit through the size of the book and only items that were written into books that were widely distributed could be materialized. And with all magic systems, there are problems and consequences such as hearing voices, the book may drag you too far into it, and the books get charred or burned look if used too many times.

I found this entire magical system extremely captivating and intriguing. Just the simple thought that the books that are sitting on my shelf could essentially be used as weapons or that I could grab a copy of Harry Potter and pull out a wand to try and use it really fascinated me.

Hines' spent a lot of time developing this magic system and put a lot of thought into it. There would be occasional times throughout the book that I would wonder about a certain problem or loophole I discovered, only to find that that same exact question is addressed later on.

For example, I was struggling with the idea that if people could do anything with books (pull people out, use items, etc.) what would happen if something that was extremely powerful or influential was used, say The Bible. Hines addresses this exact question by having a group of Libriomancers who read all books and determine if they are a risk. If they are the book has a magical lock placed on it and people can read it, but not use it for magical purpose.

That isn't all that kept me reading this book. Jim C. Hines has a way of writing that just pulls you into the book. His writing is smooth, yet filled with humor that doesn't appear forced or awkward. The humor also does not appear at inappropriate times. If a huge fight scene is going on, Hines isn't going to have his characters rattling off one-liners in the hopes to get you laugh. You'll be sitting there in the midst of a battle or fight.  Hines even intertwines several literary references to popular books and authors into the novel without making it feel forced or awkward.

Fans of Hines' Jig the Goblin series will like the little surprise that Hines' has weaved into the novel. Jig the Goblin is one of my favorite fantasy books and I loved the way Hines' tipped his hat to that series.

The pace of the novel is just right. It takes time to fully explain everything, including history of the Libriomancers and the magic system, without bogging the book down with lengthy explanations.

Libriomancer is an urban fantasy. Unfortunately, I believe too many people will read magic, vampires, supernatural, and chalk this series up as just another one of 'those flashy urban fantasy books'. Let me tell you, it is far from it. Yes, it has the same plot elements, but it really is a unique take on the urban fantasy.

Overall, I loved this book. I think Hines has some Libriomancer magic going on because this book just pulled me in and kept me reading. If you are a fan of urban fantasy or liked Hines' other series, you will definitely enjoy this novel. Grab a copy and see for yourself, who knows there just might be a little Libriomancer inside you that is waiting to come out.

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