Libriomancer by Jim C Hines

LibriomancerA review by Nalini Haynes

I have a rule: I don’t review books that I buy. I couldn’t afford to run Dark Matter if I paid for review books. However, every now and then, a book comes along that is particularly worthy of discussion; Libriomancer is one such book.

Isaac Vainio, a geek, catalogues books for a secret magical society because he was booted out of field work after a massive screw-up. He’s banned from using libriomancy, the art of interfacing with books to, for example, pull Lucy’s healing potion out of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The story begins as a huge fan service, referencing books you’ll love and a few you’ll possibly loathe. Flippancy and magic combine to make this a must-read for Harry Dresden fans and all our ilk.

But wait, there’s more.

Isaac is banned from using magic except in extreme circumstances; three Meyerii (sparkly vampires) try to take Isaac down at work one day so he uses magic. Then Lena Greenwood appears to save his ass.

Lena Greenwood is a dryad, a nymph who sleeps in a tree. She’s a sex-nymph, the ideal lover who moulds herself to fit her lover.

Queue justifiable feelings of revulsion from this reader. I would not have gone past this point in the story had the author been anyone other than Jim C Hines, calendar girl. Reading on paid off.

Lena’s lover has been kidnapped by vampires. Lena expects her lover to either be killed or turned. Being turned would force Lena to change into something she did not want to become so Lena sought out Isaac as a replacement lover.

Isaac struggles with his genuine attraction for Lena versus his ethical loathing of assuming some kind of power or control over another sentient being. At first I was appalled but as Isaac worked through the issues I began hoping Isaac would get the girl.

As Libriomancer concludes, there is a resolution for this romance. It’s an unusual resolution for which Hines gives excellent justification. I am in awe.

Libriomancer is a high fantasy action adventure with a high-octane plot cross-woven with the most interesting romance I’ve read in some time. I highly recommend Libriomancer