Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Title: Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris #1)
Author: Jim C. Hines
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Acquired Via:
Personal Collection

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. . . .

My Review*

This book is Awesome. Now let me tell you why.

Isaac’s life was boring and somewhat dull, until a trio of vampires stormed into his library to make his life a hell of a lot more complicated, interesting, and shorter. And they didn’t even have their library cards on them! From then on, things start moving fast. Not rushed at all, but the story never really stopped growing. The writing is very good, as are the characters, plot, twists, everything.

The brand of magic in this world is really cool. If you’re Isaac Vainio, our main character and intrepid librarian, you get to pull items out of books and into reality. Items like Excalibur, a Phaser (if you’re around kids, remember to set it to stun!), a skull by the name of Bob (!!!), or even The One Ring. Now, say it with me: A-WE-SOME.

But that would be too simple. Say you want to pull out Excalibur, what you get depends on which book you have in your hand and how the sword is described in it (magic sword that cuts through everything, or regular sword with a fancy hilt and proper name). Want to pull out Harry’s magic wand? Careful, you might graze a Dementor. Or reach into the wrong book and have vampire fangs break the skin and turn you. Some of the most dangerous book are magically sealed by Gutenberg (the same one as the printing press), still alive and kicking after a bit over 500 years (thanks to the Holy Grail), and leading The Porters (Libriomancers). I’ll try to get over my love for the magic system, to tell you a bit more about the characters and story.

Ok, characters. I like Isaac a lot. Tormented, as every good main character seems bound to be, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of grabbing a book, whipping out a disruptor, and blowing a vampire to ash (and if you’ve read any book with a vampire in it, especially Twilight, I’m sure you’d like to do that too. Repeatedly.) He’s also smart, funny and a big geek. What’s not to like!

Lena (nymph, sidekick, bokken wielding, troubled) is pretty nice too. I didn’t like her much at first, but as the story goes, you get to know her and understand what makes her tick. She’s also pretty kick-ass. If you read this book and don’t like her in the beginning, trust me, you will. She’s good people.

Each character has his or her own voice, which I liked. I hate it when all characters sound the same, or have the same sense of humor, and the only way to tell who’s talking is when the author puts their name in (What’s-his-face said, blah blah). Not here. They’re all distinct, and easy to form a mental picture.

The plot and pace are what made this book stand out for me. They reminded me of some of the great Urban Fantasy books I’ve read. A great mix of action, mystery, intrigue, humor; all woven together seamlessly. Ready to grab you and not let go until it’s done with you. I loved this book. As soon as I can whittle down my long, long, long to read list, I’m going to hunt down other books written by Jim C. Hines and read those too. I’m looking forward to Codex Born, book two in the Magic Ex Libris series.

That almost sounded like a proper review thingy, didn’t it?! *grin*

Go forth and buy your copy of Libriomancer today!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond

*This is my first review in some time, and translating my thoughts and feelings into words doesn’t come as easy. My reward for writing this will be a good book, warm bed, lovely wife, and a stay of execution from Kayla. *nervous chuckles*


  1. It may not have come easy, but it's a great review. Your excitement over the book is palpable, and very infectious. Sounds like just the kind of book I'd enjoy, I am definitely going to check it out. You had me at Bob, that pervy possessed skull makes my top 5 favorite urban fantasy side characters any day. Every day.

    ~ Lindie

  2. Will is definitely infectious! I suppose I can give him a stay of execution... this time. ;-)

    I had not heard of this book before Will reviewed it, but it's on my radar now. He always finds the best books.


You are going to put words in my box?! *squeezes you* Now I shall stalk YOUR blog!