Sunday, August 25, 2013

Libriomancer, by Jim C. Hines

Libriomancer, by Jim C. Hines

I really liked Hines' take on fairy tales in his Princess series of novels, so I looked forward to his approach to "magic exists in the real world but is hidden from most people" as made popular by J. K. Rowling and Simon R. Green. Hines' entry into the club is my favorite by far! Libriomancy is a magic that allows people to use a book as a portal, pulling any item described within into our world. This unique concept is used to great effect, such as the hero wearing a Babel fish which allows him to understand any and all languages. Good stuff!

Libriomancy was created by Johannes Gutenberg, who it turns out was a frustrated sorcerer. He believed that there was magic in books, and the more people that read the book, the stronger the magic—and thus invented the printing press to amplify his access to the mystical arts. Fast forward nearly 600 years and there is a secret society of libriomancers dedicated to protecting the world from supernatural threats. Gutenberg is still alive (thanks to the Holy Grail), the head of the organization, and the most powerful person alive. He has also disappeared; cue adventure!

This novel is a literary pop culture smörgåsbord: lightsabers, disruptors, Excalibur are only a few of the weapons pulled from various novels, and the Love Magnet of Oz and Tinkerbell's Pixie Dust are other entertaining tools used along the way. Enemies include many different kinds of vampires (via Charlaine Harris to Anne Rice to Bram Stoker himself), although Professor Moriarty, Hannibal Lecter, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and Norman Bates all make an appearance of sorts.

I loved, loved, loved this book! Since finishing it yesterday I've spent all kinds of time thinking about what I'd conjure up if given the opportunity. The Tarnhelm would be cool, as would a Green Lantern ring. Taking the winning lottery ticket from Paycheck would mean I wouldn't have to launder money somehow...

First Sentence:
Some people would say it's a bad idea to bring a fire-spider into a public library.

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