The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library #1) by Django Wexler (review)

March 4, 2015 All Reviews, Fantasy, YA 4 ★★★★

The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library #1) by Django Wexler (review)The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
Published by Penguin on April 15th 2014
Number of Pages: 384
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Source: Gift
Format: ARC
Purchase: At Amazon

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with a relative she's never heard of. Uncle Geryon turns out to be a mysterious old man with an impossibly massive library that is off limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat who sneaks her in and introduces her to an arrogant boy who dares her to open a book, and it's hard to resist. The moment she reads the first line, Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is by conquering the creature imprisoned within. Alice has stumbled into a world where all of magic is controlled by Readers through books -- and she could be one of the most powerful Readers ever.

But all Alice really wants is to find out what actually happened to her father, and if Geryon's the powerful and benevolent Reader he claims to be. The best stories have happy endings. Is Alice strong enough to create one of her own?

Don’t think of this as a middle-grade book. It has so many interesting twists on magic, and the characters and world are so well-written that any age would enjoy reading this.

I especially loved Ashes and Isaac. I want to know what Ashes other half is, since he’s always commenting on how he’s only half cat. Isaac was charming and tricky, a bit of a rogue and I can’t wait to read more about him and Alice in the next book. None of the characters are exactly friends. Friendship doesn’t seem to be encouraged in the Reader world. It’s more about alliances, which seem to change at the drop of a hat the way Isaac describes things. Which is a bit sad for Alice since she’s all alone, and learning she can’t really trust anyone. Ashes and Isaac are the ones she’s closest to, and even they aren’t completely trustworthy.

The Swarmers were pretty neat, and I loved how Alice learned to use them to her advantage. I want to see what other creatures she manages to bind to herself, and how she uses the other 2 she gained in this book in the next book.

It’s fairly unique that going into a book and defeating the creature inside, binds the creature to you. And you can then use their abilities yourself. Unfortunately there are only 2 ways to ‘defeat’ a creature. The one most Readers in this world use, is killing said creature. The other way is getting it to submit to you. Alice uses both ways in this book. She prefers getting the creature to submit, but when it becomes kill or be killed, she does what she has to.

The illustrations were really nice, though I didn’t get to see all of them as my copy was an ARC, and quite a few places had “Art To Come” in the place the picture would be. The ones I did see, were all well-done and fit what was going on in the book at the time.

A friend gave me this copy after she was done with it, some things may have changed in the final version. I’ll be picking up book 2, and I recommend reading this one if you haven’t done so already.


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4 Responses to “The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library #1) by Django Wexler (review)”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I bought a finished copy of the book myself, even after reading the ARC. The illustrations are so worth it, not to mention this was a great book. I don’t typically read MG, but I’m a huge fan of Wexler’s adult fantasy, so I jumped on this series too. Looking forward to reading book 2 soon.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Comic Stack 03/04/15: Leading LadiesMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Before this year, I would have said I didn’t usually read middle-grade. But looking at some of the books I’ve been reviewing, I must have just not been paying attention! If the synopsis sounded good, and like something I would want to read, I bought it.

      I do plan on eventually buying a finished copy of the Forbidden Library, so I can see all the illustrations in it. And as this was my first experience with this author, I’ll be looking for more of their books not in this series. Good to know they are worth picking up!

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