Libriomancer by Jim C Hines

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Libriomancer by Jim C Hines

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: What would you do if you had the power to reach into any book and pull from its pages an object? If you are a Libriomancer, this is exactly what you can do. Could come in very handy if you are sitting quietly doing some cataloguing one day, only to be attacked by three vampires.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780091953454

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Pulp fantasy may be frowned upon by some who believe that novels should be about emotions, inner journeys and despair. Fantasy and science fiction can have all these things as well, but they can also be fun, entertaining and laser pistols. ‘Libriomancer’ by Jim C Hines is a great example. It is a book that follows Isaac Vainio, a Libriomancer who has the power to draw magic from books. He must use this gift to good effect when one day, whilst sitting comfortably cataloguing, he is attacked by three vampires. Does that sound fun to you? If so, read on; if not, this may not be the book for you.

‘Libriomancer’ is a fantastic example of the fun fantasy that has seen the likes of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels sell so well. The core idea is that certain people can pull objects out of books, be it weapons, clothing or potions – as long as they fit the dimensions of the pages. For those readers who like their fantasy and sci-fi a little kooky, this is a great idea and the implications are almost endless. Which books would you delve into and for what? Hines only manages to scratch the surface of possibility in this, book one of a series. However, he still manages to cite ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, James Bond and many others.

Perhaps some of the best-realised ideas are the ones that are based on more modern text. This is a novel that sees our hero Isaac go up against vampires. Most books have one type of vampire in them, but this is a novel about vampires that have escaped from many different novels. Therefore, there are hundreds of subtle differences; from your traditional Stoker guise to more modern and tougher Meyer based foe. Hines has great fun taking well-meaning swipes at the modern vampire lore.

There is a fondness of books that permeates throughout ‘Libriomancer’; it is essentially a pulp love letter about the joys of reading. Anyone who reads a lot will get great pleasure from the enthusiasm that Hines brings to the book via his hero. An added bonus is for any readers who also love action-adventure. There is a mixture of the works of Jim Butcher and Jasper Fforde, with ideas found in books such as ‘Inkheart’. However, because Hines is able to bring so much pace and fun to the book, it is something unique to him that is produced at the end.

There are flaws with the book that will particularly grind with people not used to reading fantasy or science fiction of this type. Hines creates a world that has some strange magical rules but then proceeds to break most of them within a couple of hundred pages. How can a group of all-powerful autobots be destroyed in one go, when they have managed to survive quite well for five centuries? It is as if Hines becomes too enthralled in his own action that he forgets to stick to the rules.

I for one am happy to forgive Hines’ faults, as it is the sheer enthusiasm he brings to the story that makes it so fun to read. There are some great action sequences, wonderful fantasy ideas and a group of characters that you look forward to finding out more about in future installations. ‘Libriomancer’ is not aimed at the fantasy lover who likes their books highbrow and meaningful. Instead, it caters perfectly for a reader like myself who loves action, comedic moments, magical ideas and a spider that bursts into flames.

If this book appeals then we think you might also enjoy:

Small Favour by Jim Butcher

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Codex Born by Jim C Hines

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Buy Libriomancer by Jim C Hines at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Libriomancer by Jim C Hines at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Libriomancer by Jim C Hines at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Libriomancer by Jim C Hines at


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