- The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6).
- Genevieve Cogman.
- 336 pages.
- Fantasy / Urban Fantasy.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
Irene and Kai have to team up with an unlikely band of misfits to pull off an amazing art heist. Or they must risk the wrath of a dangerous villain, in his secret island lair. . .
As Irene tries to manage a fraught Fae–dragon truce and her overbearing parents, she’s given a hot new mission. The world where she grew up is in danger and only one book can save it.
This is held by Mr Nemo, secretive Fae villain and antique dealer, so Irene and Kai travel to his Caribbean retreat to strike a deal. But in return for the book, they must steal a painting from twenty-first-century Vienna. They’ll join a team of dragons, Fae gamblers and thieves, so their greatest challenge may be one another. And some will kill to protect this painting, which hides an extraordinary secret from a past age.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Secret Chapter is the sixth book in The Invisible Library series. I will admit that I haven’t read any of the previous books. Of course, starting a series late means that I have missed out on the past stories, character backstories, previous events and the history/relationships that have developed between the characters throughout the series. However, the story in The Secret Chapter is self-contained. As such, I was easily able to pick up, read and thoroughly enjoy my time spent with The Secret Chapter devouring it in a couple of days and finding it to be the perfect slice of escapist fun.
Irene Winters works for the Library as a Librarian. Librarians are, in fact, actual Librarians but are also highly-trained spies. The Library has multiple doorways that lead onto multiple worlds, some with in-world Librarians (like Irene) and others without. Librarians and the Library are neutral and try to keep the balance on worlds, the equilibrium and the status quo between chaos (Fae) and order (dragons) who claim and rule over various worlds. Librarians maintain the stability by collecting books (sometimes through purchasing the books and at other times through less legal and more illicit ways) and housing them in the Library.
For her latest mission, things take a personal turn for Irene and she has only ten days to find a very rare book to save the world that she grew up on, a world that has meaning to her and is close to her heart.
The book in question is in the possession of Mr Nemo, a Fae and a villain in the grandest sense. Mr Nemo’s hi-tech lair is an isolated and remote Caribbean island retreat on his own private island. He has shark tanks and feeds people to sharks, wears white clothes and a Panama hat, communicates with people seated behind his desk and through screens and he positively screams a charismatic but nefarious 1980’s Bond villain.
Mr Nemo puts together a team of skilled individuals (who are more like an untrustworthy crew with questionable ethics and morality) to steal a painting from a high-tech museum in 21st century alternate Vienna. Each individual is chosen for their own specific talent and particular skill (the driver, the tech expert, the gambler, the thief and the muscle). On the successful completion of the heist, there will be a reward for each member of the team, any artefact in Mr Nemo’s own vast collection, a service that he can immediately render to the individual or, a favour that he can grant.
In exchange for the book, Mr Nemo wants something in return, for Irene to be part of the team, that is the offer and with no other choice, Irene accepts the only deal available to her and becomes entangled in a heist to steal a painting with a hidden secret.
There’s magic in The Secret Chapter, the ‘Language‘ that Librarians use, spoken words and sentences that have power and that helps Irene to get out of some sticky situations (possibly with her ending up in some even stickier situations) during the course of the story.
As the main character, Irene is tough, clever, resilient, resourceful and intelligent. Along with Price Kai, Mr Nemo, the team involved in the heist and a few other characters she is ably supported by a secondary cast of varied characters that were all a joy to read about and who all added something to the overall story.
The story has plenty of action, moments of suspense and moves along at a fast pace. There’s a depth to the story with it going beyond being just a heist. There has been a recent peace treaty signed between the dragons and the Fae but it is a fractious peace and the team which consists of both dragons and Fae is plagued by animosity and mistrust. There are also some interesting revelations about the true history of the race of dragons added to the mix.
The Secret Chapter includes many tropes that are commonly found in heist movies including, as I have already mentioned the criminal mastermind Mr Nemo who I must say is a marvellous character and then, also, a casino scene, a high-stakes gambling scene, a high-speed pursuit through the city streets, a shoot-out, the team falling foul of the local crime boss, double-crosses galore and they are all executed brilliantly. The Secret Chapter wears those tropes like a badge of honour and I found myself relishing their inclusion in the story. Their addition along with Cogman’s impressive storytelling, wit, likeable characters, clever world-building and the lively story gives you a rollicking good mix of action-adventure and a magical heist that make for a criminally good read.
Purchase The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library #6).
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