HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
Loading...

The Forbidden Library (2014)

by Django Wexler

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2571644,496 (3.72)13
Recently added byprivate library, kartiksoneji, snarica, Narumon, smiller8679, macsbrains, cabyrum, Snazel
  1. 00
    Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (Dragget)
    Dragget: Both of these feature books as a source of magic, though in unique ways.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
After overhearing an insect-like black fairy in the kitchen arguing with her father, Alice is informed that her father is dead and she is ordered to go and live with Geryon, an unknown uncle who has a massive library which she is forbidden not only to enter but also to not read any books inside it. Ashes, a talking cat who admits to being only half a cat sneaks her inside, but the minute she begins to read she is thrown inside the book. Getting inside the library and the book, however, prove to be the easy challenges. She must use her wits and her unknown powers for the numerous, perilous adventures that she is thrown into. This absorbing, exciting, mysterious fantasy with likable, well-developed characters will be loved by tweens and others.

Sharyn H. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.
( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. As a librarian I have a strong belief in the magic of reading and the ability of readers to immerse themselves in the books they are reading. In a world full of so many distractions we need to be reminded that books can transport us to other worlds.

Access to the book was via Netgalley, with many thanks. ( )
  MargaretPemberton | Feb 19, 2017 |
Although it took a while to get into this book, once I did I found"The Forbidden Library" to be a great action fantasy. I loved the concept of the Readers and their ability to enter the books they read. With magical creatures and an undertone of hostility and cruelty, I throughly enjoyed Wexler's world building, and thought, Ashes, Alice's talking companion, was a wonderful character. His attitude was captured perfectly. It was obvious that the author is the owner of at least one cat.

Although Alice was only a young protagonist, she was remarkably level-headed, resourceful and intelligent for such a tender age. I think tween girls will really like her and enjoy following her adventures as she tried to solve a range of mysteries that her uncle sets for her. I enjoyed this book enough to find the sequel, and I look forward to seeing what adventures Alice has to face next. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 10, 2017 |
I wanted so much to love it, but it never quite clicked for me.

Library copy ( )
  Kaethe | Oct 17, 2016 |
Twelve-year-old Alice is a stickler for the rules. She certainly wasn’t trying to eavesdrop when, late one night, she overheard her father’s heated conversation with a fairy, and about her, of all things. Nor could she find it in her heart to speak up about her innocent trespass when her obviously troubled father announced a sudden lengthy voyage at sea. Now his ship is sunk with all hands drowned, and Alice is shooed off to the estate of a supposed uncle she’s never met -- an estate called the Library, and dominated by a labyrinthine example of its namesake. Within its walls Alice has to set the rules aside, because she’s surrounded by creatures that will manipulate her powers as a Reader for their own agendas, and she’ll need to play their game to find the truth about her father.

The creatures of The Forbidden Library are probably my favourite thing about the book. They avoid the simplicity of some fairy tales where everything beautiful is good, and everything ugly is rotten to the core; here, even the downright adorable is bloody dangerous. The waspish fairy Vespidian might broadcast his nature from the very first, but you also have hordes of sweet, comical kiwi-like birds that are so murderously dangerous they have to be imprisoned in their own realm, and giant talking cats who are playing the long game in which Alice might be their ally or merely their pawn.

Everything and everyone here has its own agenda, and there are no exceptions for family or the presumably future love interest. The closest thing Alice has to a friend is a self-centred talking half-cat. This very agenda-driven magical world is one of the story’s greatest strengths, but in a roundabout way it also contributes to one of its greatest weaknesses, which is the character of Alice.

I really wanted to like Alice, because she’s fabulous on paper -- she’s intelligent, resourceful, and self-reliant. But I couldn’t connect to her, and I think the main reason for that is because she has no one she can be a true equal with, no one she can be herself with and thereby give me a hook into her emotions. She doesn’t have any friends. The people we choose as friends and how we choose to be with them are a significant part of who we are at any age, but at Alice’s age, it’s all the more defining. We don’t just love other plucky young lasses of fantasy like Hermione Granger because of her intellect and ingenuity, we love her because of her loyalty and her compassion and her ability to balance emotional vulnerability with great strength, and all of those dimensions that come out of a person in the way they relate to the ones they love. Without those, Alice feels sort of flat.

For a bibliophile like myself, book-based magic is an easy sell, but I really do like the magic system presented here. Alice is a Reader, which gives her the ability to read books that would be incomprehensible to an average person. Some of those books are portals to other worlds. Some of them lead into prison realms which hold nasty critters captive, and the only way out is to kill them or force them to submit, at which point they and their powers become the Reader’s to manifest. There’s a good ethical quandary here too -- due to the nature of their acquisition, the Readers’ powers are rooted in death or slavery, which does get called out by at least one character, and it’s not a quandary that Alice can resolve in one book.

This is where the book’s other weakness lies, though. This is a library full of magical books that can take you to other worlds. That’s basically everything I ever fantasised about as a kid. I am the target audience for this book (well, okay, the me of twenty years ago is), so I should’ve been really excited. But the other worlds just aren’t really that fantastical. We don’t get to see all that much, and those we do get to see feel like fairly mundane set-pieces rather than wondrous pocket worlds. Even Alice never seemed to have any emotional reaction or sense of wonder about what she was experiencing, when, as someone passionate about books, shouldn’t she be pretty blown away by the fact that they contain worlds and she’s one of the chosen few who can traverse them? Ten-year-old me is off hyperventilating somewhere at the very idea.

I like the book enough to continue with the series, for sure. Wexler’s writing is really enjoyable to sink into. He doesn’t talk down to his audience and he has an evocative but not overwrought way of describing things that makes me think I would enjoy his adult books very much. But I’m hoping that this book’s sequels can deliver a little more depth and a little more wonder. All of the ingredients are here, they just need to gel.

Review from Bookette.net ( )
  Snumpus | Aug 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Sakaki and the Tomoes, who are 100% cat and proud of it.
First words
Much later, Alice would wonder what might have happened if she'd gone to bed when she was supposed to.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803739753, Hardcover)

The Forbidden Library kicks off a brand new classic fantasy series perfect for fans of Coraline, Inkheart, and The Books of Elsewhere

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:40 -0400)

When her father is lost at sea shortly after meeting a very unusual visitor, Alice must leave her home to live with an "uncle" whose rural Pennsylvania estate includes a massive and mysterious library that holds much more than books.

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.72)
0.5
1
1.5
2 2
2.5 1
3 17
3.5 2
4 24
4.5 2
5 7

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 125,366,388 books! | Top bar: Always visible