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The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman
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I didn't seem to love this book as much as many of the other reviewers out there. Perhaps it was because I haven't read the other books in the series, but, maybe not.

I was never lost in the book even though I haven't read The Invisible Library #1-3. But, it always just seemed off. Perhaps it's because I have read too many other books where the library is a thing (like Warehouse 13 and The Librarians), and so my brain was having a bit of cognitive dissoance while reading.

It was a fun plot for sure. Irene and Kai were super interesting characters, and I wound up caring about what happened to them. And the Dragons and Fae and such, oh my... It was an intricate plot too, and that's always fun. But, I just found that I could never fully get in it, for whatever reason.

Still, it was a fun read, and the first three are definitely on my TBR list now. Maybe if I try this again after reading those I'll love it more than anything.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley on behalf of Ace/Berkley Publishing Group ( )
  DanieXJ | Mar 6, 2018 |
I've been enjoying this series, so when The Housemate told me that it had come from the library, I was thrilled. Alas, though this installment is good, I found that it lacked the excitement of the first three, though I'm still not quite sure why.

The story involves a rare book, of course, and several factions who want to find it. When the neutrality of The Library seems about to be compromised, Irene and Kai are sent to investigate and, if possible, fix the problem. What they find are warring dragons, possible fae intervention, a gangster who involves himself in the mess, and a librarian who is being extorted.

The characters seem tired to me, as if their hearts really aren't in the job, or possibly as if the author didn't entirely have her heart in her story. And while I applaud the inclusion of a non-white character, it felt as if there was no real meaning to the inclusion. The character is ineffectual, and seems to exist just so that occasionally someone will trot out a prejudice so the reader will think, oh that's awful! And as I considered this, I realized that in spite of the Chinese names of the dragons, I never felt that I was reading Asian characters.

The other thing that bothered me was that the concept of the Language began to show cracks. I had liked the conceit at the start of the series, but by this fourth volume I began to wonder why it was used in some circumstances but not in others, for example, when Kai and Everiste are searching for the rare book, why does Everiste, a full librarian who can use the Language, not use it to tell the book to show itself? If they think that it's in the same room they are, it would save a lot of time and searching, wouldn't it?

I doubt I'd be picking things apart quite this much if I hadn't felt that this was the weakest entry in the series. The ending, though it was reasonably satisfying, felt a little glossed over to me as well, and so overall I am not sure how I feel about the idea of more books in the series. I will certainly pick up the next one, if there is one, but perhaps not with the same feeling of excitement. And that's a shame. ( )
  Tracy_Rowan | Feb 23, 2018 |
We're back in the worlds of the Invisible Library: Irene Winter is meeting with a family of vampires resident in Yorkshire to make an exchange of books. Unfortunately, the vampires have other ideas and try making her an offer she can't refuse. In the course of which, we are told that Peregrine Vale (the Sherlock Holmes analog in this parallel) is part of a rival vampire family - which will no doubt lead to complexity further along the series. Escaping from the vampires, Irene falls in with a dragon who also makes her an offer she cannot refuse. Unfortunately for the dragon, Irene is well aware that she must refuse as accepting will break the Library's neutrality between dragons (scions of order) and Fae (scions of chaos). The offer she was made was to locate a book for the dragon which was part of a political contest between two dragons. It was claimed that the other dragon had secured the services of another Librarian to do so.

Returning to the Library, Irene was given a mission to find out what was going on, and locate the other Librarian and bring him in for questioning. Oh, and to locate the book (a version of The Journey to the West replete with political satire) and make sure neither dragon got it - not that the Library needed another copy anyway. Irene and Kai (her dragon apprentice) travel to a Roaring Twenties analog of East Coast USA with a tight deadline...

The usual fun and games ensue; we learn more about dragon politics, fae assassins, and Kai has to retire from his position with the Library to prevent further political complications - but not from Irene's life. This instalment felt lighter in tone than others in the series. It seemed to me that this book would have worked as a stand-alone; I suspect it's going to be a bridging volume between the initial Alberich story-arc and a subsequent story-arc.

  Maddz | Feb 5, 2018 |
Finally! A fun book with interesting environments - libraries are always good, but 1920s NY on steroids isn't too shabby. Things in the library get tricky when more dragons attempt to suborn librarians. A Fae gunmoll is bizarrely charming. ( )
  quondame | Jan 26, 2018 |
It would be easy to dismiss The Lost Plot and the entire series as fluffy fantasy involving a weird Library, dragons, Fae, and dimensional time travel, and in some regards this assessment is true. It is rather fluffy in that the stories are not literary in nature but purely entertaining. You are not going to learn much about history, life, or yourself while reading them. To dismiss The Invisible Library series, however, is to ignore all that is right with storytelling for Genevieve Cogman tells one hell of a story.

Like all good series, each story builds on the other. In this fourth novel in the series, we know more than we did about the Library. We understand Fae and dragon lands. We know about dragon politics. We understand Irene’s mission and her relationship with Kai. What The Lost Plot does is provide us with just a bit more knowledge about each of these areas to further solidify our understanding. Dragon politics is at the heart of this particular novel, and for the first time we see how Irene’s relationship with Kai and their relationship to the Library could be in jeopardy thanks to his family. In the previous novels, this was something hinted at more than explored, but now we get to see firsthand the high-wire act Irene has been performing to keep both Kai and the Library safe. Her willingness to do so speaks volumes about her feelings for her apprentice, and we finally see some movement in that area as well. In addition, the time spent in various dragons’ company affords us a greater understanding of their strict rules and hierarchy. Plus, there are mobsters, holier-than-though cops, and dragons flying around fighting each other. What more could you want?

After the heavy action in The Burning Page, The Lost Plot does feel rather slow and less informative than previous books. Yet, I suspect this was done for a purpose. There has always been more to the story than just Irene and Kai traveling to different lands to collect rare books for the Library. Book three brought us closer to understanding that overarching mystery, so book four is a time to pause and establish greater understanding of our heros and the political minefields that exist in their line of work. It is not a filler episode so much as it is a breather episode, there to remind us of simpler times when we first met Irene and Kai and to confirm all that we now know. All long-running series have such lulls in action, if you will, where the main story gets set aside for a bit while we reintroduce the characters, discover how much they have changed since we first met them, and get the chance to process everything that has previously happened. For any series to be successful, having this relative lull in the action is essential and welcome.

This is not to say that Irene becomes dull and safe in her efforts to fulfill her mission. It is rather the opposite in fact. If there is any impending danger, she will find it. If she can find a way to wreck havoc, she takes it. This is the Irene we know and love, the one who will do whatever it takes to keep her friends safe and complete her mission, the one who is afraid to jump but will do it anyway because she knows it is the only way. There is plenty of action and destruction to whet any Irene Winters fan.

After three books in the series, there is not much more to say except to remind people just how much fun it is. Irene is hilarious in her practical, no-nonsense way with her affinity for a warm fire, a snifter of brandy, and a pile of books at war with her propensity for danger and mayhem. Kai has a chance to shine on his own this time too, as we see him forced to make decisions without Irene’s guidance and apply his understanding of the politics at play to his decision-making. The Prohibition-era like version of New York City is amusing and adds an extra layer of intrigue to the whole story. The Lost Plot is immensely satisfying and thoroughly entertaining, as is the whole series. The only bad part is now having to wait yet again for the next book.
  jmchshannon | Jan 17, 2018 |
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Dragon politics
Library must stay neutral
Send Irene Winters

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