The Burning Page (Invisible Library Series #3)

The Burning Page (Invisible Library Series #3)

by Genevieve Cogman

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Overview

The Burning Page (Invisible Library Series #3) by Genevieve Cogman

Librarian spy Irene and her apprentice Kai return for another “tremendously fun, rip-roaring adventure,” (A Fantastical Librarian) third in the bibliophilic fantasy series from the author of The Masked City.
 
Never judge a book by its cover...
 
Due to her involvement in an unfortunate set of mishaps between the dragons and the Fae, Librarian spy Irene is stuck on probation, doing what should be simple fetch-and-retrieve projects for the mysterious Library. But trouble has a tendency to find both Irene and her apprentice, Kai—a dragon prince—and, before they know it, they are entangled in more danger than they can handle...
 
Irene’s longtime nemesis, Alberich, has once again been making waves across multiple worlds, and, this time, his goals are much larger than obtaining a single book or wreaking vengeance upon a single Librarian. He aims to destroy the entire Library—and make sure Irene goes down with it.
 
With so much at stake, Irene will need every tool at her disposal to stay alive. But even as she draws her allies close around her, the greatest danger might be lurking from somewhere close—someone she never expected to betray her...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101988688
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/10/2017
Series: Invisible Library Series , #3
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 73,127
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Genevieve Cogman is a freelance author who has written for several role-playing game companies. She currently works for the NHS in England as a clinical classifications specialist. She is the author of the Invisible Library series, including The Burning Page, The Masked City, and The Invisible Library.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The morning light glittered on the glass windows and on the blades of the guillotines in the central square. Pigeons squabbled noisily in the gutters, audible solely due to the general deadly silence. Only the creaking of cart-wheels and the soft padding of footsteps disturbed the stillness.

Irene could feel an even greater zone of terrified hush surrounding herself and Kai. Passers-by avoided their gaze, desperate not to attract their attention. It was because of their "borrowed" uniforms, of course: everyone was afraid that someday the National Guard might come for them, to drag them away for counter-revolutionary activities. And then would come prisons, and trials, and then the guillotine . . .

It made their outfits the perfect disguise for getting around unnoticed. Nobody was going to look twice at the National Guard. In case the National Guard looked back at them.

With a neat pivot, the two of them turned at the corner of the street and marched down it together, their steps in unison, out of view of the guillotines. Irene felt an illogical sense of relief in response. Even if they weren't out of danger yet, she was spared from having to look at the thing that might chop her head off.

"How much farther?" Kai murmured out of the side of his mouth. Even in the charmless National Guard uniform-heavy black wool coat and trousers, and tricolour sash-her assistant managed to look almost unrealistically handsome. The sun gleamed on his black hair and touched his face with a glow of pure health and physicality. When walking, he paced like an aristocrat, or a predator, rather than trudging like an ordinary man doing a nine-to-five job. There was very little they could do to disguise that, though. Smears of mud would have been out of place on a Guardsman, and disguising him as an ordinary citizen being taken for questioning would have been too risky.

"Next street," Irene muttered back. Next to Kai she was comparatively plain, to her occasional regret, and so she was much better at going unnoticed. Her own plain brown hair and regular features took actual work to make them look interesting, or really any more attractive than "neat and tidy." But since most of the time she wanted to go unnoticed, that was a benefit in her line of work.

Fortunately women served in the National Guard, and she hadn't needed to bind her breasts, or anything like that, to blend in. The European Republic that had spread from the French Revolution in this alternate world was oppressive, vicious, hard-line, and highly dangerous, but it did at least let women get themselves killed in the armed forces. Probably because they needed the manpower, as it were, due to the ongoing wars, but that was another problem.

They turned the next corner, and Irene flicked a glance towards the raddled old building that was their target. It was barely in one piece: decaying brick was seamed with ivy and cracks, the shutters were locked shut in place and covered with graffiti, and the roof was missing tiles. They marched up to the front door as though they had a perfect right to be there. Kai banged on it, waited for a response, then kicked it open. The two of them stomped inside.

Kai peered into the darkness. Shafts of light filtered round the edges of the shutters, enough to let them see the utter ruin of the building's interior. The staircase that led up to the first and second floors looked just barely passable, but all the furniture was gone, and the walls were covered with revolutionary dogma. It might once have been a library, but now it was a decrepit barn of a building that would probably have been turned down by passing cows as too uncomfortable.

"I don't understand how there still can be a link to the Library from this place," Kai said.

"Nor do we. But if it takes us back to base, that's good enough for me." Irene kicked the door shut behind them. Without the light coming in through the doorway, the place was even darker. "Sometimes it can take years for a world's entrance to the Library to shift. Sometimes it can take centuries. But with all the local libraries and bookshops shut down or under armed guard, this is our best bet."

"Would it be out of order for me to say that I don't like this alternate?" Kai asked. He unbuttoned his coat and reached inside, pulling out the book they'd been sent to fetch, and offered it to Irene.

She took it, conscious of its warmth from the heat of his body. "Not at all. I don't like it either."

"So how long before you stop getting . . ."

He was looking for a non-aggressive way of putting it, but Irene was irritated enough about the situation herself, so she felt no need to sugar-coat it. "Before I stop getting all the crap jobs, yes? God only knows. I'm on probation, after all. There isn't a fixed time on that."

And then she felt guilty at the way Kai's eyes flicked away from her, and at the flush on his cheeks. After all, her probation was his fault, in a roundabout way. She'd abandoned her duties as Librarian-in-Residence in another world at short notice, because she'd gone running off to save him from kidnapping and slavery-she'd also averted a war in the process. Clearly she was lucky to retain her post at all, but these types of missions were the price. It wasn't fair to remind him about it. And it didn't help to brood over it herself: the brooding tended to devolve into corrosive anger, or they'll-all-realize-they-were-wrong-and-apologize fantasizing, neither of which helped.

"Let's get moving," she said. "If the guards check their records, they'll realize that we were impostors and they could track us here."

Kai peered into the shadows. "I'm not sure there are any undamaged doors on this floor. Do we need an intact door and frame to get through to the Library?"

Irene nodded. And he was right-the place had been trashed very thoroughly. She wished she'd seen it while it was still a functioning collection of books, before the Revolution had gutted it. "We do. This could be awkward. We'd better try upstairs."

"I'll go first," Kai said, reaching the stairs before she could object. "I'm heavier than you are, so you should be safe to tread on a stair if it'll bear my weight."

This was not the time or place to get into another will-you-stop-being-so-protective argument. Irene let him go first and followed him gingerly up the creaking stairs, treading only where he trod and hanging on to the chipped balustrade in case of sudden falls.

Upstairs, the first floor was almost as ruined as the ground floor, but there was one door off the large central landing that was still hanging loosely on its hinges. Irene breathed a sigh of relief as she saw it. "That should do. Give me a moment."

She focused on her nature as a sworn Librarian, drawing herself upright and taking a deep breath, then stepped forward to lay her hand against the door, pushing it shut. "Open to the Library," she said in the Language. Its power to reshape reality was a Librarian's greatest asset. So in a moment they'd be out of this place, back in the interdimensional collection of books they both worked for, ready to deliver one more volume to its huge archives.

What happened next should definitely not have happened. The door and its frame went up in a burst of fire. Irene stood there in stunned disbelief, barely snatching her hand away from the heat, a concussion of power resounding in her head like a car crash. Kai had to grab her shoulders and drag her back, pulling her away from the flames. They burned hot and white, catching on the wood faster than was natural and spreading across the wall.

"Fire, go out!" Irene ordered, but it didn't work. Usually the Language would interact with the world around her like cogs fitting together and moving in unison, but this time the metaphorical teeth on the cog-wheel didn't catch and the Language failed to grip reality. The flames rose even higher, and she flinched back from them.

"What happened?" Kai shouted, raising his voice to be heard above the crackle of the fire. "Was it booby-trapped?"

Irene gave herself a mental shake and pulled herself together, drawing back from the spreading fire. She'd been expecting to feel the usual drain of power, but what she'd touched had felt more like a live wire-an antithetical surge of power, which had exploded when she'd tried to touch it with her own. Fortunately it didn't seem to have affected her, just the door that could have been their route back to the Library. "I have no idea," she shouted back. "Quick, we need to find another entrance! And before this whole place goes up!" She clutched the book to her chest in a death grip: if she dropped it here and it went up in flames, god only knew how long it would take them to find another copy.

They stumbled to the stairs, smoke already coiling towards them and starting to drift through the shutters and outside. Irene led the way up this time, spurred by the rising crackling of the fire. She heard a crunch behind her as one of the stairs gave way under Kai, but he grunted at her to keep on going up, and a moment later his footsteps were behind her again.

Irene staggered out onto the second floor and looked around. It was as much of a wreck as the ground floor. There were no doors, only empty doorways and broken walls. There was more light, but only because of the large holes in the roof, and the floor was stained where the rain had been coming through.

Perhaps you should have used the Language more efficiently and succeeded in putting out the fire on the first floor. Rather than just screaming "Fire!" and panicking and running away, the cold voice of self-judgement at the back of her mind pointed out. Might it have worked if you'd just tried a little harder? And don't step on those stained bits of floor, the voice remarked waspishly, they're probably rotting and unsafe.

Kai strode across to one shuttered window, peering down at the street below through the cracks between shutter and wall. He went still, and even in the dim light Irene could see the tension in his shoulders. "Irene, I have some bad news."

Panic would be wasting vital time and energy, however tempting it might be. And the fire made it extremely tempting. "Let me guess," Irene said. "The National Guard has tracked us here."

"Yes," Kai said. "I can see a dozen of them. They're pointing at the smoke."

"I suppose it would have been too much to hope they wouldn't notice it." Irene tried to think of alternatives. "If I can stop the fire-"

"Possible-unless it's something to do with the Library or chaos," Kai pointed out. "That's stopped you using the Language before. Do you know what caused it?"

"No." Irene joined him at the shutter. There was a squad of twenty men and women out there, and the fact that the house was on fire was probably the only thing that had stopped them from coming in for the moment. She forced herself to speak with deliberate calmness, ignoring the clenching fear in her belly. "Dear me, we must have annoyed them back there. But I'm surprised they followed us so fast."

"I think I recognize that one." Kai pointed at one of the soldiers. "Wasn't she the one whom you convinced with the Language that we were officials from Paris?"

Irene squinted, then nodded. "I think you're right. It must have worn off faster than usual. Oh well."

Inwardly, she felt far more disturbed than she was allowing herself to show. It wasn't the squad of twenty soldiers outside. She could handle that. Well, she and Kai together could. It was the fact that the attempted gate to the Library had been shut down, and in a way that she didn't recognize or understand. Her current probation status meant that she was getting dirty work and dangerous jobs, such as this little waltz through a totalitarian republic and into their private vaults, to get a unique copy of The Daughter of Porthos by Dumas. But she should have been warned if there was a problem with reaching the Library from this world. It was a simple matter of common safety. If someone had deliberately sent her out here without telling her . . .

There would be time to settle that later. For the moment, they were in a burning house with angry soldiers outside. Par for the course. "Out the back door, then, before the first floor's impassable," she said.

There was a crash behind them.

"That was the stairs," Kai said, deadpan.

chapter 2

"Right." It was amazing how being cut off by advancing flames focused the mind. And not just in the way that the first cup of coffee in the morning helped one concentrate, but more in the way that a magnifying glass directed all the minor fears into a single laser beam of pure terror. Irene had never particularly liked fire. More than that, the idea of fire getting loose among her books was a particular nightmare. Being caught in a conflagration was near the top of her Top Ten Ways I Don't Want to Die. "We break the shutters on this floor, go out, surrender, and escape later."

"Just like that?"

Irene raised an eyebrow. "Unless you have a better idea?"

"Actually, I do." Kai sounded half-proud, half-defiant, but overall determined. "We don't need to come back here, so it doesn't matter what they know. I'll change form and carry us both out of this world."

This threw Irene off balance. It wasn't something she had remotely expected. Kai hadn't bothered keeping his heritage as a dragon secret from her-at least, not after she'd found out about it-but he very rarely offered to do anything that would involve using it. And she'd never seen him in full dragon form before. "They've got rifles," she pointed out practically.

Kai snorted. Or perhaps that was the smoke. Which was admittedly getting thicker. Thank heavens there were no books in here to be burned now. She was a Librarian, after all: destruction of any books was loathsome. "Rifles are no threat to me, in my proper form."

Irene nearly said, But what about me? although she managed to shut her mouth before the words could get out. It was their only hope right now, after all. "Right," she said after a moment. "Do we have enough space in here?"

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The Burning Page (Invisible Library Series #3) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This book is another great read in series. It's well worth your time.
stickerooniDM More than 1 year ago
Rated 4.5 of 5 Somehow I missed the second book in Genevieve Cogman's The Invisible Library series, but that didn't stop me from quickly requesting this third book when I saw it was available. I realized pretty early on in the book that I've missed a thing or two from the second volume, but for the most part the characters and situations are described well through the story and we're given the information we need to make sense of the current story. Alberich, a villain to The Library, has delivered an ultimatum -- he must be given complete control of The Library or he will destroy The Library and kill Librarians along the way. The Library is very much like any other series of libraries, filled with books, but it is also a portal to other dimensions and The Library collects rare books for safe-keeping from many different dimensions. Being a portal to other dimensions means there are other potential repercussions should The Library system fall in to the wrong hands. But The Library tries to remain very neutral when it comes to politics and might. Irene is a Librarian, though she's apparently been in some trouble and is currently on probation. But nobody knows the nefarious workings of Alberich the way Irene does and when Libraries are starting to crumble and Librarians killed, Irene may be the only one who can stop him. This was a tremendously entertaining read, with plenty of action. The entire climactic sequence was a true page-turning thrill-a-minute. Cogman keeps the reader on the edge for many pages. I remember enjoying the first book, but I don't remember it being as exciting and thrilling as this read. Too often I'll pick up a book that's mid-way through a series and I won't have a clue what's going on. Here we get all the information we need to enjoy the story and because of that I WANT to go back and read the volume before this. The Library is a great concept for an urban fantasy and Genevieve Cogman is working it very well. This book is highly recommended for fantasy fans. Looking for a good book? Genevieve Cogman's The Burning Page is a thrilling urban fantasy that is a must-read. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
stickerooniDM More than 1 year ago
Rated 4.5 of 5 Somehow I missed the second book in Genevieve Cogman's The Invisible Library series, but that didn't stop me from quickly requesting this third book when I saw it was available. I realized pretty early on in the book that I've missed a thing or two from the second volume, but for the most part the characters and situations are described well through the story and we're given the information we need to make sense of the current story. Alberich, a villain to The Library, has delivered an ultimatum -- he must be given complete control of The Library or he will destroy The Library and kill Librarians along the way. The Library is very much like any other series of libraries, filled with books, but it is also a portal to other dimensions and The Library collects rare books for safe-keeping from many different dimensions. Being a portal to other dimensions means there are other potential repercussions should The Library system fall in to the wrong hands. But The Library tries to remain very neutral when it comes to politics and might. Irene is a Librarian, though she's apparently been in some trouble and is currently on probation. But nobody knows the nefarious workings of Alberich the way Irene does and when Libraries are starting to crumble and Librarians killed, Irene may be the only one who can stop him. This was a tremendously entertaining read, with plenty of action. The entire climactic sequence was a true page-turning thrill-a-minute. Cogman keeps the reader on the edge for many pages. I remember enjoying the first book, but I don't remember it being as exciting and thrilling as this read. Too often I'll pick up a book that's mid-way through a series and I won't have a clue what's going on. Here we get all the information we need to enjoy the story and because of that I WANT to go back and read the volume before this. The Library is a great concept for an urban fantasy and Genevieve Cogman is working it very well. This book is highly recommended for fantasy fans. Looking for a good book? Genevieve Cogman's The Burning Page is a thrilling urban fantasy that is a must-read. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
The Burning Page, book 3 in the series, takes us back to the alternate London where Irene and Kai are stationed after book two. That’s isn’t to say there is less action or that we aren’t learning about other alternates. In fact, Cogman takes us inside the inner workings of The Library itself and Kai and Irene journey to an alternate Russia. Book three in this series is focused on Irene again with Kai and Vale playing supporting roles. Where book two was about Irene figuring out who she is as an individual, The Burning Page focuses on Irene the Librarian and Irene the Friend. She is dealing with moral decisions that affect The Library and its connection to the world at large. These decisions also force her to confront, at least in her head, her desire to have a romantic relationship. Will Irene focus on her career or her love life? It is a question many women, real and fictional, face. (Check out my review of Girl in Disguise!) And while I feel that romance isn’t necessary, some of the most humorous (and embarrassing) points in the books are men fawning over Irene in their own unique ways. Cogman plays the romantic tease quite well. My pain points from book 2 (the hints at a bigger plot involving The Library and the archaic language) are no longer pain points. Alberich (Irene’s Moriarty) is back and dropping hints about The Library—bringing back into question The Library’s ideals and power. And since there is a hint of romance in the air, further questions are being raised about Irene’s parentage. Do I get a sense that book 4 might explore all of this further? My favorite part about The Burning Page is that the series could be done and I would be completely happy with the ending. While there are hints of a larger story with Alberich, The Library and Irene’s parents, Cogman did an excellent job of wrapping up the story and leaving a satisfying conclusion. However, I have it on good authority that books 4 and 5 are in the works!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Still a fun read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a completely fun read. Perfect for by the pool. Sometimes the best reads are relaxed and not demanding of the reader.
AuthorPamelaKKinney More than 1 year ago
Librarian Irene is on probation suddenly finds herself the subject of an attack while on a fetch and retrieve job for the Library. It takes her apprentice Kai in his true dragon form to fly them out of the world and to the world where detective Vale lives. Vale is going through being Chaos infected, due to their last adventure on a chaos fae world in the second book in the series, and worse, Irene finds it is her enemy, and ex-Librarian Alberich who is behind her attacks, plus what is happening to other librarians and the Library. What can you expect from this story? There is a deeper level of understanding about the mechanics of the Library, which in turn will also help the reader better understand how books create the connection between the Library and the alternate worlds. I enjoyed the depth that Ms. Cogman explains about high chaos worlds versus high order worlds and everything in between. Of you enjoy the TV series, “The Librarians,” on TNT, or The Librarian movies that proceeded that, then this book and its proceeding novels will be something you’ll like. It’s full of adventure and excitement, an entertaining page turner that you won’t put down the book, not until the last sentence is read.
Myndia More than 1 year ago
This is turning out to be one of my favorite series. It’s just so much damn fun! Once again, we find ourselves even deeper into the world that the previous books have begun to build for us. Irene has grown closer to Kai and Vale, and the romantic questions of “if” and “whom” come further to the front. Her skills as a Librarian are once again put to the test as she faces her nemesis Alberach. As is par for the course, we traverse a few alternate universes, face all types of death and dismemberment scenarios, face off with werewolves and Fae, and learn more about Irene and the Library itself. We’re also presented with information (or misinformation?) that leaves us wondering if there isn’t something the Library might be hiding. And we learn a little more about Alberach and his past crimes. For me, aside from the funtastic adventure I’ve grown to expect from this series, this book was a lot more introspective. Irene is a character who has always been very sure of who she is, what she wants, what her purpose is, and in the past, she’s been relatively inflexible in that regard. However, as she cultivates relationships outside of the Library, she begins to question the truth, not just about the Library, but about herself. As she is repeatedly faced with tough decisions throughout this installment, she is forced to confront her real priorities. Watching her grow and flex was immensely satisfying. A wonderfully entertaining book. By far my favorite in the series, and I cannot wait for the 4th book, The Lost Plot, to be released in the US! Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! The whole series has been wonderful so far. Librarian spies, dragons, and alternate worlds are just some of the things that make this series great. This book gave me exactly what I have come to expect from this series. There was so much going on and I couldn't wait to see how things would turn out. This book starts shortly after the events of the previous book. The action starts right away and I knew that this story would be a lot of fun to read. Irene and Kai are in trouble again and things look pretty serious. The library is in danger and a lot of that danger seems to be aimed directly at Irene. To make matters worse, someone is trying to kill Irene and Vale is in danger of losing his mind. There is no shortage of excitement in this book but there is an equal amount of smart problem solving that adds a nice element. I love the characters in this series. Irene is smart and isn't afraid to make decisions. She is tough and can quickly analyze a situation to figure out the best option to achieve her goals. Kai is amazing. I mean he is a dragon so of course he is amazing just because of that. He doesn't hesitate to follow Irene's lead. He is highly competent and sometimes add the key piece to their plans. Each of the characters in this series are well developed and quite colorful. The world building in this series continues to be top notch. We get to see some parts of the reality that Irene and Kai spend most of there time in that we haven't had a chance to see before. We also get a chance to see how some of these realities are connected in a way that I had never imagined. One of the best things about this series is that every time Irene and Kai go on a new assignment, we get a chance to see a unique world. I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the third book in The Invisible Library series and I do recommend that this series be read in order. This book does have its own plot but so much is built upon events from the earlier books that I think readers new to the series will be at a disadvantage if they haven't read the earlier books. I can't wait to see what happens to Irene and Kai next! I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.