Summary Cogman:

What we enjoyed / found interesting:

  • Idea of a big library collecting books from different dimensions great
  • Irony with which the Fae were portrayed, lots of references to other stories / intertextuality, Fae living as the protagonists of their own stories
  • Dragons cool, human form but also a dragon-form; reminded us of the Witcher
  • Idea of being bound to a library, work cool
  • Concept of Immortality of Librarians cool; they do not age as long as they’re in the library
  • Chaos vs. Order / Reality and how Fae and Dragons are aligned to that
  • Alberich as the villain, working with chaos, interesting
  • Writing style made it easy and fun to read, fit the story very well
  • Well done, no info dump by Irene, one received information bit by bit
  • No problems imagining the world, very immersive
  • Setting-wise a bit of a mix between a portal fantasy also an intrusion world (we are familiar with landmarks or places like London); all the perks of having a historical novel + the magical portal bits, loved the mixture
  • Setting gives Cogman so much freedom to mix genres and narrative traditions
  • Beginning: in medias res, action
  • Irene’s job not easy, badass Librarians, but the new job is very difficult, experienced Librarian, not a novice like Kai
  • Magical language: tell things what they ought to be doing and it happens; escapism and wishful thinking at its best; very realistic bit of world-building, has a realistic feel to it; doesn’t always work, you have to pay attention and be precise and the magic doesn’t always work out how you want it to work; you can’t force it
  • Kai: straight-forward, bit mysterious / special powers; connection between him and Vale: very different from each other, but when they work together they have a great chemistry
  • Irene: strong, independent woman without being on your nose about it; felt very natural; felt like a person, not like a character
  • Dynamic between Irene & Kai: supervisor/teacher/mentor vs. pupil/protégée, but also female gaze? She thinks that being interesting in him is not proper, even though it wouldn’t be uncommon in the Library system
  • Some of us picked up the sequels, liked the ideas, great fun, take it for what it is: good, entertaining, not too deep
  • Easy read, nice to escape our reality a little bit, 4 Stars
  • Rating 3+ Stars mostly, most would pick up the sequels

What we disliked / discussed:

  • Kai super boring name 😀 😀 😀 Name doesn’t fit the person (but the person got used to it)
  • Irene’s parents are Librarians, but it seemed unimportant for the story; it would’ve also been interesting to have her as a normal librarian, because then the getting into the system could be explained / learning more about her previous home; but also goes against Irene being established as a grown woman who’s quite good at her profession
  • Learn more about the city outside of the Library where nobody ever is?
  • Some of us plan on reading the sequels
  • Confusing why the library exists at all: Vale also questions Irene’s motives; she has to question the Library a little bit more; he’s very skeptical about the entire system; Irene’s answers weren’t that satisfying
  • Some of us are quite unimpressed; characters nor writing style nor plot were extraordinary; it shows that the writer did a lot of video game writing, lot of tropes were pointed out but it didn’t make it better that Vale, for example, was a Sherlock Holmes version; Kai’s cheekbones so sharp like they could cut through diamonds not funny for some (also funny for others)
  • Simplistic writing helpful to keep up with the story
  • Ironic part of it, self-awareness of the references enjoyable
  • Mindset when reading it very important: approached as a light, fast-paced read, it’s okay, but if one expected it to be very poetic and deep, it’ll disappoint
  • Lots of loose ends, things are hinted at but not fully realized; not always clear whether it’ll be important or if it’s just dropped, sometimes a bit sad; too much in it, and Cogman won’t be able to follow up on all of this?
  • B. relationship: self-awareness and trope-awareness; perfect performance of femininity; caricature of the femme fatale; friendship and support between female characters should’ve been introduced earlier
  • All characters SO beautiful annoying, epitome of perfection; prefer ideas like in the Gloaming: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • For Kai okay because he’s a dragon, but everybody else? Bit over the top.
  • Irene seems more normal in comparison to it?
  • Lots of unused potential
  • Cool that the true intentions of the library are kept in the dark; makes the reader question stuff; also makes you interested in reading the sequels
  • Bothering why the manuscript is so important??? Grander scale explanation please!
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