The second in the fantasy series Magic Ex Libris set in modern times. And with magic that needs books!

Publication year: 2013
Format: Audio
Running time: 10 hours and 59 minutes
Narrator: David DeVries
Publisher: DAW

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer: a mage who can pull items out of books. This ability works for all printed books (which are well-known enough to have inspired large amount of belief) but he uses mostly science fiction and fantasy books. Firstly, because he likes them the best and secondly because those genres have the most useful toys: Excalibur, healing waters, scrying mirrors… Yep, they’re very useful indeed. After the previous book, Isaac was reconstituted as a field agent and he’s also doing magical research. He’s part of Die Zwelf Portenære, the Porters, who protect the world from magical threats and also from the very knowledge that magic exists. The leader of the group is Gutenberg himself who is still alive (and not a nice man). Isaac is also in a relationship with Lena Greenwood who is a dryad and kicks serious ass with her bokken.

The story starts with Isaac and Jeneta, a young woman who has apparently stumbled into a way to use e-readers for magic, which is something that was thought to be impossible. She’s trying to teach it to Isaac. However, Isaac is called away to investigate the murder of a wendigo. Apparently, the wendigo was killed by a human which is very rare. But after using a mirror that can see into the past, Isaac and his team gets clues about the murderer. But before they can do much about it, Lena’s tree is attacked and everyone (that is Isaac, Lena, and Dr. Nidhi Shah) return to Isaac’s home. Lena’s tree is behind it and strange small things which turn out to be magical metallic insects are attacking it. Of course, they have to investigate.

Each chapter starts with a vignette from Lena’s point-of-view. Lena a kick-ass dryad whose life has been quite unusual because she’s a character from the book “Dryads of Neptune”. She’s also bisexual and polyamorous. It’s great to see things from her perspective; the vignettes which follow her life give her a lot of depth which I don’t think could have been given any other way. I loved these parts! Although they don’t tie into the chapter or rest of the story until near the end.

This time we find out a little about the history of writing and magic outside the Western world and we get a non-Western magical society. But things don’t go smoothly, to say the least.

The plot is actually pretty close to the first book’s plot. Still, I greatly enjoyed this one, too. I like the characters a lot, especially Lena. I recommend reading the first book first, though. The ending isn’t (quite) a cliffhanger but things are likely to change a lot in the next book.

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