I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .
How could I resist Isaac Vainio, the main character of Libriomancer? Not only does he work in a library, but he is a cataloguer like myself, although my job has not yet required me to fight off vampires nor take on the care and feeding of a fire-spider. Isaac has been banished to “just” library work, after having a bit of a “magical incident” and is trying to earn his way back into the action.
Nor is Isaac the only character to enjoy. There are some great secondary characters who also have interesting back stories. Not to mention the Porters, the organization of Libriomancers—those folk who can use works of fiction to produce swords, truth serums, guns, gems, etc. in the real world. Plus there are various “strains” of vampires, depending on which era’s fiction they are pulled from (“Sparklers” being the Twilight series’ offering in this regard). Arming himself with books, Isaac attempts to go right some wrongs—well-read science fiction readers will get a smile out of many of his choices.
This is very much a first offering in the series—there is an awful lot of mutual explaining done between Isaac and the other characters to help the reader into the pictures. With any luck, there will be less info-dumping in the next volume and we can just get on with the adventures!
May I also say that I am a recovering arachnophobic, but Smudge the fire spider didn’t trigger any strong reactions for me. Having said that, I don’t react to such things nearly as strongly as I used to (the giant spiders in The Hobbit and Shelob in The Lord of the Rings caused me some nightmares when I was a young person!)
The whole idea of “agent banished to desk work for bad behaviour” reminded me strongly of Mick Herron’s Slough House series, in which failed British secret service agents are sent to do the most boring & repetitive intelligence work to encourage them to quit and move on.
Read to fulfill the Creepy Crawlies square of my 2016 Halloween Book Bingo card.