Started: May 13, 2016
Finished: June 6, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars
This felt a lot slower to begin with than the first book did. Might be because the storyline didn’t feel as clear and because of that each chapter started with a page or so from Lena’s POV – which was explained in the final chapter but I still found it a bit confusing. About halfway through the book the tempo picked up and I was able to get fully immersed in this world with its characters and magic.
This second book really continues the line of of “Gutenberg’s not the ultimate hero” and delves into the past of book printing. Gutenberg is certainly seen as the father of printing in the western world, but what about in Asia? And, in this world where Gutenberg’s invention led to magic, what happened to those who had invented similar things? And what happened to those?
Once you get to the point in this story where this is discussed the history geek in me was really ecstatic, because it’s always the winner who writes the story. Nowadays we might be able to get multiple views on a situation thanks to the internet, but back in the day that was not the thing; the winner was depicted as the great hero, the loser as a monster whose allies should be eliminated even after the war had ended. And this is what Isaac discovers with Gutenberg’s past; there were people from China able to use the magic of books before he could, but they were fewer as their printing press technique was less refined than Gutenberg’s. The fact that they were fewer, however, doesn’t mean that they vanished completely.
This story shows the return of an old enemy, the realization that everything about the Libriomancers aren’t perfect, and that Gutenberg will do anything to stay in power. Isaac? He does what he usually does; quotes fantasy and sci-fi books/TV-shows/movies (and explains why no one’s pulled The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver from a book so far) and dives headlong into things without a proper plan. Can I marry this guy?