Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Book review - Sword in the Stacks

WARNING: This book is a sequel. If you have not read The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand (see my review here) there may be spoilers ahead.

Title: The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks
Author: Jen Swann Downey
Genre: fantasy/adventure
Similar books: Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions by Sheila Grau
                     The Peddler's Road by Matthew Cody
a solid sequel

Summary(provided by publisher): Now that Dorrie’s an apprentice, she has the power to save Petrarch’s Library—or destroy it
After stumbling upon the secret society of ninja librarians who transcend time and space, Dorrie and her brother have officially become apprentices. They are determined to help the Lybrarians find a missing key that could destroy their beloved fortress, Petrarch’s Library. On a training mission to 1912 England, Dorrie sees her chance. All she needs to do is get close to a lord with a connection to the Lybrarians’ enemy—the Stronghold. But if she arouses his suspicion, she could lead the Strongholders right to the very place she’s trying to save…and everyone she cares about.

My opinion: I like that this series features an adventurous girl and her sometimes lovesick brother rather than the other way around as we're used to seeing. Dorrie's a pretty cool, surprisingly realistic protagonist. She judges people too quickly, makes mistakes she's afraid to own up to, but in the end her sense of right and wrong prevails. This sequel has a pretty solid adventure plot. We've got time travel, a villain with a nefarious plan, and plenty of sneaking around. Some plot points could use more support, a stronger basis for conclusions and innovations. There are, at times, some significant leaps of logic and out-there notions of magic/technology that are not fully explained.
It is worth noting that I read the first book in this series more than two years ago, so I was not particularly confident in my recollection of that plot. This volume begins with a rehash of the first one that is nicely integrated into the narration, a natural recollection of past events. There is enough information that one need not read book one to have a solid understanding of this one.

More information: Sword in the Stacks releases July 7.
Advanced reader copy provided by NetGalley.

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