Cover Love: To be totally honest, I don't love this cover. But I know it appeals to young readers because when I display this book it gets checked out a lot.
Why I Wanted to Read This:
This is one of those books I bought when it first came out because I knew I would want to read it myself (one of the biggest benefits of being a librarian). Then it got buried in my immense TBR pile. I have had quite a few students check out this and book #2 (The Mad Apprentice), but I still hadn't gotten around to reading it until I was contacted about book #3 and taking part in Penguin's blogging event around the release of book #3 (The Palace of Glass). I read The Forbidden Library and am hooked on this series! Here is the synopsis:
Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairyMy Thoughts:
When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.
It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.
This was such an inventive idea. There is a little of Inkheart, in that a person can read themselves into a book. But it's not like they go into the story, it's like they become the story, or a big part of the story. These people are called Readers. And they can't go into just any book, it has to be special books. Alice discovers she is Reader quite by accident. But, as you get to know Alice you realize, SHE CAN HANDLE IT. She is amazing, on the level of Hermione Granger. She is practical and smart and keeps her head about her. I LOVED Alice! She is a problem solver and that makes for the best kind of Reader.
The catch with this awesome ability is that the books that Readers can enter are basically prisons for all manner of creatures and the only way for a Reader to get out is for another Reader to get them out...or they can defeat the creatures. Along the way Alice meets Ashes, a talking cat, Isaac, another young reader and her "uncle" Geryon. There are several other characters as well, and you just know that nobody is telling Alice the whole truth and that everyone has different motives for using Alice and her powers. There is also a little of a "there can be only one" attitude by some of the older and more powerful Readers.
Alice has her own mystery to solve, that of what happened to her father. This world she is thrust into would me many a person curl up in a corner and wait for death, but no Alice. She takes it on and makes it her own.
To Sum Up: Great middle grade fantasy book with interesting characters and an awesome premise. I will be finishing this series soon!
Penguin has offered up a copy of each of the books in The Forbidden Library series including the third book, The Palace of Glass, which was just published. Please enter below (US only). I will pick a winner on Saturday April 23.