As quite a few people have already gathered, one of my favorite reads of 2012 was Jim C. Hines’ Libriomancer
. I’d really enjoyed Hines’ The Stepsister Scheme
and its sequels (fairy-tale retellings in which a trio of princesses kick ass and take names – go read them!) and was excited to read his first urban fantasy outing, especially once I found out about the premise. Libriomancy is the ability to reach into a book and create objects both mundane and magical from its pages, which I am willing to wager most readers – especially of speculative fiction – have wanted to do at some point or another. When the story begins, our protagonist, Isaac Vainio, has been working as a small-town librarian after his reckless and disastrous use of libriomancy got him kicked out of a secret organization that regulates magical activity around the world. However, an unexpected attack on his library throws him back into action, and soon he and his dryad companion Lena (accompanied by a fire-spider named Smudge) are racing to stop a supernatural war and unravel the secrets of the magic that has shaped their lives.
I read this one back in September, and meant to write up my complete thoughts, but was diverted by schoolwork, and then by the holidays and a post-semester writing slump. This did not stop me from brandishing my copy at my friends and exclaiming, “This book is awesome! The characters are great! The magic system is great! The relationships are great! It’s funny and exciting and full of geeky references! Our heroes beat up a bunch of sparkly vampires in the first chapter!”
All of these things are true. And, to give a slight disclaimer, there are many ways - some obvious, some less so - in which this book was a deeply subjective experience for me. Nevertheless, here are some specific thoughts that I've managed to formulate after re-reading. I’ve tried to keep them free of crucial spoilers, beyond “here’s what’s going on with this character.”( To quote the author himself: 'First, books are magical. And second, magic is awesome.' )