I received this e-Arc from NetGalley and Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Synopsis: Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels–magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books–rescue them from a demonic hound.
Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.
Oh gosh. Where do I even begin? First of all, look at that gorgeous cover! Doesn’t it immediately capture your attention? The colors, the books… It just makes me want to dive in. Second, libraries and magic! Two words that should appeal to bookworms everywhere. And I’m thrilled to say that the story itself more than lives up to its premise.
Gia is a perfect heroine to root for. She has a lot thrown at her in a relatively short amount of time yet she accepts everything with an amazing amount of equanimity. She’s also fiercely loyal to her friends and family, and will do whatever it takes to protect them. At times she’s a bit impulsive, but this never turns into foolhardiness.
There is a case of insta-love between Gia and Arik, and by the end of the book a love triangle forms when Bastien a wizard enters the picture. Normally this would have me grinding my teeth but the characters and their relationships are so well-written, that the romance didn’t bother me at all.
The world-building is just as fantastic as it sounds. There’s so much detail put into creating this new world that co-exists with our own that it easily could have taken away from the action and characters, but like everything else, it’s so skillfully done, that it’s seamless and at times even breathtaking.
There’s a lot introduced in this first book of the Library Jumpers series including: books that are portals to some of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the requisite evil villain and his minions, romance, sword-fighting, and magical powers and beings. Brenda Drake does a wonderful job juggling all these elements with likable and interesting characters while never slowing down the narrative. On Goodreads Brenda has commented that Thief of Lies “is the book of my heart”, and that love is more than apparent throughout the story. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it’s left me wanting more! It’s a perfect read for not only YA fantasy fans, but also adult bookworms and library lovers who believe in the power and magic of books.
I can’t believe I missed this!
As this most auspicious day was Sunday, I’m a little late, but in my defense I was busy doing this:
Anyway, now that I’m finished with making excuses, I thought I’d share this lovely quote from one of my favorite children’s authors. I hope it resonates with you as it did me.
Trinity College Library, Dublin
“A library is infinity under one roof.”
~ Gail Carson Levine ~
When her archeologist parents get a dream trip to Siberia leaving them unreachable for the next 8 months, 16 year old Alexandra Jennings is sent to the International Exchange Academy. Since she is experienced at starting new schools because of her parent’s nomadic life, Alex isn’t looking forward to her first day. When it begins less than auspiciously, she isn’t surprised, but then things take a really strange turn. She finds herself propelled into a parallel world known as Medora, where technological marvels and danger go hand in hand. Stranded, Alex begins attending the Akarnae Academy for gifted teenagers until it’s headmaster, Professor Marcelle returns from his travels, for she is told he is the only one who can return her to her world. While she is surrounded by more friends than she’s ever had, and she enjoys “most” of her classes, Alex can’t help feeling there is something wrong, and that it has to do with her. Will her as yet unknown gift be enough to not only save herself, but Medora itself?
I absolutely LOVED this first novel in what the author says will be a 5 book series. While slightly reminiscent of Harry Potter, Akarnae combines technology and magical elements into something completely unique. Not only are there doorways that can take you to different worlds, but there are lollipops that test your potential, disappearing bookstores, and best of all, a sentient library! With innumerable doorways, paintings you can walk in and out of, moving carpet squares, secret levels, and hidden rooms, this is the coolest library ever! Then there’s the student’s gifts which can be anything from turning invisible, to being able to charm people. Alex is a wonderful character who I instantly fell in love with, and her friendship with Jordan and Bear is at turns, amusing and touching. No mere comedic sidekicks, both of these guys have interesting backstories which I’m sure will be explored more in subsequent books. You know how you can just tell when an author has poured their heart and soul into a book? Akarnae is one of those. I cannot recommend this book highly enough! Anyone who enjoys fantasy and science fiction will fall in love with the world and characters that Lynette Noni has so lovingly created. My only disappointment is that the second book isn’t out yet.
For some reason I’ve been reminiscing about some of my funniest moments being a children’s librarian and this memory stands out. One of my favorite aspects of the job was Storytime. At the end of each June our town celebrates Family Festival Week and has all sorts of concerts, activities for kids, etc. It culminates in a Fourth of July extravaganza. One particular year we had the National Guard with a tank and some of their equipment set up on our library lawn. I took my preschoolers out after Storytime to talk to some of the soldiers. There was one in particular who was great with the kids and had no problem answering their questions. During a lull he asked one little boy named Anthony, “So. Do you want to be a soldier when you grow up?” Without missing a beat Anthony replied “Of course not. I want a real job when I grow up!” I don’t know whose face turned redder, mine or the poor National Guardsman’ s. Still, after all these years this never fails to bring a smile to my face.