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The Mortal Word – Book Review #Gifted

I was kindly gifted a copy of The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman through the wonderful Jamie! As a huge fan of the Invisible Library series I already had a copy of this book on pre-order and am thrilled to be able to dive in early.

*Please note that this review may contain minor spoilers relating to previous books in the series* 

The Invisible Library Series

The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman is fantastic. She has released a new book every year since 2015 and I always look forward to seeing what happens next in Irene Winter’s latest adventure. The series falls into fantasy fiction but has also been listed under numerous subgenres. These include urban fantasy, mystery and steampunk. There is also a perfect sprinkling of romance too. The series is unique and although each book follows many of the same characters, the stories are all very different.

Genevieve Cogman recently announced on her website that books 6-8 have been confirmed by the publisher, so it is a great time to start reading the series if you haven’t picked it up yet! 

The Mortal Word

Title: The Mortal Word 

Author: Genevieve Cogman

Publisher: Pan Macmillan   

Published: 29th November 2018 

Genre: Fantasy

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“Peace talks are always tricky, especially when a key diplomat gets stabbed. This rudely interrupts a top-secret summit between the warring dragons and Fae. As a neutral party, Librarian-spy Irene is summoned to investigate. She must head to a version of 1890s Paris, with her assistant Kai and her detective friend Vale, where these talks are fracturing. Here, she must get to the bottom of the attack – before either the peace negotiations or the city go up in flames. 
Suspicions fly thick and fast and Irene soon finds herself in the seedy depths of the Parisian underworld. She’s on the trail of a notoriously warlike Fae, the Blood Countess. However, the evidence against the Countess is circumstantial. Could the killer be a member of the Library itself?” 

Book Review

Peace talks are taking place between key delegates of both the Dragon and Fae, with the library taking an arbitrary role. That is until a delegate is stabbed in the back and the peace talks start to fall apart. Irene is obviously sent in to investigate. She can never catch a break, can she?! The Mortal Word jumps into a detective fiction style plot with our favourite infamous Detective Vale playing a central role. Unlike in previous books, which have tended to focus on either the dragon or fae worlds, we find ourselves in what is meant to be neutral territory. What we find is a whole host of characters from both factions and we know that things are never going to run smoothly!

World Building

I could not wait to find out which worlds Irene would be exploring this time and was thrilled to discover that the majority of the story takes place in an 1890s alternate of Paris. The descriptions of the city covered in snow are beautiful and were the perfect treat as a winter read. The book really brings the city to life in a way that not only captures the architecture but also its spirit. 

Continuing Themes

The dragon and fae politics are a big part of the series and are definitely at the heart of this novel. The premise is that worlds influenced by the fae are alternates of chaos. On the other hand, worlds influenced by the dragons are strict and ordered. As we all know it is nice to find a happy medium between extremes. Genevieve Cogman is very meticulous with planning her narrative arcs. I’m sure that it is this that makes the politics so interesting. I am often swayed between one side and the other, probably because I am drawn to the plights of individual characters.


If you haven’t read the earlier books then you should know that the protagonist of the series is Irene, a librarian for the secret library at the centre of the multiverse. (I know, the best premise ever!) Usually found in grave danger, Irene is often accompanied by her assistant Kai. What a lot of people don’t know is that Kai is a dragon, which causes all sorts of neutrality issues. Detective Vale is a friend to both characters and his alternate’s version of Sherlock Holmes.

The Mortal Word has a lot of interesting characters, both old and new. Irene is as witty as ever. She always makes me chuckle. I love the dynamics of her relationship with Kai and how it fits into the bigger picture (I won’t go into spoilers though!) Kai’s character has developed so much since the beginning of the series.

In the new characters I enjoyed the latest villain, the Blood Countess! I was very interested to find out how she fit in with the peace talks and who was pulling her strings. The Cardinal, of the fae delegation, is an awesome character. Creepy, controlling and definitely willing to play a game of chess as much in real life as he does the board game. The Princess reminds me of Glinda from The Wizard of OZ but, as always with the fae, I found myself questioning her trustworthiness.

Honestly, if you ask me to pick my favourite character I can’t. All of Genevieve’s characters are superbly written and a lot of thought has gone into each of them. If any of the main characters were dropped from the series then I would genuinely miss them.

My Thoughts

This was my favourite instalment in the Invisible Library series to date! That is saying a lot as a really do love this series and each book is hotly anticipated. I loved the setting so much. The dragon and fae politics were really interesting as always. The characters seem to just get better as the series progresses and I love seeing all the old favourites. I continue to believe that this is one of the most unique fantasy series that you can pick up. You can read this book as a standalone but I personally think that it is much better to start from the beginning of the series. There is so much wonderful world building and character development that you would miss out on. I highly recommend the Invisible Library series to all fantasy lovers! The Mortal Word is a wonderful read. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

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