Book Review – Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
This is a contemporary fantasy story that I bought solely because of the author. The cover didn’t grab me and neither did the book blurb, but I found Hines’ Goblin series charming and his Fairytale Princess series, a fair amount of fun. When I saw that his new book included vampires, I assumed it would parody the plethora of awful vampire stories that have recently become popular. It does not. The first half of the book reads much like one of them. It’s dark; it’s bloody; it’s violent. There are numerous references to popular science fiction and fantasy, but if these are attempts to lighten the mood, they fail. I did not find it entertaining.
Needless to say, this put me off at first. I’m rather particular about my fiction, and if a novel is not amusing or thought provoking, I don’t consider it worth my time to read. Life is far too short, and other books are waiting to be read. I’ll never have time for them all. I almost tossed this one aside but forced myself to keep reading. After all, I paid good money for the thing, and Hines’ other books were enjoyable. Perhaps this one just started poorly.
About halfway through, the story does improve. It stops dwelling on spattered blood and on how the vampires tortured people and begins to get into the mystery of what is behind these events. The characters never quite achieve the level of charm as those in Hines’ Goblin stories, but they become at least a bit likeable.
It’s not a bad story. The magic system is imaginative and internally consistent, although I thought it a bit too fantastic for a contemporary setting. People who enjoy bloody vampire stories or contemporary dark fantasy may enjoy this. It just does not suit my individual taste in fiction.