A covert mission.
A royal demand.
And a race against time.
In a 1920s-esque America, Prohibition is in force, fedoras, flapper dresses and tommy guns are in fashion, and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon vs dragon contest. It seems a young librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can’t extricate him there could be serious political repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.
Irene and Kai find themselves trapped in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They’ll face gangsters, blackmail and fiendish security systems. And if this doesn’t end well, it could have dire consequences for Irene’s job. And, incidentally, for her life…
The Lost Plot is the fourth instalment in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series, and it’s a series that just keeps getting better. Each novel has been set in a different location, and I think that the 1920s America evoked in this novel is my favourite yet, with the possible exception of the Victorian-esque London that is Irene and Kai’s base of operations. New York, where most of the action takes place, is brilliantly brought to life, with the fashions of the time, the gangs and corruption, and prohibition forming a brilliant backdrop for Irene’s latest mission as she gets caught up in a Dragon vs. Dragon challenge.
As a Librarian, Irene tries throughout the novel to remain neutral, navigating a political minefield as she gets caught between the Dragons, Fae, and her own loyalty to the Library. I’ve felt that the novels so far have been more heavily focused on the Fae whereas The Lost Plot brings the Dragons and their politics to the fore. To date, it has been very easy to see the Fae as the bad guys and I think that Cogman goes some way to even the balance in this novel as the Dragons show themselves (in some case) to be cold, dispassionate, and utterly ruthless. It’s part of their nature, and it was interesting to see the darker side to this faction who have been largely peripheral to date, with the obvious exception of Kai, of course.
As ever, it falls to Irene to resolve matters to the satisfaction of all involved – no mean feat in this novel as another Librarian puts the Library’s neutrality at risk. Finding this rogue agent and understanding his motives is but a part of the puzzle, and I felt that The Lost Plot was chock-full of action as Irene and Kai try to get to the bottom of what’s going on. It’s brilliantly engaging, and I couldn’t read it quickly enough to find out what was going on. As ever, there’s a wonderful supporting cast of characters in this novel and I particularly liked Evariste and the gunslinging Lily. I’d really like to see these two characters again in subsequent novels, although whether or not that will happen is difficult to say given the different setting for each novel.
I’ve been a big fan of Irene from the beginning of the series, and I love seeing her develop with each subsequent novel. Once again, I was struck by the reversal in stereotypical gender roles, with Irene taking a clear lead in this novel while side-kick Kai waits for her to provide instruction and to plot out the best course of action. It’s a role that she’s grown into so well, gaining confidence and showing herself to be increasingly capable. The previous novels – and The Burning Page in particular – raise questions as to Irene’s parentage, and I was a little surprised not to see that plot thread explored in this novel. There’s plenty going on, and it would have perhaps been too much to include that element as well, but I’m impatient! I want answers to those questions raised, but I’m sure that they will be dealt with in time…
I absolutely loved The Lost Plot and I can’t wait to see where Irene’s adventures take her next, particularly with the somewhat unexpected ending to this novel. I don’t want to say too much, but it’s an interesting development that I felt was inevitable, but one that I wasn’t quite ready for!
The Invisible Library Series: