Book Review

The Dark Archive by Genevieve Cogman

A mysterious archive. A powerful enemy. And a cunning plan.

Danger is part of the day job for a Librarian spy. So Irene’s hoping for a relaxing weekend. However, her jaunt to Guernsey proves no such thing. Instead of retrieving a rare book, she’s almost assassinated, Kai is poisoned, and Vale barely escapes with his life. Then the attacks continue in London – targeting those connected with the Fae-dragon peace treaty.

Irene knows she must stop the plot before the treaty fails. Or someone dies. But when Irene and friends are trapped underground, in a secret archive, things don’t look so good. Then an old enemy demands vengeance, and a shocking secret is revealed. Can Irene really seize victory from chaos?


The Dark Archive is the seventh instalment in Genevieve Cogman’s absolutely wonderful Invisible Library series.  In my opinion, you absolutely must read this series in order and from the beginning.  Seven novels in, there is so much history and backstory to be aware of, and even with the little reminders, I don’t think that you’d get as much from this series if you were to start part way through.  Plus, these novels are fantastic, and I can’t recommend this whole series enough. 

We join the now familiar team of Irene, Kai, and Vale in Guernsey, with new Fae apprentice Catherine tagging along as she learns the ropes. Their mission is a relatively straightforward one as they seek to obtain a book for the Library – a simple purchase that doesn’t even require Irene’s more specialist skills.  At least it should be, until Kai and Catherine are poisoned, and Irene and Vale are almost assassinated during a small side mission. As the attacks continue, it becomes clear that the targets are those involved in the peace treaty, and it’s up to Irene and co to identify the culprits and put a stop to them before the treaty fails.  But with plenty who would like to see things return to the pre-treaty days, there are no shortage of suspects available…

Throughout this series, there have been many questions raised at various points.  Some of these have been answered, others have so far been left to the reader to intuit.  I think that The Dark Archive takes some significant leaps in filling in some of those gaps, and while there were things I had suspected – which I can’t reveal here for obvious reasons – it was nice to have those points confirmed, or as close as.  That said, the epilogue of this novel also manages to raise some new questions, and quite fundamental ones at that.  I can’t wait to see how things develop in the next instalment, The Untold Story, which is currently scheduled for publication in December 2021. The ending of this novel holds great promise for where Cogman might take us next…

I absolutely adore the characters in this series.  Irene is the most fantastic individual to follow in her adventures.  She’s not perfect, and being part spy, part thief for the Library, she does occasionally need to get her hands dirty. She is good on balance, however, and tries to do what is right, even if it goes against her instructions.  It’s what has made her the character that she is, and let’s be honest, no one likes a goody two shoes, do they?  She is also, at heart, a booklover, and what’s not to like and admire about that?!  With Kai and Vale present and correct, the only regular character that is missing from this novel is Lord Silver, and I have to admit that I missed him a little!  It seems that I’ve developed a degree of fondness for the rogue, despite his often wanton behaviour.

As always, the plot moves quickly as Irene and friends attempt to find out who is working against them while trying to stay alive at the same time.  There’s plenty of action, and, as the signs seem to point towards an old enemy, plenty of questions to be answered.  We see Irene get into some tricky situations, and there are some nail-biting moments when it seems that even the Language – the magic system available solely to those attached to the Library – may fail her.  It’s tense and exciting and I loved every moment!

The whole series has fantastic characters, great world building, and a wonderful magic system, and I think that having a Library and the love of books at its heart is something that will appeal to booklovers. I have loved every single instalment in this series, and I can’t recommend it enough!


The Invisible Library series

  1. The Invisible Library
  2. The Masked City
  3. The Burning Page
  4. The Lost Plot
  5. The Mortal Word
  6. The Secret Chapter
  7. The Dark Archive
  8. The Untold Story (currently scheduled for release in December 2021)

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