Isaac Vainio is a Porter, or one of several Libriomancers, who are able to pull materials from books and use them in ours. However, now forbidden to practice, Isaac works as a library cataloger, slogging through the day when three vampires enter the library and try to kill him. Isaac manages to escape through the intervention of dryad Lena Greenwood. However, Isaac’s attack is the least of his worries: Johannes Gutenberg, the founder of the Porters, is missing, and vampires and Porters are being murdered. With the level of manpower dropping swiftly, Isaac jumps back into field duty, and, with the help of Lena and his fire spider Smudge, rushes against time to solve the mystery of Gutenberg and the other disasters. But what he discovers may change everything.
Before this review goes any further, let me say this: I want to be a libriomancer. Hines has designed a really fantastic and creative magic system. Despite its power, Hines has also put reasonable limits, as well as dangers, in the system, and those facts make the system quite well-balanced and keeps the plot interesting. And boy, what a plot! It was fun and exciting to read. Just when I thought I had a full idea of what was going on, it went in a new direction. Additionally, I liked that Isaac’s decisions (most of them bad) drove a lot of the action.
I also greatly enjoyed the two major characters, Isaac and Lena. Isaac kind of reminds me of a nerdy Harry Dresden in that their situations are similar, and they are both smart guys with grit. I was initially worried about Lena’s character (dryad who changes to suit the needs of her lover), but I am ultimately happy with how the character was executed. Hines made them both individuals without letting their abilities take complete control of their identities, and I really liked that.
In short, go check this book out! I’m going to be sitting here waiting for a sequel.