The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

The Mortal Word

Genevieve Cogman

Vale and Irene travel to 1890s Paris to investigate the murder of a dragon at a peace conference. Once they arrive, they find evidence suggesting that the murder victim might have uncovered proof of treachery by one or more Librarians.

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In the latest novel in Genevieve Cogman's historical fantasy series, the fate of worlds lies in the balance. When a dragon is murdered at a peace conference, time-travelling Librarian spy Irene must solve the case to keep the balance between order, chaos...and the Library.

When Irene returns to London after a relatively straightforward book theft in Germany, Bradamant informs her that there is a top secret dragon-Fae peace conference in progress that the Library is mediating, and that the second-in-command dragon has been stabbed to death. Tasked with solving the case, Vale and Irene immediately go to 1890s Paris to start their investigation.

Once they arrive, they find evidence suggesting that the murder victim might have uncovered proof of treachery by one or more Librarians. But to ensure the peace of the conference, some Librarians are being held as hostages in the dragon and Fae courts. To save the captives, including her parents, Irene must get to the bottom of this murder--but was it a dragon, a Fae, or even a Librarian who committed the crime?

Advance Galley Reviews

The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman is the fifth book in the Invisible Library series. As with the first book, this story has a lot going on. A lot of characters and a lot of plot lines underlie the main mystery. As with the first one, the one thing I wish this book had more of is the Library itself for that is the premise that drew me into these books. Read my complete review at Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program.

This installment does not involve much book stealing or hunting. I thought that this mystery was very complex and well executed. Since the murder occurs at a political event, there are a lot of Fae, dragon, and Library politics wrapped up into the mystery.

This was another great installment in the Invisible Library series. I have really enjoyed all of the previous books in this series so I was really excited to read this new installment. This is the fifth book in the series and I do think that this is a series that is best read in order. I had a great time jumping back into this complex set of worlds and thought that the story was very well done. In Paris of a neutral world, peace talks are being held between the dragons and Fae with the Library's help. When an important dragon is found murdered, Vale along with Irene are asked to travel to that world to investigate the murder. Kai goes ahead to help and be with his uncle, a Dragon King. They are quickly buried in a complex and far-reaching mystery that will have a great impact on the peace talks. I think that I grow to love this group of characters a little bit more with each book. Irene is amazing. She is dedicated to doing what is right and getting the job done often at great risk to herself. I was happy to see that Vale plays such an important role in this book. He is such a skilled detective that is able to see what most others would miss. He insists on doing the job in the best manner possible and will not compromise himself for anyone else in any circumstance. Kai is incredibly strong but often underestimated. He is very supportive of Irene and has no problem deferring to her judgment. I thought that this mystery was very complex and well executed. Since the murder occurs at a political event, there are a lot of Fae, dragon, and Library politics wrapped up into the mystery. There were so many factors at play and individuals that seemed less than trustworthy. I love how original each book in this series is since they are all set in worlds with their own set of rules. The special abilities of the Fae, dragons, and Librarians always seem to keep things interesting. I really enjoy the way that Irene is able to apply the use of the Library's Language to each situation and think on her feet. There are a whole lot of exciting scenes to keep this one interesting. I would recommend this series to others. It is such a well-done series with great characters and remarkable world-building. I cannot wait to read more of Irene, Kai, and Vale's adventures in future installments. I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley and First to Read.

I had heard nothing but great things about this series, so I was very excited to try this book out. True to the reviews, this was a fantastical fast paced, high suspense read that I struggled to put down. Cogman does an amazing job developing her plot and character relationships. The imagery is so vivid, which makes for a beautiful mental movie filled with dragons, creatures, and mystical world travel. I loved Irene's character for all her perfect librarian quirkiness and intelligence, and it is nice to see a heroine who can outsmart a man. I am definitely hooked on this series, and will be reading the rest as soon as possible!

Enjoyed the first two thirds of the book. Liked the interactions between the characters and the Paris setting. But the loan expired before I was able to finish.

Irene, Kai and Vale are back with another dangerous adventure. Once again Genevieve Cogman has created an intricate and interesting plot. Like previous books this is also a new a unique situation making this a hard to put down book.

The Mortal Word is well written and I can see why a lot of people would like it but it just was not my thing, it didn't draw me in where I could't put it down, not sure if it was because I have not read the other books in the series or not. I liked Irene, Vale and Kai and was intrigued by Silver's character and The Blood Countess as a villain. I ran out of time at the end so I never found out who the killer was.

I really enjoyed The Mortal Word. I've read the first 3 books of the series so I feel like I missed a bit with not reading the 4th book before this one, but I still loved it. The characters are fun and really seem to jump off the page as I read the book. I'd definitely recommend this book, as well as the rest of the series, to others.

This is such a marvelous series! I have been in love with Irene's library since the first book, and am continually impressed with Cogman's ability to keep introducing new elements and new mysteries in a way that keeps the stories fresh and original while simultaneously maintaining the main story line about the integrity and role of the library... This time the focus is more on the worlds surrounding the library than the library/books themselves. While I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it as much originally, I found it to be every bit as engaging as the others once I moved into the meat of the story. There is SO MUCH going on in every one of these books, and the cast of characters continues to evolve (and grow) without ever pulling focus away from the underlying plot/mystery of each title. The main characters (Irene, Kai, Vale) are consistently well-presented and their complexity grows with each book. There are a handful of supporting characters (the other librarians, a few of the senior dragons/fae) who pop up with great frequency in varying degrees of import, and they also continue to be fleshed out in a way that is engaging and helps the overall story arc develop. In this installment we also get quite a few new dragons/fae and that was fun - I love the contrast between the trope-following fae (what an original and fascinating way to play with their characters!) and the order-following dragons, and the tension between chaos and control plays out beautifully both in the character interactions and the larger political presentations. I am definitely going to have to reread the earlier books before a new title though. Not because I am having difficulty following things - don't misunderstand. Cogman does a fantastic job at providing just enough backstory reminders to keep you current, particularly in her letters to/from the library at the start of each book. But I have a sneaking feeling I'm missing nuance that would enrich the series as a whole, precisely because there is so much going on both interpersonally and interworldly in each book...

Every time I finish one of these Invisible Library books, I find new reasons to love the series. And I'm always convinced I've found my new favorite. I think it's a testament to how much Cogman makes us love these characters. Each of these books builds upon this rich and expansive series. The characters we know and love. Their vices, fears, and pasts. Not to mention, The Mortal World is full of the bluffing, treachery, and subterfuge that I've come to associate with the entire series. I am so pleased to find out that this series will be continuing. My heart gave a little jump when I went on to Goodreads and saw that there were no book listings for 6. It's the worst feeling when one of your favorite series is not sure to be continued. But after careful research (cough, stalking) I found out that it will be continued. Invisible Libraries The Mortal World just merely confirms how much a fan I am of the entire series. I adore the premise of a secret society of librarians who collect books to keep the parallel worlds in balance. I mean, just re-read that sentence for a second. Alongside that, the premise that there are some powerful books within the worlds, hidden manuscripts, and rare editions. This is a bibliophile's dream. Where can I sign up? The Mortal World I devoured books one through four shortly before The Lost Plot released. So reading The Mortal World felt like reconciling with a lost friend. With distance my heart became fonder. It was great to be back with my favorites, the infamous Vale, the intelligent and savvy Irene, and the charming dragon Kai. Except in The Mortal World there are bigger risks and rewards than ever. I feel like every time Cogman finds a way to challenge us even further.

This is not one of my favorite books in The Invisible Library series. It was enjoyable, but I like more book stealing in the story.

The signing of a peace treaty between fae and dragons turns deadly in 1890s Paris. This was my first reading of a book in the Invisible Library series, and it was a well structured story that was written well enough for it to be a stand alone novel. Genevieve Cogman has created such an interesting premise that it will be no hardship, however, to read back the back list! Because I love reading, any book that involves librarians and book intrigue is going to be a favorite. Add in the magical world of fae and dragons, and the reader is delivered into escapism in its most wondrous form. The librarian, Irene, is a strong and smart character. It was enjoyable to read as the plans formed in her mind and she brought them to life with words. It's a pure joy to read the imagination that brings us the world of the Library series.

The Invisible Library is one of those series that keeps getting better and better. And while I’m guilty of not keeping up with this series as much as I should have—and I really need to—I had no problem reading The Mortal Word. This book was fantastic. The mystery kept me guessing and the action and danger made the story that much more exciting. There was a hefty dose of political intrigue and maneuvering as the Dragons, Fae, and Library all came together for a peace conference. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Right from the start, it opens with Irene doing what she does best: retrieving books. But as it quickly became apparent, there was so much more going on this time around. There was a multitude of characters in a situation best described as volatile and high stakes. There were a lot of different sides to keep up with such as the Fae and their nature, some of the inner workings of the Dragon society, and how past animosity came into play while trying to make negotiations. So, there was never a boring moment. I also liked all the details about how the idea for the conference came about + all of the danger that came with it. As such, it was interesting to see how the opposing forces affected the setting—an alternative version of Paris—where the story took place. The overall plot was fantastic, because, I’m going to be honest, there were a lot of characters with dubious motivations who did a number of questionable actions. It’s one of the things that made the mystery at the core of The Mortal Word as interesting as it was, which was why the buildup to the twists were all that more rewarding by the time the book was over. The ending was a satisfying conclusion to The Mortal Word while also leaving room for the story to continue. The characters from this series have always been interesting, and there were a lot of familiar faces that appeared in The Mortal Word. Irene is, of course, my favorite character. I like her personality. Her job is pretty cool at times. And I also liked how she handled herself during some of the tensest moments of The Mortal Word. There was also Kai, and while he was present, his role was a little more in the background this time. Although, I enjoyed the moments where Kai and Irene got to interact. All in all, The Mortal Word is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It’s effectively renewed my interest in The Invisible Library series. And after that ending, I hope there’s going to be another book after this one. If you’re a fan of this series, then The Mortal Word should be on your TBR list.... This copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review, thank you!

Another great addition to the Library adventure. The dragons and fae are negotiating a peace, but some on both sides wish it not to succeed. When a dragon is murdered, suspicion settles on the fae, and Irene must discover the killer before everything falls apart. The magic behind the order and chaos of dragons and fae is intriguing and dangerous, a source of many conflicts as the mystery is unravelled. Irene has to work out some personal issues as well, and deal with some exasperating and deadly characters. Action-packed, and a nicely bookish read.

I love more time spent in intrigue and less running around to save the world.

Really enjoyed this detective fantasy story full of political plots and lots of action. This is the first book that I have read in this series, it's obvious why it's collected so many devoted fans. Previous entries have been added to my to read list.

I become more infatuated with Irene, Kai, and Vale with every book in this fantastic series! With all the action, near death experiences, and fighting Fae and dragons, The Mortal Word is another fantastic book in the Invisible Library series. I really enjoyed having all of my favorite main characters back together! Hopefully Ms. Cogman will keep writing this series because I love it!

This is an incredibly enjoyable read that's full of twists, political intrigue, magic, and the complex world and character-building that Cogman has perfected. It's a mystery wrapped up in a historical outfit with dashes of magic and action. It's a mix that's hard to ignore. The signing of a peace treaty between the ever-warring factions of Chaos (Fae) and Order (Dragons) is in the hands of a neutral party (the Library), but the murder of a dragon endangers things and Irene, Vale, Kai, Silver, and others are brought in to investigate and keep things from falling apart. Political machinations, power-hungry plotting, and natural distrust between the factions keep getting in the way of the investigation, but if this series has proven anything is that life can set obstacles in Irene's path but it can't keep her from getting to the bottom of things.

This new chapter in the INVISIBLE LIBRARY series has Irene Winters, Librarian, Kai Strongheart, Dragon, and Peregrine Vale, Detective, off to avert another crisis. The representatives of the Fae World and the Dragon World are meeting in a neutral alternative Paris for a peace conference. But before any type of peace treaty can be forged, a high dragon official is murdered. Since the Library is the official neutral party it asks Vale to investigate along with representatives from all three groups. Red herrings abound with the Blood Countess trying to thwart the peace treaty, the head of security for the Library having his own agenda and anarchists causing havoc throughout the city. It takes Irene through twists and turns to finally get to the truth. An exciting and entertaining story, with alternative worlds that can only be accessed though a library and the mysterious language of Librarians. Thank you First-to-Read for this free e-copy of "The Mortal Word".

An excellent entry in one of my favorite fantasy series. It was a little slow to start, but once I got into the story, I couldn't put it down. I just love Irene and Kai and Vale so much.

A bit of preface ... I requested this advance copy as I had read and liked it. What I did not realize until First to Read notified me I'd been selected was that I'd not yet read three sequels! So I had some catching up to do... Ms. Cogman has matured in her writing and this series has also matured (not always a necessary consequence). I thoroughly enjoyed this book - setting it sadly aside for those life annoyances like work, chores,...{sigh} sleep. It, and the previous three that I hurriedly ate up to get to here, suggest that I need to go back to the first again and fill in some understanding gaps. There are subplots and subplots, intricately woven into a story that begs for more. As I'm given to understand, there will be! But now I'll have to wait...

This is my first time reading this series, and I loved it. This is just the kind of fantasy I love- historical.

I was not aware this was part of a series when I requested it. I have been wanting to read this series since it started and never got around to it. While this may be the 5th in the series, it hooked me. The world is well developed and imaginative. This story makes sense all on it's own. I can't wait to read more.

I received a free netgalley from the publisher. I am in no way obligated to provide a review. My review is completely unbiased. I was very pleased to have received an advanced copy and happy to report Cogman has delivered another awesome fun fantasy with Irene and company. This time Vale is called upon to use his super sleuthing skills to assist Irene in solving a murder that has occurred at Peace Talks taking place between the Dragons and the Fae. My favorite thing about the book is Irene. She is so plucky. She's not the most flashy shoot em up heroine, but she keeps calm and carries on every time with a little help from her friends. She always gets the job done, she thinks first with her big librarian brain and uses force as a last resort. We could use a lot more of that thinking today. I mean the woman can talk herself out of any corner. Vale, Kai, and Silver make for compelling co-stars, they could each, in my opinion, carry their own series. I have a soft spot for Silver! Cogman introduced a few new characters in this book so, potential for new storylines. I also appreciate that she wrapped up this book without a big cliffhanger ending, but of course their are enough unanswered questions about The Invisible Library, Irene, Vale and Kai, to name just a few, that I see a number of books in our future. So all in all just another excellent book from my favorite author. Do pick up the series from the beginning. It's quirky and fun. Action and mystery check, World building check, great characters check, librarian spies check, The Fae check, Dragons check, Alternate worlds check, saving books check, brainy women check, brainy guys check. This book and series has it all. Rebecca A. Gorzell

I LOVE this series. Seriously. I'm scared when I start to read the beginning of every book that Ms. Cogman will wrap up the series, and excited at the end of every book that there's a chance that she will keep writing. Irene is so witty but humble, you can't help but keep reading late into the night to find out how she will get out of the next predicament that comes along. How do I sign up to be a Librarian??

Another fantastic story about Irene and her companions as they try to salvage the peace talks between the Dragons and the Fae. Full of humor and intrigue, each book in this series manages to deliver a fulfilling storyline as well as leave just enough unanswered questions about The Library that you can't help but desperately await the next installment. The Mortal Word is no exception and readers will be delighted by the return of old favorites and the introduction of new blood to the series.


More to Explore

  • The Invisible Library
  • The Masked City
  • The Burning Page
  • The Lost Plot

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