Last year I read about Die Seiten der Welt (The Pages of the World) over on Weltenwanderers Blog. It just sounded interesting, so when I saw it on one of the shelves in our local library I picked it up and took it with me.
With the third part of this book published soon and the second one waiting for me to read it, I decided to give you a little look into part one of the trilogy (I won’t mention that I originally wanted to publish this review back when part two was released, no, I’m not going to tell you that…).
What is it about?
The world of the young Bibliomancer (Bibliomant in German) Furia is turned upside down when a book-collecting trip with her father goes awry. Now she has to free her little brother Pip from a dangerous assassin, while also fleeing from her into the hidden refuge Libropolis. In this magical city filled with book stores, Bibliomancers and creatures that fell out of books, the Exlibri, she finds unexpected help from rebels and soon gets involved in their struggle against the Adamitic Academy (Adamitische Akadamie), who control everything concerning Bibliomancy (Bibliomantik).
The reading experience
Hard cover editions are usually unwieldy and this one is no exception and even the lovely cover art cannot distract from that.
The story is fluently written and even with some explorations into details it was never boring. Though I would have liked some things to be explained a bit more thoroughly than others. The world Meyer creates in this book is just so fascinating that you just want to continue to learn more about it. The fact that there are also some murders, intrigues and dark secrets in it makes it even better.
It has a lot of really interesting concepts. The whole idea of the Bibliomancy is fascinating, but it doesn’t stop there. To even be able to perform Bibliomancy you need a Soulbook (Seelenbuch) to which you have a natural bond, much like Wands in Harry Potter does the book choose you and not the other way round.
(Powerful) Bibliomancers are able to create kind of bubble rooms that they can use as hideouts or refuge and jump from one place to the other through two books of the same edition. This destroys the book you used, but it’s still a great idea. The energy emitted from the usage of Bibliomancy drags characters out of their respective books (Exlibri) and is strong enough to regrow trees from destroyed books, which in turn have bookmark leaves. Then there are the Beakbooks (Schnabelbücher), which are semi-conscious beings usually used similar to roosters that have a whole concept of illegality behind them.
And then there is the Unwriting (Entschreibung) the big threat lurking in the background causing everyone to wonder: Is Bibliomancy possible because someone wrote it existed that way or was that someone able to record the happenings because Bibliomancy was possible?
Unfortunately the characters were a bit superficial. I never quite connected to any of them, as it felt like a lot of stuff was left out in their stories. This might change in the sequels, but in this one I missed that certain spark that creates a connection to a character.
I usually struggle with main characters and while Furia isn’t one of the bad ones, she is not one of the good ones either. She barely knows her own powers, but is still able to accomplish unimaginable things, that’s always a bit weird to me. Well, she did overcome enough obstacles to make it at least worthwhile, but some of her reactions did seem a bit too calm and collected for a 15-year old girl, given the circumstances.
While you read a lot about Furia’s fear for her family (her brother in particular), you don’t really learn much about them and therefore the impact of their respective fates isn’t as strong as it could have been.
A bit more focus was put on the rebels Cat and Finnian, but their run of the mill relationship undid the liking I had for them a little – even if it was quite cute at times it was annoying in other moments.
For quite a while you never really knew who the bad guys really were: The Exlibri presented by Ariel and Puck (yes, the guys from Shakespear) or the Academy and their assassin? Though there was a stronger impact to the fate of one of them then the others. Whereas the punishment and revelation concerning Siebenstein and the Entschreibung where not that surprising and rather boring.
My favourites and highlights certainly were the sassy Reading Lamp, the cranky Chair and the cheeky Beakbook who made for some great comedic relief in an otherwise quite serious narration
For a Young Adults’ novel I really like it.
Though which Bibliophile wouldn’t like a book about people being capable of using the magic of words to do sorcery-like things (the aptly called Bibliomanten – Bibliomancer, I’d say, judging from the translation of Nekromant to Necromancer)? Especially if there are such things as living letters and Origami and most of all a cranky arm chair and a sassy reading lamp? 😀
All in all a lot of really interesting concepts that were covered far too little in one book (imagine my relief when I discovered there would be sequels!). The characters might not be that impressive but the overall story still keeps it interesting and worth reading and hard to put down.
I’m curious how it will continue and can’t wait to launch myself into Furia’s world again.
Stuff I’d like to add
Some of the thoughts in this review are re-used from my Reading Together about it.
From what I can see there is no English version(, yet?).
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner.