The Book That Broke the World

Ace: Berkley. (The Library Trilogy, Bk. 2). Apr. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780593437940. $29. FANTASY
The second book in Lawrence’s “Library Trilogy” is a complex fantasy novel with a beautiful, world-spanning library set at its tantalizing core. The Book That Wouldn’t Burn introduced the library with its giant aloof librarians, creepy insectoids, and forgotten cultures, while the end of the book left the main character Livira as a literal ghost cast adrift in the library, with Evar running for his life. The sequel considers one life and one book inside the library. The book at issue is Livira’s memoir, whose Schrödinger’s-cat-like existence and nonexistence prove troublesome to the time stream and the world itself. Early on, Livira is given the chance to go back in time to try to reconnect with both her past and her story to free herself from her pitiful ghostly existence. Lawrence’s willingness to explore the boundaries of narrative gives the novel a powerful philosophical edge.
VERDICT This is a wonderfully immersive fantasy whose meta message, about the power of books to change the world, is not to be missed.
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