The Book That Wouldn’t Burn

Books on Tape. (The Library Trilogy, Bk. 1). May 2023. 22:29 hrs. ISBN 9780593675724. $95. FANTASY
Lawrence’s (The Girl and the Moon) fast-paced series starter follows Livira, a young girl whose village is destroyed by sabbers, wolflike men who prey on the village people. The children are rescued by soldiers from the city, and Livira is conscripted into training to become a librarian. Meanwhile, Evar is attempting to escape the vast subterranean library, the place that has kept him safe but imprisoned for many years. When Livira and Evar have a chance encounter at the Exchange, a portal within the library where time and space behave differently, adventure, romance, and time travel ensue. Lawrence’s prose is lyrical, and his descriptions of the library are enticing and magical. Even so, the novel is somewhat predictable and suffers from uneven pacing—dragging in some places and moving disconcertingly fast in others. However, narrator Jessica Whittaker offers an exceptional performance, deftly capturing the characters’ range of emotions and providing unique and identifiable voices for each.
VERDICT While the hefty run time may discourage some listeners, this should be a winner for bibliophiles and fans of intricate worldbuilding and mystery. For those who enjoyed Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea.
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