Tag: Jim C. Hines

I Want to be a Libriomancer

Books are magical. Reading transports you to a different place and time and introduces you to more people than you could ever hope to meet. That’s why I want to be a libriomancer.
You might be scratching your head, wondering what I’m talking about. If you’re a geek who knows some Latin, you might realize this has something to do with books and magic.

If you’re a fan of the Magic Ex Libris Series by Jim C. Hines, you know exactly what I’m talking about. (Still not sure, read my review of his earlier books in the series).

What is a Libriomancer?

Libriomancer-FullA libriomancer is a person who can draw magic from books.

I know, I think I’ve been one by that definition for most of my life. And I know C. S. Lewis was one because he transported me to Narnia via book dozens of times.

In Hines’ world, a libriomancer can access the magic inside a book to draw objects from the book.

You’d like an Invisibility Cloak? A libriomancer could grab one out of Harry Potter’s closet (if only those Harry Potter books weren’t locked. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read Libriomancer, book one of the series).

The “librarian” who is the hero of the series is pulling Lucy’s bottle of healing potion out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in every installment. Fighting evil is a dangerous business. Best to be prepared for the worst.

                                              How does this work?

People read books. The more people who read the book and suspend their disbelief to embrace the story, the more magic potential that waits inside a book.

There are limits. The object has to be small enough that it would fit through the covers of the book. I suggest huge hardbacks for working these spells, so you can make certain Excalibur makes it out of King Arthur’s hand intact.

The magician has an innate sense of magic. They must be able to fully picture the object they want to pull from the book in their mind. Small imaginations need not apply.

Why I Want to be One

I fit all the qualifications for libriomancy.

  • I read books.
  • I have a great imagination.
  • I can recall scenes with vivid detail that’s just crazy considering how many books I’ve read.
  • I have a desire to be innately connected to a magical continuum.

In fact, since I’ve been claiming books are magic portals for years, I should be at the front of the line for receiving the gift of libriomancy.
Also, I’m conscientious. I wouldn’t abuse my power.
What other qualities do I need?

Book-ReviewA Review of Revisionary

Recently, I joined a Facebook book club (more on that later—maybe). One of the founding authors for the group asked what the best book we’d read this year would be.

Revisionary by Jim C. Hines was at the top of my list.
Even though I didn’t give it five shiny stars (I found a few things a mite of a stretch), it was the book I wanted to read the most that didn’t disappoint me.

I love Isaac Vainio, and I was wondering how things were working out for him since the wider world discovered the existence of magic and magical creatures at the end of book three.

As you can imagine, governments are trying to regulate magic while also exploiting it for their own purposes.

Magical creatures are starting to unite against humans. Humans fear them, so they want them crowded onto reservations and registered like firearms. Since they aren’t human, they don’t have protection under the U.S. Constitution.

The political finagling in this book rivals spy novels.

And we know how much Isaac adores jumping through hoops and cutting through red tape.

Lots of action in this book to keep you turning pages. Plenty of clues and twists keep you guessing to the end whose the mastermind behind the plot behind the plot of the plotters.

Readers of fantasy will love this book. Yes, there is some foul language. However, other adult themes are kept to a minimum.

The Surprise

The most startling thing to me about reading this fourth book in this contemporary fantasy series was learned when I read the acknowledgements.

Most of the time I skim these things. I know! As an author, I should read them. I understand how it takes a village to get a book from the idea stage to a library shelf.

Still, I don’t know most of the people mentioned.

I also don’t know much of anything about most of my favorite authors. I’ve never been one of those people who joins fan clubs and follows every media account of a celebrity. Even one I like.

Color me shocked when I discovered Mr. Hines was not a full-time author.

Excuse me? He’s writing these amazing books at a rate of once per year or so and that’s not his JOB?

Well, it wasn’t his job. With four books in a successful series, Mr. Hines has now donned the cape of insanity. He joins the rest of us spending his days holed up in an office with imaginary friends.

I’m thrilled. I hope that means there will be more books in this series I dearly love.

And if he could grant me the power of libriomancy…all the better.

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.

Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.
Already read one or more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. That’s like the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.

Magic Ex-Libris Series Review

Normally, I don’t read tons of adult fantasy. Usually it has too much sex and profanity, which isn’t my thing. The Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines is a delightful exception.

I don’t remember where I first heard about this book now. I think it was from one of my Facebook writing friends. They were geeking out about how cool it was for books to generate magic.

Because that’s the heart of libriomancy, which is the unique form of magic used by the hero of the series, Isaac Vainio.

I always knew books were magical. The idea of them generating actual spell-casting power, however, was new. And intriguing.

The Libriomancer

Isaac Vainio is a librarian in small town, Copper River, MI. But he’s also a researcher for a secret

Books are magical! I knew it!

society that regulates the appearance of magic in the world.

Sure, he might be slender and wear glasses, but if Isaac has a book in his hand, watch out. A group of vampires discovers this in the very first chapter of the series opener.

The pace never slows. You’ll meet the tough, bokken-weilding dryad, Lena, whose motorcycle isn’t half as cool as the magically enhanced car Isaac drives.

Do you like pets? How about a flaming spider? Smudge is one thing Isaac pulled from an obscure work of fiction years ago. Now the spider acts like an early warning system for trouble.

And there’s plenty of that. There’s also allusions galore to literature and history, perfect for the book nerd in me (and you).

Magic. Battles. Strange varieties of supernatural creatures. In fact, you’ll never see a vampire sparkle again after meeting the dark family of them in this novel.

There’s even a little romance. This book garnered five glaringly brilliant stars from me.

Codex Born

Book Two

In the second book, Isaac and Lena have become an item. However, because of the way Lena saved him at the end of the first book, she’s become a target for some nefarious magic users.

Right away, we have a vampire who can talk to ghosts helping Isaac get the scoop on his murdered friend. But when that unique individual meets his demise, things with the vampires sour.

And they’re not even the big, bad guy. You’ll learn early on that Isaac finds his way onto the hit list of more supernaturals than the rest of us have even dreamed up.

Somehow, he manages to find the right books and work the right spells to save the day. In the end, his boss isn’t impressed because a dark entity is trying to possess Isaac, using his links to books to trap him.

The boss’ solution seems to say “the end” to the magic. But how can this be? There’s another book.

The non-stop action and amazing character development in the sequel helped it score another five stars.


This is the Christmas gift that made it to the top of my “to be read” pile. I wouldn’t normally spring

Book Three

for a hardback, but I happily put it on my Amazon wish list.

Isaac is fighting depression. He can’t cope with his loss of magic. Or the fact that a teenager he’d promised to protect has gone missing.

Books used to be magical. Now they’re meaningless. He’s determined to use his non-magical brainpower to track down the kidnappers.

Fortunately (or probably unfortunately), the kidnapper wants him to find her and learn all about her. So she can manipulate him into pulling her prison into reality so it can be destroyed.

Isaac is a resourceful guy. His years of research have equipped him for this task. But in order to meet the challenge, he’s going to need his magic back.

When the one person who can grant this wish is killed, who will be able to save the world? And it is the world that is at risk in this book. The other books threatened the secrecy of magic, but now magic is about to be unleashed on innocents.

If you read my review on Goodreads, you’ll see that I found the new leap in libriomancy fascinating, but couldn’t quite swallow that Isaac was the one to wield it. After all, he’d been unable to work magic for months. Wouldn’t his skills have diminished?

This one only earned four out of five stars from me. I enjoyed it, sure, but there were times when I couldn’t suspend my belief. The stretches in imagination were too great and I got kicked out of the story world.

All in all, though, this is my new favorite series. For complexity and ingenuity, the magic system rivals what Brandon Sanderson created in Mistborn. And you know what a fangirl I am for Brandon’s magical imaginings.

Coming February 2, 2016

And there’s more to come. This will be a series that can continue as long as Hines can come up with new problems that only libriomancy can solve. I’m excited about that.

My bookshelves? Not so much. “It’s getting crowded in here,” they whine.

Silly, bookshelves.