Fantasy Novels Fantasy Reviews

The Mortal Word: A Mystery in History

The Mortal Word returns to the world of the Invisible Library, diving into a mysterious murder that causes the fate of the universe to hang in the balance. Cogman’s smart writing presents a quickly paced detective story that’s both fun and intriguing as the clues come together. I’m new to the series and I had no trouble keeping up with the plot or the influences from the previous books. The fantasy elements are fascinating and the general details of Cogman’s world-building makes me want to read the entire series.

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. I only publish reviews of books I enjoy, and this novel meets that criterion.

A Few of My Favorite Things


The Mortal Word is set in a world where the author’s imagination has run wild, filled with unlimited possibilities as to settings, characters and stories. Her usage of a library as the keystone for all versions of our world is brilliant. The settings make history exciting and new, giving us characters who transcend a single time or place, who must adapt to the moment they find themselves within. The interpretations of fairies, dragons, and their impact on the greater order of the universe are equally fascinating. I find myself disappointed that this isn’t the actual world we live in, which I can’t say for many settings.


The Mortal Word is a detective story at heart, with astute pacing that strategically drops hints and clues. Every new conflict or piece of information propelled me forward and I never wanted to stop reading. I found myself glued to both the story and the details of the world — definitely my ideal reading state. Dialogue is Cogman’s strong suit and that’s essential for a great detective novel.


The characters are done expertly, and I had no trouble following their arcs and their past/present interactions with each other. I felt as though I knew them well from the beginning. Cogman does a great job pulling in backstory, expertly balancing between past storylines and present character interactions.

I was most impressed with the portrayal of the dragon and fae characters. I’ve seen human embodiments of dragons before, but this takes it to a whole new level. They’re powerful beyond measure and I could feel that as I read through their scenes. They are a presence within their world and that comes through with vivid descriptions and dialogue that transfixes.


An Invisible Library Novel
By Genevieve Cogman
Penguin Group, LLC

Quick Summary: A murder threatens to end peace talks between the eternally warring Dragons and Faes. Irene, a Librarian spy, is tasked with finding the killer. Obstacles present themselves at every turn and it will take perseverance, negotiation, and teamwork to survive the investigation.

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  • Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash
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