Title: The Forbidden Library
Author: Django Wexler
Genre: Adventure, Supernatural/Paranormal, Childrens’ fiction
Publisher: RHCP Digital
Publication Date: 10th April 2014
My Rating: 5/5
Hi there friends,
I’m back again with another review, this time of The Forbidden Library. This has definitely become one of my new favourite children’s books and I hope to read more of Django Wexler’s work in the near future!
I received a copy of ‘The Forbidden Library’ for free by the book’s publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
An intellectual female protagonist, only child, living with her father has her life and world as she knew it undergo a drastic change. After hearing her father’s return, Alice crawls downstairs to see her father. Rather than see her father alone as she suspected, he has company. Not just any company either, he’s arguing with a fairy. A few days later, her father leaves on a ship with no promise of the date of his return. The next thing Alice knows, she’s being told her father has died and she’s being taken away from her home. With no idea of any other family, what lies in store of Alice? Warned against entering a library or the basement, Alice’s life will never be the same again. Reading has never been so powerful.
This book was amazing and I don’t just say that lightly, it’s probably the best book I’ve read from NetGalley so far. Sure it’s a children’s book, but it’s so much more than that. Wexler’s writing style will appeal to children and adults alike With a strong female protagonist, who has a great moral compass and rational, smart critical thinking this just makes for an excellent read. I was immersed in the world Wexler creates for Alice from the very beginning, it’s a book which truly shows you the power of books. To quote David Tennant in Doctor Who, “The right combination of words, spoken at the right place…The play’s the thing!” well rather, the book’s the thing. But any excuse for a Doctor Who quote really. This is the kind of book which gets children passionate about reading. The magical realism just sets this book on a different level to others of it’s type, with adventure, magic, cats, swarms, dragons and all the ingredients of a great children’s book.
In some ways this book reminded me of a combination of Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree and Alice in Wonderland. In both of these books, the protagonists enter other worlds through books or by climbing to the top of a magic tree. They both end up in different worlds and have everything they know about the world flipped on it’s head. This exact formula is used in The Forbidden Library, with Alice entering magical books as a “Reader”, placing her in different worlds. Some of these books include “prison books” where awaiting a Reader’s entry, lie all sorts of monsters such as swarms, tree sprites and dragons. Alice courageously takes all that is thrown her way, mastering her newly discovered powers as a Reader. With a strong sense of morality, is Alice cut out to be a Reader though?
I loved the idea of having books leak out into the real world. When I read, especially if it’s a particularly good book, I feel utterly consumed by the world in which the book is set in. Having the mental image of books leaking into the world pretty much sums up my relationships with books.
This book is definitely one worth sharing. If you’re an adult, it’s worth a read and I can’t recommend it enough. If you have children, I’d say about 8/9+ depending on their reading competency, then this is something to share with them that they’ll thoroughly enjoy.
If you want to read a copy of The Forbidden Library you can do so from Amazon UK HERE. If you read the book, let me know what you think about it!