The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander (ARC Review)

Library of Ever

Information

Goodreads: The Library of Ever
Series: None (yet?)
Source: Publisher giveaway
Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Official Summary

The Library of Ever is an instant classic for middle grade readers and booklovers everywhere—an adventure across time and space, as a young girl becomes a warrior for the forces of knowledge.

With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored—until she discovers a secret doorway into the ultimate library. Mazelike and reality-bending, the library contains all the universe’s wisdom. Every book ever written, and every fact ever known, can be found within its walls. And Lenora becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.

She rockets to the stars, travels to a future filled with robots, and faces down a dark nothingness that wants to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.

An Imprint Book

Star Divider

Review

A vast library that contains all the knowledge of the world and that is under attack by people who want to destroy “dangerous” knowledge is a cool idea, but it’s also a very popular idea.  There are a large number of published books based on this premise, and I can’t even imagine how many more agents and editors are pitched each month.  Readers love libraries, and they like to write about libraries.  So I think the pressing question when reviewing The Library of Ever is: Why this story about the ultimate library?  What makes this take on the plot special and unique.  Frankly, I don’t know.  I don’t think it is particularly unique, so while the book is fine and will likely do well with its target audience of lower middle grade readers, I personally found it lackluster.

The book is a wild careening of strange and interesting events that occur to the protagonist Lenora the moment she finds herself in the magical Library of Ever.  The book is exactly the type of fantasy Krysta and I have both complained about as “lacking logic and realism,” as a variety of exciting things appear to happen simply because they are exciting and sound cool.  For example, the fact that Lenora is hired to work in the library in the first place, without any job application or proof of qualifications, then sent to work without training, then repeatedly promoted based on her completion of tasks in what are often, frankly, inefficient manners.  But, hey, it’s fun to read?  The author and publisher are probably right in guessing that the lack of logic isn’t going to bother the target audience, who are likely to think “Wow, robots! Ooh, giant ants!  Cool, spaceships!” and accept the story as it is .  But this isn’t a good that’s going to work as well with older readers, particularly adults.

This is true, too, of my other complaints–that the pacing is too fast and no event is well-developed and that the message about the importance of knowledge is incredibly heavy-handed.  If you’re a young reader or a reluctant reader, fast pacing and a crazy plot might not seem “under-developed” to you; it’s just going to keep you hooked. Also, the “knowledge as a light” thing might be legitimately new to you.  It’s not overdone or too in-your-face; it’s actually going to come across as profound and thought-provoking.

I didn’t like the book personally, and I don’t recommend it to older readers (even ones like me who generally enjoy middle grade), but I think it will work well for readers who are more into lower middle grade and chapter books.  The premise still seems cliche to me, but perhaps the “super cool library” thing is actually missing from the lower middle grade market, and the publisher wanted to fill that gap with a take on it.  I don’t think this is an “instant children’s classic,” as they claim, but, sure, kids will think it’s entertaining, and I guess I’ll figure out just how successful it is based on whether the publisher decides to make it a series.

3 Stars Briana

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4 thoughts on “The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander (ARC Review)

  1. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Great review, Briana! I’m sorry to see that you didn’t enjoy this one. I absolutely agree that the concept of people wanting to destroy books and libraries for the knowledge they hold, is interesting, but frankly, quite overused. The lack of logic also sounds like it could be frustrating. I hope your next read is more enjoyable! ❤

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  2. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I don’t know of any books in the lower middle grade market which feature libraries. Perhaps I’m just not in the know, but I like the idea of getting kids engaged and excited about libraries at a younger and younger age. That said, I’m sad that this book didn’t live up to expectations. Just because a book is for a younger audience doesn’t mean you can ignore logic and reason!

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