- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (March 17 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0142426814
- ISBN-13: 978-0142426814
- Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #257,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Forbidden Library Paperback – Mar 17 2015
|New from||Used from|
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Praise for The Forbidden Library:
"Vaguely reminiscent of Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and Inkheart all rolled into one, it’s good fun... Working in the grand tradition of children’s fantasy, Wexler’s off to a promising start."—Kirkus Reviews
"By giving the richly textured literary adventures “teeth” and by placing subplots both inside and outside the books, Wexler dexterously avoids the “it’s only a story” pitfall that might distance readers from the action, while the wondrous Library will gratify book lovers and fantasy experts alike."—Horn Book
"Fans of Harry Potter and Cornelia Funke's Inkheart (2003) will relish that the library houses magical books . . . It's a joy to watch the dutiful Alice develop her innate curiosity and become a proactive, resourceful heroine, matching wits with snarky cats, dangerous beasts, and a certain smug boy. This is a charming, adventuresome fantasy from a promising new author."—Booklist
"Wexler ingeniously creates an inventive world with interesting creatures and frightening situations."—School Library Journal
About the Author
Django Wexler (www.djangowexler.com) is a self-proclaimed computer/fantasy/sci-fi geek and fulltime fantasy writer. Django’s first book, an epic fantasy novel for adults, was published by Roc in Summer 2013. The Forbidden Library is his first novel for children.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It has much of the sensible fantastical charm of Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series, which I love, only with less of a fairy tale feel about it. Most of this comes from Ashes the cat, which, as a cat owner, fits so perfectly. The story moves along quickly, has good humour, and happily contains plenty of vocab-building for the age-range the book is intended for, which is something I love seeing in fiction targeted to younger people. I can easily imagine myself finding this when I was 10 or 11 and just devouring it, and even as an adult I found the mystery compelling and the pacing perfect to draw me along.
Alice is a great character, too, being neither the prim little girl who is the epitome of every early 1900s manners guide, nor the rebellious-for-the-sake-of-rebellion high-spirited troublemaker that often seems to be the counterpart to the former. She follows the rules and does what she’s told, but when push comes to shove she’ll make her own decisions and won’t just obey because someone older tells her what to do. I do dislike the whole, “She could be the most powerful Reader ever” bit, largely because “the most powerful anything ever” trope is quite stale at this point (can’t we just have someone who’s decently talented without needing to go over the top with it?), but it does help some that she doesn’t achieve things effortlessly, she often makes mistakes, and some things are learning experiences without having some great moral lesson attached to them.
So in a nutshell, this is a mid-grade historical fantasy series that’s fun, has an interesting plot, and the commentary on books makes me grin. Definitely a series I want to read the rest of, if I get the chance.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story itself is fantastic, and as an avid bibliophile it's hard for me to resist anything to do with libraries or reading about the wonderful books that take us to faraway places. The plot also had enough mystery to keep me constantly guessing; I could never be sure what everybody's motives were. I felt for the main character Alice and her predicament of being suddenly thrust into a strange environment where she couldn't trust anyone, though she was far from helpless and I'm sure she had no need for anyone's sympathy. Courageous and headstrong, Alice is a good role model for young readers, being a take-charge kind of girl who doesn't take obstacles or setbacks lying down.
In some ways, The Forbidden Library was more complex than I would have expected from a middle-grade novel. While it had its fair share of levity (Ashes the talking cat will be a joy to many, for example -- and not just to cat-lovers!), it also had its moments of darkness. Sometimes it's both light and dark at once, as evidenced by the "Swarmers", Alice's horde of bizarre bird-like creatures that have the physical appearance and consistency of a rubber ball with legs. I confess, reading this made me want an army of Swarmers of my own -- in spite of the fact they're essentially a black mass of razor-sharp pecking beaks and I'd probably lose an eye. Like I said, the magical creatures found in this book and the sheer imagination behind them are a pure delight.
It's moments like that which make me feel this is a book both kids and adults can enjoy. It certainly has that wide appeal! I've been trying to read a lot more children's books/middle-grade books lately, taking note of my favorite titles to share with my daughter one day (who's still a bit too young now, but it's never too early to start her library!) Without a doubt, The Forbidden Library will be one of them.
Alice hears a strange conversation between her father and a snarky fairy one night, and practically the next thing she knows, her father is missing, presumed dead, she's impoverished and sent to live with her "uncle," a rich old man she's never met--and who turns out to be a wizard who collects his powers by killing or enslaving creatures found in magical books. There's a talking cat, dragons, and critters of all descriptions. And a boy who has to be rescued. Alice has been raised by her Dad to be a plucky, take charge kind of girl, and it's a pleasure to follow her adventure. She stays true to herself and I look forward to the change she'll cause in every book/world she visits--oh yes, the Forbidden Library is true to the saying, "Books are portals to other worlds." I'll be gifting the book to all my nieces, for sure.
Like the blurb says, the book should be popular with fans of Coraline and Inkheart; I would say also fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Roald Dahl's Matilda, and I was reminded of the plucky, likeable Sara Crewe from A Little Princess (by Frances Hodgson Burnett, not the movie). Highly recommended for both personal and library collections.
The world that Alice inhabits is much like our own, except when it isn't. And like many of the heroes/heroines of other fantasy novels, she has special abilities that enable her to face the many dangers and challenges she encounters. But what I like best about Mr. Wexler's world is the ambiguity that Alice faces. Though she is mentored by her "uncle", it is never clear whose side he is on and whether Alice can really count on him. I think this probably reflects the actual world that the readers of this book live in and can relate to.
I look forward to reading more books in the series and for Alice to read more books as well.