Book review The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman
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Book review: The Mortal Word

Book review of The Mortal Word

*I received this book from the author and Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review of the book*

This is my book review of The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman. It is the fifth book in The Invisible Library series about the interdimensional Librarian spy/book thief, Irene Winters.


“When Irene returns to London after a relatively straightforward book theft in Vienna, Bradamant informs her that there is a top-secret Dragon-Fae peace conference in progress that the Library is mediating, but that the second-in-command dragon has been stabbed to death. Tasked with solving the case, [detective] Vale and Irene immediately go to 1890s Paris [in another world].

Once they arrive, it seems that the murder victim had uncovered evidence suggesting that he may have found proof of treachery by one or more Librarians. But to ensure the peace of the conference, some Librarians are already hostages in the dragon and Fae courts. To save the captives, including her parents, Irene must get to the bottom of this murder […]”

The above blurp is borrowed from the authors webpage.


If you’ve read my reviews of the other books in The Invisible Library series, you already know I’m generally a fan of the series. I was curious to see if The Mortal Word could keep up.

Book review The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

I can’t say I was disappointed at all. Cogman knows her universe and her characters and we get to see the politics of the worlds unfold even more, in The Mortal Word. I was excited for more advanced plots and schemes and Cogman delivered. I’ll admit that it’s a bit of a classic ‘who-did-it’ story. But even though I had half-guessed who the murderer was, there were side-plots galore to revel in.

Having all the big personalities, each with their own agenda, gathered in the same spot is obviously bound to result in a few opposing opinions. It was a pleasure to follow Irene Winters. Through spinetingling situations, combat-scenes and one-on-one political discussions. The Mortal Word is thrilling adventure for Irene Winters in the ‘business as usual’ sense, one might even say.

Parents and relationships

In The Mortal Word, like the previous books in the series, problems and dilemmas seem to be piling up for Irene. This all collides at approximately 2/3 way into the book and it’s been working like a charm so far in the other books.

*SPOILER ALERT* However, one element in particular never actually added any real tension for me in The Mortal Word. Irene’s parents being hostages never took center stage and was merely referred to as an afterthought. I never got the feeling of them actually being in proper danger. Irene didn’t try to contact them or enquire about their whereabouts either. It’s a very small thing but with Irene being very pragmatic, practical and active with everything else, I would’ve loved to see her at least try to get in touch with them. It wasn’t even clear if they were in the same world or not. For the reader, the Irene’s parents are still just the idea of parents as we haven’t ‘met’ them yet. That is making it much less urgent than other characters being kidnapped or threatened.

Interdimensional book stealing agent

All in all, I was a big fan, although as a book loving fanatic, there could have been more books in this one. Or just a few more bookish references to great literature as I always enjoy those too. It was there, but Cogman could have amped up the volume, without losing sight of the plot and intrigue quite easily.

5/6 stars for this one (if I have to rate it). Bring on the Irene in the field, book stealing agent Winters – I’m ready for more!

Have you read The Mortal Word or other books from The Invisible Library series yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Irene Winters’ adventures, so please leave a comment below!

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