Book Review: Libriomancer

A few years ago, I checked out Jim C. Hines Libriomancer from the library. I’d read and thoroughly enjoyed his Goblin Quest and Princess novels and thought a story about casting magic from books would be a good read. I never got around to it and when the rental period expired I returned it unread.

Jump ahead to a few weeks ago when I finally remembered to check it back out again. This time I devoured it quickly and already put holds on the next two books. I’ll try to avoid spoilers and stick to the general stuff for now, but I have to say that I really loved this book. It was funny in the right places, had action in the right places, and the right touch of romance to hit all the right notes.

Let me take a moment and break down the book for you. Isaac Vainio is a libriomancer (it’s in the blurb. not a spoiler) Basically this means he can cast magic by pulling it out of books. What’s great is that as a true geek, Isaac mostly sticks to scifi/fantasy novels, some called out specifically others in vague descriptions. Either way, every time a reference is made that I got, my little geek heart grew a few sizes for this book.

And then of course there’s some conflict, some adventure, and Isaac has to do some creative thinking to save the day. And as is true of other Jim C. Hines’ books, the ‘method of success’ has some unforeseen side effects that setup the conflict in the next book or the one after.

I can talk for a long time on the plot, the characters, etc of this book but what I want to focus on is just the… awesome wish fulfillment of this story. I know usually wish fulfillment is used in book reviews as a negative, that the book was just written to basically be a form of written daydream but in this case I mean it in a very very good way. Not sure about other readers, but for me the idea of being able to reach into my favorite book and pull out a magic ring, excalibur, tricorder, or fire spider is amazing. I grew up reading to the point that my parents realized by middle school that sending me to my room wasn’t a punishment because I would just curl up with some music and a book for hours, losing myself in the adventure and the characters. Libriomancer is that kid getting to interact with his favorite books in a completely new and magical way. It’s that kid getting to not just be a book geek but also the hero, the geeky guy that through his wits and knowledge of scifi fantasy books can save the day and get the girl. (A girl who is totally kick ass and unique in her own way)

If you’re a book lover, someone that prides themselves in having a bookshelf in every room and believes in the magic of the written world, I cannot recommend this book enough. I love it and can’t wait for the others to come in.


Dragon*con 2015 Thoughts

(warning: censored profanity)

I plan to write more later on my two FATE games that I ran on Friday and Sunday nights but first I wanted to crank out a quick ‘reaction’ piece to my first Dragon*con.

My easy reaction is: “F*#king go to Dragon*con.”

Are there crowds? Yes. Is it hot in Atlanta in the Summer? Yes. Will there be panels you can’t get into? Yes. Will you have to wait for an elevator? Yes.


Will there be cosplayers and fans of your favorite show/game/movie/book? Yes! Will your favorite actors/writers/directors/scientists be there talking about all the things you love? Yes! Will you meet new and interesting people waiting in that elevator? Yes. Will you be surrounded by 60+ thousand people that fully embrace your weirdness, your geekiness, your nerdiness? Will you leave feeling like you are no longer alone in your weirdness? A million times: yes!!

This was my first time going to Dragon*con and I had some idea of what to expect: crowds, lines for panels/interviews, a board game room, some RPGs that I could run or join, cool costumes, celebrities, etc. What I wasn’t- couldn’t have been prepared for were just the sheer number of people that ‘got me’. From the moment you see your first deadpool or hear someone talking about the latest Star Wars trailer or asking you to “WITNESS THEM!”, you immediately understand “You are One of Us.” We could be IT professionals, teachers, librarians, teachers, construction workers, consultants, et cetera but at Dragon*con you are a geek. You are One of Us and it is glorious. It is affirming. It is inclusive.

Yes. I know there are jerks and we all have those stories too but they in no way hold a candle to the guy who jokes about using his shield to hold off the masses as the elevator door opens or the woman who sees you reading a Seanan McGuire book or playing a friend’s video game and asking what it is and not just as a way to kill time but out of genuine interest. If that question had been asked of me anywhere else I would have hemmed and hawed a bit given a high level overview of what urban fantasy is and maybe the protagonist and wait for the ‘oh. so not my kind of book/game’ look in their eyes. But at Dragon*con that explanation is met with ‘Yes and…’ followed by questions about the book, the characters, suggestions for other books/games that I might find interesting.

(For those interested the book was Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire and the game was Cognition Episode 2 by Phoenix Online Studios.)

So once again. If you are in any way a geek: tv, movie, video game, board, or tabletop game, book, character, science, space, LARPing, Felicia Day or whatever it is. F*&CKING GO TO DRAGON*CON!!!!!

(Okay, so maybe I’ll do another post on the actual panels that I visited and the things that I saw)