The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman
Irene and her team face the most dangerous question of all in 2021’s The Untold Story. With this book, the overarching plotline of the INVISIBLE LIBRARY series is resolved, although Genevieve Cogman has tweeted that there may be different stories in the future.
This review may contain spoilers for earlier books in the series.
Like all the INVISIBLE LIBRARY books, this one plunges us straight into danger and action, as librarian Irene and her Great Detective friend Vale enter a secret undersea base in search of a letter. The letter should contain vital information about worlds that have suddenly disappeared. In Irene’s universe, realities range between two poles: Order, represented by the Dragons, and Chaos, represented by the Fae. Both the Fae and the Dragons have reports of worlds on the extremes of the continuum vanishing — and some suspicion that people within the Library are at the heart of it.
Unfortunately, Vale and Irene walk into an ambush. They escape, but not before Irene has another encounter with the Library’s greatest adversary, Alberich. Alberich proposes a truce with the Library, and the Library accepts, sending a small group that includes Irene and her rival Bradamant. They are betrayed, with fatal results. Irene realizes that Alberich, while probably insane, is right about something very wrong in the heart of her beloved Library… just as she is forced to accept that he is her biological father.
Like all the books in the series, this one is filled with action sequences and suspenseful setbacks for the team. As someone who has read each of the books, I liked getting to see a couple of early characters, like Coppelia and Melusine, back for a bit. The Untold Story, which is longer than most of the LIBRARY series, seemed to slow down noticeably in the middle.
I enjoyed the book overall, especially a bit at the end when Irene truly loses the one magical ability she always counts on… and is forced to rely on her intelligence and knowledge. The resolution, while not a great surprise, was well done, with the theme of power and control well-exercised, largely through Kai’s interactions with his older half-brother and another powerful Dragon relative. Irene and Kai snatch a few moments from the jaws of danger to figure out their own relationship as well.
The story is not my favorite of the series, but it resolves the plot solidly, and leaves Irene and her team well-placed for future stories (or stories following new characters) if Cogman wants to write those. If you’ve been following Irene, Kai, Vale and Catherine you won’t want to miss this one.