Saturday, December 17, 2016


Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris, #4)Revisionary by Jim C. Hines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book four in the “Magic Ex Libris” series. I would recommend that you read the first three books before reading this one, as events in those books have direct bearing on what is happening in this one. If you’ve not read them, some of the things in this review will be spoilers, but I will not spoil the plot of Revisionary.

At the end of the last book, there was a huge magical confrontation that was impossible to hide from the “mundanes” - who up until this point were unaware of magic in the world. Our protagonist, Isaac Vainio, who is is a “Porter” - one who can perform magic using books - took it upon himself to basically let the world know about magic, after the big fight. It was too much to be able to hide, so he went public with everything. His hope was that the mundanes would see that the Porters could be a help to humanity. He was naive in that hope.

This book opens several months later, and Isaac has created a community/research center called New Millennium that does research into the limits of LIbriomancy, and attempts to keep it from being used by nefarious entities. However, the US government is conducting Congressional inquiries into the events of the last book, and is quite hostile to Isaac, the Porters, and other magical beings. The government wants to register all Libriomancers and non-human entities (vampires, werewolves, etc), or even lock them all up. I found this to be a direct parallel to current events in the US, with respect to Muslims. It was all driven by the need for “national security” - just as it is promoted in real life.

Things happen fast and furious in this book - there are attacks by magical beings, killing humans; there are attacks by humans on magical beings; and through it all Isaac has to figure out what’s going on and who he can trust. There isn’t much let up in the action, as Isaac and his companions go from crisis to crisis. This relentless pace, coupled with the very real-world political climate meant that this book was hardly “fantasy escapism.” While the magic is very fantastical (and really well though through), the politics and machinations by shadowy government figures felt all too real. Because of this, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous ones in the series. Don’t get me wrong - this is still a well-written book, with lots of cool magic and magical creatures. But because it takes place in what feels very much like today’s political climate, it wasn’t really escapism. For those who like their fantasy grounded in reality (if you know what I mean) then this book is spot on. For those who are looking to escape from today’s issues into a fantastical world, this is not your book.

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