Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman and Search Image by Julie E. Czerneda

Genevieve Cogman, The Mortal Word (Ace 978-0-399-58744-3, $15.00, 433pp, tp) Novem­ber 2018.

Irene faces a murder mystery in this fifth vol­ume in the Invisible Library series. Peace talks between the Fae and the dragons are disrupted when one of the dragon negotiators is murdered, and Irene and her great-detective friend Vale are asked to help. Fortunately, these secret talks are being held in Paris in a world very similar to Vale’s. Unfortunately, the two sides have insisted on adding two investigators of their own, a fe­male dragon and the Fae Silver, who has proved an annoyance for Irene in the past. With a few exceptions, the chaotic Fae and their compulsive playacting actually seem more likeable than the chilly dragons of order. The Librarians are sup­posed to be mediating, but there’s evidence of treachery. At least Irene has the company of her former trainee, the dragon Kai, who’s a nephew of the leading dragon negotiator. The investiga­tion gets complicated to an entertainingly absurd degree, making for a fun adventure, if not a totally successful whodunit.

Julie E. Czerneda, Search Image (DAW 978-0-7564-0875-6, $26.00, 433pp, hc) October 2018. Cover by Matt Stawicki.

After some 15 years away, Czerneda returns to the Web Shifters series and the ever-entertaining shapeshifter Esen for this first volume in the Web Shifter’s Library series. Esen and her human friend Paul Ragem have built a special library intended to help the various alien races understand each other, despite some major physiological and cultural differences. An old friend (and sometime foe) turns up needing help to stop an extinction, and an artifact turns up out of Esen’s distant past, bringing family flashbacks and intriguing new possibilities. As always, there are plenty of oddball alien hijinks, misunderstandings, and intrigues, all illustrating how badly the library is needed while providing excellent entertainment.

Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.

This review and more like it in the December 2018 issue of Locus.

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