Revisionary is the fourth and final book in Jim C. Hines’ Magic Ex Libris series, and the short version of this review is: this is a satisfying ending that still leaves a Whole Lot of Room in the Libriomancer universe if Jim ever decides to come back to it.
The long version is behind the cut because SPOILERS.
Isaac Vaino, Nidhi Shaw, Smudge the Fire Spider, and Lena Greenwood are up to their usual tricks. At the end of Libriomancer, Isaac had sent a note out into books giving the world the knowledge that libriomancy existed. At the beginning of Revisionary, Isaac and Co. are dealing with the fallout from that decision. Nicola Pallas and Isaac are dealing with governmental agencies who alternately want to lock up all inhumans (e.g., vampires, werewolves, trolls, etc.) and libriomancers to use them as weapons or for the weapons they can develop, or use them for their power and the weapons they can develop.
But also, they’re dealing with the other Porters, who aren’t entirely happy with the situation, and the New Millennium: designed as a hospital/research center. Oh, and the Vanguard (the aforementioned inhumans who aren’t thrilled with the way things are going).
Basically, the whole world is a powder keg. And our heroes are in the middle of shit creek, if I may mix my metaphors.
This book holds up beautifully to the preceding three; the characterizations continue to be strong and the characters both likable and not by turns because they read like people. I can see growth in all of them from the first book until now, and my feeling on closing this book was both satisfaction but also sadness: that I wouldn’t get to spend more time with this crew, but knowing they were prepared to start a whole new chapter of their lives that will keep them quite busy.
Only, hopefully, with slightly less damage in their futures.
Though probably not.
Thoroughly recommended, as are all the Magic Ex Libris books, to anyone who loves reading. Because, in the end, Isaac has the right of it when he says “Story was magic. Magic was story. Memory was also story, disparate events linked together in our mind to create a narrative.” And it’s good, sometimes, to lose ourselves in the magical memories of people who are no less real for never having lived anywhere but the page.
Reviewer Note: This review is based on an advance review copy. I did not receive any compensation other than the ARC itself for this review.