If we’re talking about trench-coated dudes who do supernatural stuff, I’d rather read Felix Castor. But since Mike Carey seems to think he needs to be writing OTHER wonderful things and not giving me more Felix, Isaac Vainio is an okay substitute. He’s a libriomancer, using magic to pull things (laser pistols, healing potions, fire spiders, etc.) from books. This leads to many fun nods to favorites, and adds to the ever-growing to-read list. This is the second book, and it’s actually got a list of books referenced in the back – I don’t think the first one did.
In the first book, Isaac’s dryad girlfriend, Lena, managed to save his life by pulling him from a tree (or wooden automaton – details are fuzzy). In this one, the Big Bad wants to use Lena’s magical resurrecting abilities to bring back a bunch of powerful sorcerers who have hidden in books for centuries. Things aren’t easily good guys vs. bad guys, though, as Isaac digs deeper and finds out the magic book-people were forced into hiding by his boss, the creator of the libriomancers. So following orders blindly (not his strong suit anyway) might not actually be the best thing to do.
There are lots of lovely little plot details to beef up the story, but really, it’s a regular fantasy quest story. Or anti-quest, really, since it’s the Big Bad who is hunting for Goal A, and Isaac, Lena, and their crew are trying to stop them. You get to see a little more of the world of magic in the second one, which I liked. There’s a lot going on, with werewolves, wendigos, ghosts, vampires, magical cyborg bugs, dryads, navigating one’s first poly relationship, etc. But Hines keeps it all moving swiftly along, with lots of good set-up for book three.