I saw a cartoon a long time ago (XKCD I suspect) that suggested that the more made-up terminology a fantasy story had, the more suspicious of quality it might be. Magus of the Library (vol. 4) is a partial example behind why this might be so; what’s being set up is actually interesting and I like the world so far, but since it’s been a while since I’ve read volume 3, there are quite a few technical terms about the fantasy world that I don’t remember which makes reading this one a challenge.
The basic premise is that there’s a Central Library that assumes responsibility for as well as supervisory authority over all books with the mission of equal access to all materials for anyone who wants to. You have to take a massive text to get a job there, and our hero Theo is on a mission to work for this library. So far he’s gotten to the surviving his classmates and getting over his own issues to get through the education part of his training. There’s a good mix of personalities among both students and instructors, an emphasis on how hard the training is likely going to be, and Theo facing self-doubt. Theo though also gets to see someone special, the kafna (basically Librarian, and the one term I didn’t forget thankfully, as it’s often used) who inspired him to aspire to work for the library. A lot of this is somewhat familiar but the world is so interesting and some characters have some interesting personality or suggestions about them, that the somewhat predictable plot is fine.
There are several races in this world and some clear tensions among them as well as hints of plenty of potentially interesting and impactful political and cultural history (not unique to vol 4, but still noticeable), there’s some information about the Library’s inner workings, and there’s a big old so obvious it’s hardly even worth calling foreshadowing about an eventual major confrontation between Theo and someone really important to him (I mean it’s so obvious both in text and the illustration) which might be intended as a cliffhanger given it’s positioned at the very end, but it seems unlikely for anything to happen in the near future, but it gives the other character (not Theo) a bit of interesting depth that they previously lacked while also explaining something about said character’s attitude. The struggle for me is that I’m reasonably sure I’d have to go back through the previous three volumes to catch nuances I’m sure I’ve missed due to not remembering some of the racial labels and a couple of other terms. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to go back through a world that’s getting more interesting, but still, it does make for some minor difficulty really enjoying the current volume, but maybe I have to reread this one too.