cover image The Book That Broke the World

The Book That Broke the World

Mark Lawrence. Ace, $29 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-43794-0

After the shocking ending to The Book That Wouldn’t Burn, Lawrence has a lot to answer for—and he doesn’t disappoint; there’s no trace of sophomore slump in this fast-paced sequel. The kaleidoscopic story of the vast and perilous athenaeum library continues, again jumping between different perspectives and points in time. Celcha and her brother Hellet, a pair of small, silky-furred ganars enslaved by the library, act on the instructions of the angels that Hellet sees. Meanwhile, siblings Evar, Clovis, and Kerrol, now free from the library chamber that trapped them since birth, are pursued by an insectoid race known as the skeer and a large mechanical monster that seems intent on killing Evar. Arpix and the other escaped librarians are now trapped in the wasteland called the Dust but protected from the skeer by a mysterious weapon. Meanwhile ghosts Livira and Malar search for a way to find solid form again. As these different perspectives weave together, the characters come closer to answers about who built the library, what future awaits it, who determines that future—and how the book Livira wrote affects them all. Lawrence makes the intertwining stories fascinating and propulsive, with enough scattered clues and shocking twists to keep the pages flying. This will keep readers up long past their bedtime. Agent: Ian Drury, Sheil Land Assoc. (Apr.)