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Libriomancer: Magic ex Libris, Book 1 | [Jim C. Hines]

Libriomancer: Magic ex Libris, Book 1

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
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Publisher's Summary

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic....

©2012 Jim C. Hines (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This may be Jim Hines's best work. Libriomancer is smart, silly, and deadly serious, all at the same time. It's a book about loving books. This is the magic librarian and ass-kicking dryad adventure story we’ve all been waiting for." (Seanan McGuire, The New York Times best-selling author of Discount Armageddon)

"All writers believe in the magic of books; Jim Hines has created a system where that magic becomes real, usable, and very definitely not always safe." (Tanya Huff, best-selling author of the Blood Books)

"This funny and fast-paced series opener...will be sure to surprise and entertain urban fantasy fans.... Isaac is sure to be an instant fan favorite, and the secondary characters are vivid and multidimensional." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (296 )
5 star
 (67)
4 star
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3.8 (276 )
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Story
3.8 (274 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Simon NASHUA, NH, United States 04-08-13
    Simon NASHUA, NH, United States 04-08-13 Member Since 2008

    Nerd, Gamer, Avid Doodler, SQA/Customer Service Engineer... need I say more?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    57
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    "A reasonable start"

    Having read this book before in written format and enjoying it, I looked forward to this new version as audiobooks add something else to the story. What I got was about the same that I felt about the original book, that the concept and setup was a good one that promises to continue to get more interesting as things continue and I certainly craved more, but at the same time there wasn't quite enough to the substance of this one to fully satisfy me, which isn't entirely a bad thing since I'll likely leap upon the next book when it comes out.

    As for the narrator, while I didn't quite find him a perfect match (this is the second narrator not the original which I wonder if the other reviewers do not realize they might have) he wasn't awful. He does a serviceable job of voicing Issac, but I felt his voicing of the female characters in the story were not quite as differentiated as one might have hoped for. I would have perhaps suggested Luke Daniels as a better match since he has a good mastery of a variety of character voices and his work on Iron Druid has impressed me every time. He could still provide the youthful enthusiasm that Issac's character requires while having enough flexibility to handle the rest of the cast better. Still the narrator didn't ruin the book for me at all, just didn't give to the story quite what I would have hoped for.

    Overall it's a reasonable start to what promises to be a fun series and I'm looking forward to more.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-11-14

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fast-Paced Fun"

    I absolutely looooove the idea of this book. The rules are there, the idea is simple and effective, and the possibilities are endless. If you could pull objects from books into the real world, what would you pick?

    The story itself is light and fast, but there's still plenty of room for some character development, most of which is definitely aimed at a teenage audience. But for every misstep or perceived shortcoming, this book offers a great deal of fun and imagination.

    The narrator is decent. What would have been a higher score for performance is dropped by his inability to pronounce the word "automaton." This word is used a LOT, especially in the second half of the book, so the more it's mispronounced, the more it grates. Apart from that, it's clear the narrator had as much fun with this as I did.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy R. Snyder 03-19-14

    J.R. Snyder

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "A fun and funny surprise!"

    Libriomancer was recommended to me, but I was skeptical about heading into another variant on the paranormal-contemporary world theme. I quickly discovered that I couldn't stop listening and picked up the second volume minutes after finishing this one.

    The heroes of this story, Isaac Vainio and Lena Greenwood, were refreshingly real and accessible while still being unique and multidimensional. If you're a fantasy & sci-fi geek or fanboy (or fangirl, for that matter) you can't help but like Isaac and want to be with him every step of the way.

    Acting as a backdrop to the whole story is the tapestry of sci-fi and fantasy stories that so many of us have loved for so long, from the awful, guilty-pleasure pulps to the great works of speculative fiction. Hines manages to pay homage with a fine sense of humor that manages to make jokes without every allowing the story to become one, evoking nostalgic moments, eager anticipation, and shouts of delight as you see in your fanboy/fangirl heart exactly what's about to happen.

    This was my first experience with David DeVries as a reader. I was immediately struck by his skillful rendition of character dialogue, but initially found his narration a bit stiff. That impression didn't last, however, as the story continued to be skillfully delivered.

    This is a series I hope to see go far, and I doubt you'll be disappointed if you give it at try.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle WYLIE, TX, United States 01-23-14
    Michelle WYLIE, TX, United States 01-23-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    28
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    "Love the concept...hate the narrator"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend the book, but not the audiobook. The narration is just bad, particularly the voicing of the female characters.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David DeVries?

    Luke Daniels or James Marsters.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Medley NYC, NY United States 03-26-13
    Laura Medley NYC, NY United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2005

    Livethakly

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    5
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    "UGH with the voice!!!!"
    What did you love best about Libriomancer?

    I could tell from the words (although not remotely from the way the words were spoken), that this was a good solid book. Interesting premise (although I usually find stories about "authors" and other "books" a bit lazy in a 'write what you know" category, I could live with this one) and I would have loved to have been more into the characters if at times I could even tell who was talking to whom!

    When the voice acting is all you can think about in a book and you have to listen so carefully just to figure out who and what is speaking at the time, then there is an issue. I KNOW the story is good... I can tell that I could really enjoy this book... but I cant get passed the voice, which reminds me of a really tired John Hodgman. The voice cadence and natural sleepy tonal quality and lilt take you away from any action and there are technical issues that actually change the loudness of the words in mid sentence at times. Not only that, but the constant odd pronunciations are also an incredible distraction.

    The book starts off with some interesting characters and action that should have been riveting, but the voice killed the momentum. There is a lot of action and backstory that I am interested in and that really takes you into the main characters life without feeling like you are starting from scratch - he has a rich history and is quite fleshed out from the start, which is a nice change from so many books.

    I LOVE the sci-fi and fantasy nods and references throughout the story. Call it the big geek in me that loves all the Dr Who and HGttG that slips in and out, but it really adds to the character of the book itself as much as the actual protagonist in the book.

    Im not sure the plot in the book all ties together yet (as I could not help but write this review in advance since the voice acting HAD to be addressed before I lost my mind), but I will edit the review after I get to the end to let you guys know.

    I am working my way through the book, but am really hoping that the next book in the series will have a different voice... otherwise Ill just get the paper version. Yes, it makes that much of a difference.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Smudge :)


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David DeVries?

    Anyone! No, really... Im sorry, I hate to trash him, but it was not good.

    How about the all incredible Jim Marsters or Bronson Pinchot... perhaps Oliver Wyman. Somebody who can do multiple voices and who doesn't use the same lilt in every single sentence.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Im sure i would have been more moved by many parts.


    Any additional comments?

    Looking forward to actually reading the book so I can really get the full effect of it.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cherie 11-14-14
    Cherie 11-14-14
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    "Good enough to send me for the second book"
    Would you listen to Libriomancer again? Why?

    I don't know that I'd re-listen - the narrator does a poor job with the main female character as well as some others, and it grates


    What other book might you compare Libriomancer to and why?

    This is a light, fun story. The magic is interesting but not elaborate, though the ending makes me wonder if this will change in the future. The main characters were pleasant and there was a lot of action - not sure what I'd compare it with however


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    For the most part the narration matched the story's pace - it has a lot of action, some of which I zoned out for as I don't particularly care for drawn out fight scenes


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not particularly


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Farrell 07-09-14
    Farrell 07-09-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    6
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    "Convenient"

    The writing was good and the story flowed well. Overall I enjoyed it. I just found the premise just too much of "writers convenience". By being able to pull things out of books it seemed just a bit to easy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maman MN 06-16-14
    Maman MN 06-16-14 Member Since 2014

    Bunnyhuggin'treelovin'perfumesniffin'cakeeatin'classicsreadin'poshspeakin'cleverclogs.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Dreadful narration"
    What disappointed you about Libriomancer?

    I have sadly had to abandon the audible version and will return to print to finish this novel. The narrator sounded so wrong for the part (look at the guy on the cover- he doesn't sound like this!!) and relentlessly mispronounces words (autoMAYton), but the killer for me was the female voices! Must they all sound so 'ditzy'?? I just couldn't get past it- I envisioned them all as candy floss haired drag queens bitching about their high heels....


    Would you recommend Libriomancer to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend this audible edition. Should always listen to a sample first.


    Would you be willing to try another one of David DeVries’s performances?

    No


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. Received a good recommendation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy 03-29-14
    Judy 03-29-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    10
    6
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    "Funny and imaginative text"

    Libriomancers are people who can draw objects and people out of books and make them 'real' in the everyday world, but only after thousands of people have read the same words in the same way. Gutenberg was the original libriomancer and he developed the printing press to enable his magic. The libriomancers are being attacked by vampires who believe that the libriomancers started it and Isaac, a talented but poorly disciplined libriomancer has been recalled to field work to help out. He travels with Lena Greenwood, a dryad, and Smudge, a fire-spider, as they try to stop the serial murders of both libriomancers and vampires. The story is imaginative, well written and funny. David DeVries narration unfortunately does not do it justice. I find the tone of his voice irritating, although that is clearly personal choice, but there are also numerous instances where the way he reads dialogue does not match the description given by the author - so he might read something in a flat, unemotional tone and then say "exclaimed Lena".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Hopkins 03-22-14
    N. Hopkins 03-22-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
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    64
    12
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    "Save yourself! Read the book instead!"
    Would you try another book from Jim C. Hines and/or David DeVries?

    Yes, if read by a different narrator. He has a fun style, good sense of humor and good character development. The premise of this book was outstanding and lured me in. Why, oh why did I not listen to a sample, or read the reviews more carefully? Because I'm a sap, that's why. Bringing objects from books to life? How could it not be fascinating? Every book lovers dream, right? And in fact, the story is fascinating. If you can get past the horrible narration.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The tree nymph. Great sense of humor, interesting premise.


    Would you be willing to try another one of David DeVries’s performances?

    Not only no, but by cracky, heck no. It was absolutely horrible. Nothing personal, David. Some people are just meant to be narrators, others are not. I hope you didn't quit your day job.


    Could you see Libriomancer being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    That's a silly ass question.


    Any additional comments?

    I may very well get the Kindle edition of the sequel. I'd very much like to know what happens to these characters. I just couldn't stand to listen to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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