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Friday, April 15, 2016

Revisionary by Jim C. Hines

by Terrance McArthur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

When Isaac Vainio told the world about bibliomancy, magic that pulled characters and objects out of books, he didn’t create the happy world he dreamed of. Governments put supernaturals into prison camps or tried to weaponize them, rogue creatures and magic-users wanted to go to war against humanity, and all of them were out to get Isaac. That’s Revisionary by Jim C. Hines, the fourth and final? volume in the Libriomancer/Magic Ex Libris series.

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Isaac, his lover/sidekick/book-spawned love-dryad Lena, and her female lover/psychologist Nidhi are in the middle of a world gone mad, and most of it is mad at Isaac. Enemies of magic become targets, sirens are being kidnapped, secretaries are showing up in too many places, and Isaac has to team up with an ex-libriomancer who went vampire. Johannes Gutenberg, who invented bibliomancy (if you don’t count the Chinese who had discovered it centuries earlier), talks to Isaac frequently (spoiler: although he died in an earlier book), trying to get the young magic-user to see what magic can be and what it isn’t.

There are magic against magic battles, military against military battles, and everybody against everybody battles. One feature of the book is a bibliography list of the books accessed for magic by the characters, works by authors from Douglas Adams to H. G. Wells, with nods to Michael Crichton, Homer (the Greek poet, not the yellow guy from The Simpsons), and Stephen King. Among the classics, near-classics, and the obscure, there are titles that were totally made up by Hines, to create a magic he couldn’t borrow from a real author.

Image source: DAW

Isaac’s pet fire-spider, Smudge, gets quite a workout because he starts to smoke or flame when danger is near, and the stakes are high in this book. Who is behind the attacks on politicians? Why are magical creatures disappearing? How did Isaac’s research center become the most dangerous place for him to be? Where can you be safe when the good guys and the bad guys are all after you?

If this isn’t the last book in the series, I look forward to more book magic, silliness, and references to books I love. If it is the conclusion of a tetralogy, I look forward to seeing what future magic Jim C. Hines will pull out of his imagination.

To enter to win a copy of Revisionary, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “revisionary,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 23, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public's information needs.


  1. I love the premise of this book...characters, etc released from books? What objects and people would I pull from books? I want Captain Nemo's submarine, Harry Potter's wand, wardrobe from Jane Austen, and...