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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.
Libriomancer - Jim C. Hines Isaac, Librarian and Libriomancer, has been removed from field work among the "Porters", but is drawn back in when vampires attack him, searching for information about who has been stirring up trouble and killing their kind.Libriomancer is the second book I've read on roughly the same theme this year, the other being Geekomancy. Both posit magic based around the shared cognitive experience of story, though Geekomancy seemed far more interested in movie/cartoon culture, and Libriomancer is firmly entrenched in books. Both also can't resist Doctor Who's psychic paper, or playing with lightsabers, or referencing vampires which glitter in the sunlight.On the whole, I enjoyed Libriomancer more, since it wasn't as obsessed with bombarding the reader with a thousand pop culture references per page, and was more about telling the story (though referencing a wide enough variety of novels that a devoted SFF reader is sure to hit at least one of their favourites).At the same time, I was irritated by the general incompetence of the Porters (the magic organisation), who are supposedly hot shit, but for some reason Isaac is the only one with any originality or ability to get things done. And, though there's plenty of women doing active stuff and being powerful and themselves and all...all the "major players" - head of the Porters, antagonist, "guy who knows what's going on but can't say", were male.Lena was a particularly complex character to read. A dryad who wields some mean swords, she is constitutionally bound to take a mate, absolutely must obey and please that mate, changes her personality to fit that mate and, of course, fixes on Isaac as candidate for new mate after her psychologist lover/master goes missing believed vamped. Although there's a great deal of time spent discussing the morality of being the lover of someone with a biomagical imperative to be yours absolutely - and Isaac, special snowflake that he is, manages to infect Lena with the ability to not be completely obedient - we still have a hot kickass female constitutionally wanting/needing to sex up the main character. While she's obviously intended to hold up to the light the "wet fantasy female" so often found in SFF, she remains a woman who constitutionally needs lovers, so the deconstruction just never comes off for me.She also serves the function of having someone for Isaac to explain to, to be muscle, to trail him about asking him what his plans are because the plans are his plans, also gets to be gun-at-her-head hostage during the climax, because there's nothing like a love interest for holding at gun point. Not an incompetent character, but as a whole it didn't sit well with me.As a side-note, I like female characters who are happy and confident in their sexuality. I dislike female characters who behave in ways I would dislike if it was a man behaving that way to a woman.So I found it an interesting read, but not a series I'm inclined to continue with.