In the second installment of her Invisible Library series, Cogman (The Invisible Library, 2016) chronicles the exploits of Irene Winters, an interdimensional Librarian seeking rare books across alternate worlds.
Irene (she named herself after Irene Adler) is Librarian-in-Residence in a Victorian London not quite our own, as it boasts a Fae Embassy and werewolf gangs. Here, Irene and her apprentice, a dragon named Kai, acquire rare volumes for the mysterious Library—with the aid of Peregrine Vale, a Sherlock Holmes analogue. When Kai is kidnapped, the potential retribution from his family must be averted. Irene and Vale discover the abduction to be the work of the Fae—the dragons' ancient foes—and Irene must bargain with the scheming Lord Silver in order to track Kai to a Fae-ruled alternate Venice, leaving Vale behind. Irene must assert her own will against the Fae-dominated reality of Carnival Venice and the machinations of Kai's kidnappers. She is helped by the surprising reappearance of Vale (surprising only to Irene; one would expect a Holmes-loving Librarian to be more genre savvy!) and her own power of "Language," an ill-defined magical system by which Irene can change reality through words alone. (Language has few limits; using it is exhausting, but conveniently, Irene never becomes tired enough for this to actually impact the plot.) An epic prison break and a final showdown on an archetypal train add memorable visuals to the story...but these visuals have more impact than the characters themselves. Irene is competent, adventurous, and—that's about it; Kai fares little better than eye candy.
While it seems like there should be something for everyone in this mashup of dragons, faeries, librarians, Holmes, and masked mystery, the end result is more a stew of “wouldn't it be cool...” than a tightly plotted tale.