The Book of the Night by Pearl North
The Book of the Night (Libyrinth)
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“The world of the Libyrinth has experienced a series of wrenching changes. After the Libyrarians and their longtime foes the Singers discovered their common heritage, a young healer named Po found the Lion’s Bloom, an ancient and enormously powerful artifact capable of rewriting reality.
Behind the mysteries of their shrouded past has always been the legendary Book of the Night. Sought for generations, both feared and revered, it is the key to this world of wonders. When vain, grasping Queen Thela steals the Lion’s Bloom and imperils the very reality of the world, only the Book can heal what she has rent asunder. An epic journey through strange lands, a perilous encounter in a clockwork city, and the revelation of the truth beyond reality will lead those who find the Book to a moment when their world will either be saved…or cease to exist.”
What initially drew me to this trilogy is the reverence that it shows for books and the printed word. In this final novel, we also get a demonstration of the power of words, both for good and ill. Here, we have the Lion’s Bloom, a pen that can be used to change reality depending on what you write with it. The change is literal, although it’s easy to extrapolate the metaphor in our own lives.
I loved the explanation of where the more fanciful elements of their world came from—and it is a logical explanation, presuming you can suspend disbelief on things like pens that can change reality. It ties in very neatly with the concept of the Libyrinth itself. It also puts me in mind of something Jasper Fforde might have written, since his novels, like North’s, extol the virtues of the printed word.
Beyond the setting, I appreciated that the story was so well balanced among a diverse cast of characters. We get the viewpoints of male and female, higher class and lower class, adventurers and scholars. Of them all, my favorite character is Po. His inner journey in the previous book was one of the most interesting and involved of any young adult novel I’ve read. Given how much chaos is in the rest of the story, his gentleness is a welcome contrast.
North has created one of the most inventive young adult trilogies with her Libyrinth novels, and The Book of the Night is an awesome way to conclude it. Although not nearly as well-known as some other series on the market, this one combines quality storytelling with compelling characters and I highly recommend it to anybody, no matter your age.
Also by this author: The Boy from Ilysies, Libyrinth
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on February 22, 2013.