my review of The Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines including Libriomancer and Codex Born

The Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines

Review of the first two books in the series Magic Ex Libris by Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer & Codex Born. The urban fantasy series is all about the power of stories. It’s a fun rump that reads like a excellent roleplaying series.

Quick review of Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Libromancer is the first book of the Magic Ex Libris series. The series has a really fun magic system: Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. Isaac Vainio is a member of the secret Libriomancers organization founded by Johannes Gutenberg..

It’s a fun and exciting read. It feels like it could be a really good roleplaying campain.

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines, the first book in the Magic Ex Libris series

My review of Codex Born by Jim C. Hines

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Codex Born has interesting fully fleshed characters with complex relationships and problems. Fun and enjoyable read ser in a world I would love to roleplay in.

The book explores Isaac and the dryad Lena’s relationship in much more depth and lampshades the problematic nature of it.

Codex Born by Jim C. Hines, the first book in the Magic Ex Libris series

My review from 2013 of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Title: Codex Born
Series: Magic Ex Libris
Author:  Jim C. Hines
Genre: Urban fantasy

This is the second book in the Magic Ex Libris series. I loved the first one and the second one definitely lived up the promise.

The magic system and worldbuilding

The idea of magic being a matter of pulling stuff right out of books based on the size of the readership of the book – amazing! How can I not love a book that is stuffed full of not only references to my favourite books, but uses the most iconic items from those books. Isaac got a babble fish in his ear for crying out loud and it is plot relevant. When it was mentioned in the first book that Mira Grant’s Feed of course was locked so nobody could pull the zombie virus out I squealed like a little girl, because of course it is!

I do not only love the world building, I want to play a role-playing game in the world with some of my most book nerdy friends. I would be so much fun to see us all trying to remember book titles and come up with just what item to use in the situation our crazy GM would throw at us. I know just the group to play this with.

Characters and relationships

This series is really book love incarnated Isaac is of course a librarian, of course he is, what other job would he have. There is meta-fictional work and then there is this series.

Ok enough squeeing about that. What I also really like about this book is how emotional they are. And how complex those emotions are. Lena and Isaac’s relationship is complicated and really interesting. I love that they both struggle with it and that they both love each other.

I also really like that none of their problems is because one of them is holding the idiot ball. But that their problem stems mostly from unforeseen consequences and from antagonists. I also really like that this book series is painting the antagonists in shades of grey. They have reasons for acting as they do.

I enjoy that Isaac has loyalties to a man that he isn’t sure is really a good guy – his loyalties is profoundly tried throughout the book. He is never quite sure if he is being lied to, if his boss really have a good reason for acting as he does and did or if he is just being an asshole. As a reader you are not sure either.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I did not want the book to end.You know a book is good when you don’t want it to end, is looking forward to the next one and want to play the roleplaying game.

The stats: Codex Born

Published: 2013 by DAW
Pages: 320 pages
Status: December 2. – 3. 2013

Author: White, male, USA, neurodiverse
The protagonists: Isaac: male, white, magic user, part-time librarian, Michigan, USA.
Lena: Female dryad

This review was originally posted: December 3, 2013. Updated and edited June 26, 2023



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One response to “The Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines”

  1. […] This book has a unique magic system and is a great bit fun adventure story, with some chewy enough bits to keep me interested. Our male protagonist works for an agency/secret organization that works to keep the magic of books under control. The book is entertaining and exciting and quite funny. My review […]

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