Book Review: Libyrinth
Libyrinth by Pearl North
(Click on the cover to find a library copy)
SUMMARY: Haly is a Libyrarian, one of a group of people dedicated to preserving and protecting the knowledge passed down from the Ancients and stored in the endless maze of books known as the Libyrinth. But Haly has a secret: The books speak to her. When the threat of the rival Eradicants drives her from her home, Haly learns that things are not all she thinks they are. Taken prisoner by the Eradicants, who believe the written word to be evil, she sees the world through their eyes and comes to understand that they are not the book-burning monsters that she has known her entire life.The words of a young girl hiding in an attic—written hundreds of years before Haly’s birth—will spark the interest of her captors and begin the change necessary to end the conflict between the Eradicants and Libyrarians. With the help of her loyal companion Nod, a creature of the Libyrinth, Haly must mend the rift between the two groups before their war for knowledge destroys them all. Haly’s life—and the lives of everyone she knows—will never be the same. (adapted from the product descripton on Amazon.com)
OPINION: What could have easily been an anti-censorship message thinly veiled in fantasy becomes a robustly-imagined world in the hands of author Pearl North. I understood the Libyrarians pretty well, since I know about reading and researching, but I found the Eradicants fascinating. Their oral and singing traditions were an amazing way to pass down information, and the Libyrarians eventually started to give them a little of the respect I thought they deserved. This is the first in a proposed trilogy, and I hope that the stories uncover more of the mysteries of the ancient civilization that first built the Libyrinth. I became most curious about Nod and the other clockwork creations after startling revelations near the end of this story! Also, this book gave me new appreciation for Anne Frank's diary, a book which my seventh grade reading teacher pretty much ruined. The creative inclusion of timely phrases from The Diary of a Young Girl were pivotal in changing the direction of the story. As many snippets of books shout out to Haly through the story, a biblography is included at the end. I think this is a good choice for people who have enjoyed fantasy series like The Books of Pellinor by Allison Croggon or The Chanters of Tremaris by Kate Constable, as well as people who enjoy thinking about questions of information and censorship.