The Palace of Glass (The Forbidden Library: Volume III) by Django Wexler, illustrations by Alexander Jansson
Kathy Dawson Books, 2016. 978-0803739789
Synopsis: Now that Alice knows the role Geryon played in her father’s disappearance, she’s determined to exact her revenge. Ending, the labyrinthine that controls Geryon’s library, has proposed a permanent, albeit dangerous, solution: retrieve The Infinite Prison from the Palace of Glass in the worlds beyond, which would allow her to trap the old Reader. Determined to forge forward, Alice takes the journey to the worlds beyond; but will the risk be worth the potential reward?
Why I picked it up: I borrowed it at the same time as The Mad Apprentice so that I wouldn’t have to wait to find out if Alice succeeds.
Why I finished it: Alice may have gotten in over her head in her desire for revenge, a fact that becomes more apparent the further she journeys into the portal. Not only is she warned against going to the Palace of Glass, but she is confronted with how she will maintain the delicate stasis that Geryon has created. True, Alice doesn’t want the creatures of the books to feel like they are servants or that they are expendable, but at what cost can she keep them safe from the other Readers? The multitude of things Alice must mull over before she makes a finite decision continues to grow, and there doesn’t seem to be a good solution in sight. All the qualities that make Alice a heroine are also those that endear her to the reader: she is confident and smart, yet she still has to come to grips with the awesome amount of power that is coming to her. We are starting to see what Ending means when she says that Alice is different, that she is the kind of Reader Ending would be willing to work with, even if her headstrong nature often puts her in a tight spot. I keep forgetting to give a shout out to Jansson for the fantastic and whimsical watercolor-esque illustrations. The beautifully haunting black-and-white pictures give the book another little edge of mystery and horror with the overarching fantasy that are reminiscent of classic Gothic novels like Dracula and Frankenstein. There’s a lot more of Alice’s adventure to go, and I am eager to read more!
Other related materials: The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, illustrations by Alexander Jansson; The Mad Apprentice (The Forbidden Library Volume II) by Django Wexler, illustrations by Alexander Jansson; Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke; The Books of Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West; Coraline by Neil Gaiman; Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein; The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein; Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein; The Mapmakers Trilogy books by S.E. Grove; The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White, illustrations by Andrea Offermann; Book Scavenger series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman; The Books of Beginning series by John Stephens; The Wildwood Chronicles books by Colin Meloy, illustrations by Carson Ellis; 13 Treasures trilogy by Michelle Harrison; The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey