REVIEW: The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander
The Library of Ever is an instant classic for middle grade readers and book lovers everywhere—an adventure across time and space, as a young girl becomes a warrior for the forces of knowledge.
With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored—until she discovers a secret doorway into the ultimate library. Maze-like and reality-bending, the library contains all the universe’s wisdom. Every book ever written, and every fact ever known, can be found within its walls. And Lenora becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.
She rockets to the stars, travels to a future filled with robots, and faces down a dark nothingness that wants to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.
Dear Mr. Alexander,
I admit that I requested to be allowed to read this book based on the title, the cover and the intriguing blurb – even if I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. But who can turn down a chance to read about the greatest library ever and a young library lover’s reality bending adventures in it? Not I.
In the first few pages we discover Lenora who is on her own for the summer as her parents are on vacation. Left with a nanny and a chauffeur, Lenora is bored, bored, bored. That is until the day her shopaholic nanny takes Lenora to the library. (like Lenora, I love being surrounded by silence and people reading, too) After helping a young boy get past a man intent on keeping him from entering a room with books, Lenora hears a crash, spots a large archway in the wall with incised letters above it that spell “KNOWLEDGE IS A LIGHT.” Unable to resist, Lenora walks down the hallway and into a world of adventures. With a jolt of pleasure, she realizes that she’s lost in the library.
Soon she is appointed as a Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian (after taking an awe inspiring oath) and put to work at a help desk where she answers an urgent question about a future leap year date and then set to work helping patrons clambering around the library’s new largest globe in the world. Penguins help Lenora answer her next question and then get back to the library by telling her what the highest point from the Earth’s center is.
But all along the way, as Lenora encounters and assists librarian patrons from penguins to ants to a little boy who has lost his kitten (it slipped off to visit the library’s new diorama about Bubastis – the city of the Goddess of Cats), she is challenged and hampered by strange people. Who are they and why are they trying to thwart her? Soon Lenora discovers an ancient enemy – an enemy who has tried to destroy libraries, to stamp out knowledge. Is Lenora strong enough, brave enough and clever enough to stand up to the forces of darkness? We also learn what happens after this sentence –
Trapped in Genghis Khan’s tomb with a killer robot, Lenora had nowhere to run.
Imminently clever and vastly entertaining, this is a jumble of adventures from before written language through space travel. It takes Lenora – and us – through the delights as well as the challenges of libraries and their struggle to keep the light and delight of knowledge lit and burning. Lenora is fired with enthusiasm and steely resolve to carry that torch and always say “Hello. How may I help you?” when confronted with a confused patron on a quest for an answer. Oh and when that patron is an ant, use pheromones as your language.
It is definitely written for (younger) middle school readers and I agree with some critiques I’ve read that say the ending is a little rushed and that the lesson presented might come off as a touch simplistic but the adventures and young heroine will probably carry the day for almost everyone. B