“Thief of Lies” is the first in the Library Jumpers series. It had me hooked at the start but lost me a little in the middle/towards the end. Gia is a seemingly normal teenager who likes to hang out in libraries. She goes with her friends Nick and Afton to a pay for membership library in Boston, the Athenaeum, so they can work on their summer reports. At the library, she gets distracted by a hot teen (Arik) who suddenly disappears. She grabs the book he was browsing and sees that it is a book of libraries around the world. A paper falls out, and when she reads it, Gia and her friends are transported to the library on the page that was open. When they arrive, they encounter a ferocious creature, who is killed by the hot guy Gia had noticed before and some others. Gia and her friends learn that there is a whole other magical world- which will now be searching for them, since they were exposed by making the jump.
Gia learns that she is the child of two Sentinels who was prophesied to signal Doomsday. Her mother had run and hidden her since she was a baby, and though her mother died when she was four, her stepfather has raised her as his own. He was unaware of this otherworld. Every Sentinel has a Changeling which looks exactly like them and is used to replace them at birth so they can raised and trained in the magical realm. Gia’s Changeling, Diedre, was raised by Gia’s biological father, Carrig, and his fey wife, Sinead. We spend some time learning about this alternate world with wizards and other magical creatures as well as the powers a Sentinel has (they can do specific magic and have wizards in their ancestry).
There were a few things that kind of lost me about this new world which is created in the book. So, Sentinels aren’t supposed to marry each other. Instead, they are matched on birth with wizards (most frequently). Their children are then wizards apparently. So they would be distilled over many generations, just as the Sentinels are (e.g. Gia’s ancestry has wizards in it as do all Sentinels which is where their magic comes from). How are there still wizards? What is the proportion of wizard DNA needed to maintain wizards in the bloodline? Some Sentinels come from humans, so I get this is something different. I just don’t get why Gia wouldn’t be a wizard also with the recent wizards in her line vs. a technical wizard. Obviously, I am getting too bogged down in the details here. Anyway, I am not sure I totally got the magical world and how all the different species interact/exist, which I would have liked to have explained better in the book (not just the DNA but which species do what as several are mentioned without much explanation).
There also is a love triangle built between Gia, Arik, and someone else (who I won’t name to avoid spoilers) and it felt a little forced, as did the other between Nick, Afton, and someone else (who I also won’t name). It seemed like a bit too much drama, but maybe that’s just how 16 year olds are meant to be/are (I might be getting too old). It was also interesting that 16 year olds are sent to the frontlines of the magical wars, but I guess this makes sense as 16 was old way back when and we send 18 year olds to war. That being said, it really added a lot of adventure and action to the story to have them out on the front and making the calls in this brewing war. There was a lot more action in the book than I expected from the summary, and it really kept it moving quickly! The magic training, however, was definitely my favorite part, and I liked exploring the types of magic a Sentinel can have and how they use them.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I am curious to read more in the series/see how it evolves. The author has created a really complex world in this book (arguably too complex for the length of the book) and, regardless, it is a really fun adventure story. Please note that I received an e-galley from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are entirely my own.