In Review: The Librarians and the Lost Lamp

I couldn't put this down. It was a page turner and it was fun.

The Librarians and the Lost Lamp by Greg Cox

Published by Tor, October 11, 2016. Hardcover of 288 pages at $27.99, paperback of 288 pages at $15.99, and eBook at $9.99.

The cover: The artwork used for this cover is by Ex Libris Holdings, Inc., with the cover being designed by Russell Trakhtenberg. This is a reuse of a publicity photo of the cast showing, from left to right, John Kim as Ezekial Jones, Lindy Booth as Cassandra Cillian, Rebecca Romijn as Eve Baird, Christian Kane as Jacob Stone, and John Larroquette as Jenkins. It’s a good shot of the cast, striking poses befitting their characters. The title is above the sepia colored visuals, while “New York Times Bestselling Author” Greg Cox’s name is below that, with a “Based on the hit TNT television series.” This could be an print ad for a two hour Librarians movie. Decent, but I would have liked to have seen a more original composition, such as with artwork. Overall grade: B+

The premise: From the back cover, “For millennia, the Librarians have secretly protected the world by keeping watch over dangerous magical relics. Cataloging and safeguarding everything from Excalibur to Pandora’s box, they stand between humanity and those who would use the relics for evil. Ten years ago, only Flynn Carsen, the last of the Librarians, stood against an ancient criminal organization known as the Forty. They stole the oldest known copy of The Arabian Nights by Scheherazade, and Flynn feared they intended to steal Aladdin’s fabled lamp. He raced to find it first before they could unleash a trapped, malevolent djinn upon the world. Today, Flynn is no longer alone. A group of Librarians, led by Eve Baird, their tough-as-nails Guardian, has been assembled. The team travels to Las Vegas to investigate a man with improbable luck, suspecting a previously unknown artifact has emerged. With new threats surrounding the Librarians, it becomes clear that Flynn’s quest, then years in the past, could hold the key to solving the problems of the present. It will take the cunning of all three, and their Guardian, to save one man from himself — and the world from total annihilation.” I’ve watched, and own a few, of the Flynn Carsen Librarian films, but only saw the introduction episode of the Librarians series. I’m interested to see if writer Greg Cox can capture Carsen’s voice and fun, light adventure, while showing the new team. Overall grade: B+

The characters: Cox absolutely captures the voice of Carsen. He is fun, quick witted, and does all that he can to save the world, doing no harm to others. I admit to having a smile on my face when Carsen’s story came front and center, and was pleased to see that the Librarian was able to get out of situations completely in line with his past adventures. His dialogue even mirrors the cheesy, but welcome, lines that will elicit groans or smiles — they had me smiling, because that’s his character. Dr. Shirin Masri is Carsen’s sidekick for this book and she aids him with knowledge and her own quick thinking. They were a fantastic couple. If the book had solely focused on them, I would have been satisfied. However, Carsen and Masri’s adventures in 2006 are only half of this book. The current squad of Librarians is protected by Eve Baird. She’s ex-military, will do anything to help the mission, and gets some good character growth from someone from her past. Jacob Stone got the most action of the Librarians, who’s the gruff go-getter of the group. He has the most contact with the individual the team is looking for in Las Vegas. His comments and action are very realistic. Cassandra Cillian doesn’t do too much initially, due to the nature of her abilities. How she’s handicapped once they arrive in Vegas was very interesting, but she has a sensational scene in the climax. Ezekial Jones is a cocky thief. I wasn’t too thrilled with this character, as I’m not a fan of overly confident characters, but I’m sure that Cox was being true to the television counterpart. The villains are a great group. The premise teases who they are, and if one is familiar with The Arabian Nights, they’ll easily be guessed, but their leader and his number two go beyond expectations. They are the foes of Carsen in 2006 and the Librarians in the present. The defeat of one of the villains at the climax in 2006 makes me wish that Cox was also writing Indiana Jones novels — it’s that awesome/grotesque/twisted. All of these characters work really well on their own, as well as off others. Overall grade: A 

The settings: The book opens with a Carsen adventure in Scotland in an environment I hadn’t expected to see in “Auld Reekie,” but it allows for a creepy and action filled locale. I could definitely hear the glass in the action sequences. The Library of New York is next shown and it’s the immense, immeasurable space shown in the films and show, with Cox teasing all the things just beyond the eye of the reader. Half of the book then is set in the Middle East, with Carsen and Masri avoiding capture by the Forty. Structures new and old are encountered, with the latter being my favorite of the book, again having me wishing that another company would restart the literary adventures of a certain professor of archaeology. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the setting that began at Chapter 14. The Librarians are in a vastly different place: Las Vegas. Here they enter an ultra cheesy casino, deliciously described in tacky detail, which the Librarians dissect wonderfully. The final setting in the present is expected, given its proximity to Vegas, and Cox uses the location for all that it’s worth. I go to Vegas twice a year to visit family, and Cox has captured all aspects of it perfectly. Overall grade: A

The action: There are fist fights, gun fights, chases, creatures attacking, and mystical powers set loose. The action is terrific, without being graphic. It mirrors the tone of the adventures on the small screen. I loved it. I was really surprised at how the action kept me turning pages, and I admit to not expecting to be so entertained and eager to see how the Librarians, in both timelines, could escape death. The perils were thrilling, the escapes extremely smart, and just fun. This was the high point of the book. Overall grade: A+

The conclusion: The premise on the back, sadly, gives away the climax and the book does go there. I was wondering how Cox would have the characters end the world’s impending doom and it was outstanding. He came up with a way that was so simple, yet a complete surprise. I am ecstatic when books do this, and Cox more than exceeded my expectations for the ending. Brilliant. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I couldn’t put this down. It was a page turner and it was fun. This captures the all-ages joy of the movies and television series with some wonderful action that has me looking forward to the next volume of this trilogy. I’m now inspired to watch the first two seasons of The Librarians. Greg Cox, mission accomplished. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    One Comment
  • mentdijinn
    18 October 2016 at 3:11 pm -

    Love the show The Librarians with my favorite actor/singer Christian Kane .. who rocks his role as Jake Stone..Will have to look into getting this book! Thanks for sharing!
    PS.. The Librarians Season 3 will be premiering November 20th on TNT Drama Channel! Thanks again!

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