Book review – The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence (spoiler free)

The blurb

All books, no matter their binding, will fall to dust. The stories they carry may last longer. They might outlive the paper, the library, even the language in which they were first written.

The greatest story can reach the stars . . .

This is the start of an incredible new journey from the internationally bestselling author of Prince of Thorns, in which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned…

Evar has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities.

Livira has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes.

The world has never noticed them.

That’s about to change.

As their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time, each will unlock vast secrets about the world and themselves. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another.

The review

The Book That Wouldn’t Burn is the first book of a new trilogy by Mark Lawrence. It is a sci-fi/fantasy crossover – epic in scope.

It is also the first book that is not linked to the connected universe of his previous five trilogies. In that regard, if you’ve never read anything from Mark Lawrence before, this is a good place to start.

And indeed, what a place to start.

I was in the lucky position of being asked to read an early copy of this book last year and was honestly blown away. I say that as being a huge fan of his previous work. The prose is beautiful, reaching the giddy heights of King of Thorns (which for me had some of the most beautiful passages I’ve ever read), and the story is so captivating.

It’s also unique. 

If you are in a reading rut, perhaps a little bored of reading the same fantasy tropes and want to read something more adventurous, this is the book for you.

Mark Lawrence doesn’t like his readers to know too much when going into his books. I think that’s fair enough, so I’m not going to give much away, rather give you an offering of vibes.

I would describe this book as Narnia meets Stargate, only it is set in a library. Two libraries in fact.

One library is a labyrinth of information. Stray too far amongst the never ending bookcases, you might get lost.

The other library is absolutely terrifying.

Themes of information is explored – in terms of how too much information can give just as many problems as not enough. The selection of information can also be a problem, as can the distribution of materials that only agree with one viewpoint.

Love is another theme. Friendship. Sacrifice. Fear. War. It will make you think long after you’ve set it down.

In short, this book is truly a masterpiece.

Read it.

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