Series: The Collectors' Society #2
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Amazon ∣ B&N
Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .
Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.
On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.
Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.
So much happened in this book. So, so much happened in this book! Overall, I fucking LOVED this book. It was so fun and entertaining, and such an outstanding continuation to the first book. I thought The Collectors’ Society was thrillingly unique, and my mind was blown by Heathor Lyons’ creativity and genius, but The Hidden Library was on another level. I didn’t think that was possible! This story was intensely rich and vibrant, and I feel like I just survived the most thrilling whirlwind. My brain is muddled.
I’m so glad that this is a review for book two because I can finally talk about the characters and the world of these books. It was pure torture trying to write a spoiler-free review last time. Not that I’m going to give anything away in this review (I’d never do that), but I can finally give this author the true fangirl service that she deserves. Storybook characters! STORYBOOK CHARACTERS! THIS BOOK IS ABOUT STORYBOOK CHARACTERS!! How could you not love a fantasy romance built around the most beloved and timeless characters ever written? It’s not possible. This is like a book addict’s Nirvana. Alice Lidell, Huckleberry Finn, Abraham Van Brunt, Mary Lennox, Jack Dawkins, Marianne Dashwood, and Victor Frankenstein Jr. are just a few of the awesome characters who make appearances in this book and the first. They are privy to a secret that most of the world is unaware: the worlds that authors create are real, and they’re called Timelines. In order to protect this secret, they’re a part of a clandestine group called The Collectors’ Society, and it is their mission to collect valuable items, called Catalysts, responsible for the existence of these worlds between the pages.
In book one, we learned that the Timelines were being stolen and destroyed by a mysterious villain who may be a part of a bigger scheme, one that the members of TCS are determined to unravel. Like I said, brilliant! Also, totally thrilling. As we follow this main storyline, we learn more about each character and each timeline. Don’t worry; this isn’t just a retelling of the popular stories that have already been told. Heather Lyons put her own spin on each remarkable character and made them even more extraordinary. In book one, we got to know Alice as a complete badass female who escaped madness in Wonderland and joined TCS to become an asset in the battle to save the Timelines. Her partner, Finn, helps her acclimate to the modern world, and a sweet romance begins to bloom between the two. So so sweet.
Book 2, The Hidden Library picks up exactly where book one left off, with Alice being a fierce female, and the Society engaged in a battle to save the Timelines. Everyone involved has to explore sides to themselves that they don’t like to look at, and decisions are made to do what is required to save many lives.
“War often requires a person to do whatever is necessary.”
Have I already said how much I love an awesome heroine? Well, I love and awesome heroine, and Alice is exactly that!
I also love an epic love story, and the one that builds between Alice and Finn is just the best. I swooned, I melted, I evaporated into a puff of sparkly goodness because these two interacting together gave me life. I loved them! Alice and Finn both have trust issues, and they’ve both been burned by life, and it was just the most delicious experience to watch them lower their guards and open their hearts.
“He and I…We’ve never said those words, though, not the ones that truly spell out fragile, deep secrets of a heart and soul. Words so easily and yet unfortunately uttered by many…Words [that] can be the most difficult, most painful, most meaningful, most cherished syllables we gift another person.”
Aww. Love that. This love story is just so juicy because they’re both learning to be in a relationship. Alice has already had a great love, but it was a love that thrived in madness, and what she has with Finn is something new. Finn has his own baggage and scar tissue from his childhood, so to watch him struggle to reveal himself to Alice…gah!! I just cant…*swoon*
“Familiar yet loathed insecurities resurface, and I force myself to remember I am not that kid anymore.”
Alice is patient with Finn, because she knows that he’s worth it. She’s willing to risk the heartbreak that she knows can come from allowing yourself to give in to love. She’s willing to fight for her future.
“Her hands curve back around my face and she stares at me. My heart thumps painfully within my chest, because I swear she’s not just looking at me, she’s unraveling me.”
“She understands what she means to me. How she has stolen my heart…and how I don’t want her to give it back. How she made me believe in love, made me believe it’s real. That it’s worth fighting for. That it’s worth holding onto with both hands.”
I absolutely loved how Heather Lyons built this love story on respect and partnership. I don’t think there’s anything more romantic than a team. When I read about a couple that works together, and helps each other overcome personal strives, and is there for their love – even when they have to put their heart and happiness at risk…damn, there’s nothing better than that.
“And my regrets are so vast sometimes I wonder if they’re going to swallow me whole.”
“She was right, though. If only is a beast.”
Of course there’s angst and heartache – the best love stories always have those, but it’s the kind that makes the couple stronger, and helps their development, so they’re multidimensional and you root for them. Every hardship that they experience only makes the sweet times that much sweeter.
“He kisses me, because he knows. He knows me. He knows my heart. He has become part of my heart.”
So this was a very wordy review, but guess what? I didn’t tell you anything about the plot! I gushed about the romance and the characters because that was my favorite part of the story (and I can’t talk about the action too much, because that would just spoil things), but there is so much more to The Hidden Library, and the only way to understand how amazing this book is is to read it. You have to experience this ride!
This review took forever for me to get down on paper because I kept rereading it, and the reread is the ultimate measure of love for this blogger. I get attached to books and characters. I love revisiting stories, and diving back into places that I loved. If I fall for a book, then it’s very hard for me to let it go, and I don’t think I’ll let go of this one anytime soon.
“True love does not have limits or restrictions. True love allows a person to love deeply and unconditionally. True love does not ask you to let go of life. True love encourages you to love even more…True love encourages you to live.”
We are about to open the conference room door and enter the hallway when he stops. He turns to me, his lovely eyes achingly sincere. “I want to take you on a date when all of this craziness is over. A real one. We’ve kind of gone about this all backwards, haven’t we?”
One corner of my mouth lifts up. “Are you saying you’d like to court me?”
There is no playfulness to his face, no quirk to his own lips. My heart flutters at his seriousness. “Yes.”
He wants to court me.
Too many emotions rush around in a caucus race throughout my body. I have no doubts of Huckleberry Finn Van Brunt’s feelings toward me. I understood them two minutes ago just as well as I did this morning when I woke up and from the night before and from the day in Wonderland where he said, in not so many words, that he was falling in love with me.
I told him he was my north star, and meant it. He countered we are binaries.
He and I . . . We’ve never said those words, though, not the ones that truly spell out fragile, deep secrets of a heart and soul. Words so easily and yet unfortunately uttered by many, be it to express their appreciation of fried bits of potatoes to sports teams on the television. Words offered so frivolously about a variety of subjects and yet can be the most difficult, most painful, most meaningful, most cherished syllables we gift another person.
I have said these words before, to another man. Another man I still love. One I know, in the deepest confines of my heart, that I will love until the last breath escapes my body. A man who courted me in secret and then publicly in the face of astonishment, disapproval, confusion, and, in the end, prophesies.
I have willingly given the man in front of me my heart, though, whether he knows it or not. He now holds it in his hands, and while I pray he is my future, there is still a part of me that bucks in conflicted confusion and delight by this declaration of his.
He wants to court me.
And yet, as sweet and romantic as such a gesture might be, I require no such formalities. My affections for Finn Van Brunt have already solidified into something real and wonderful and meaningful.