Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy...
When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.
It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.
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"Alice has a minder named Ashes which is this talking, feisty cat. There’s a dragon. There’s a Swarm. If you want magic, you’ve got it right in this book. If you’ve got a kid with a big imagination, hand them a copy of The Forbidden Library for a spring present." - April at Good Books and Good Wine
"Perhaps my favorite part of this story is Alice herself. Alice is a rather intelligent and practical girl who doesn’t intend to lie about when things go wrong, and has a pragmatic air of acceptance of things that just makes her fun to read. Rather than be utterly astonished by the existence of the magical and mystical world, or attempting to deny it, this self-possessed young lady calmly reconsiders her world view and soldiers on. ... A clever, self-sufficient heroine is a very enjoyable thing to read. My other personal delight is the cat. How can you not enjoy a cat named Ashes-Drifting-Through-The-Dead-Cities-of-the-World, (for short, Ashes). These things quickly made this more than your run of the mill fantasy story and fantasy heroine." - Stephanie at Views From The Tesseract
"I thoroughly enjoyed The Forbidden Library. It's rich and dense and creative. Alice is a great - and stubborn! - heroine and the supporting cast is delicious. It serves up a great mix of the expected tropes and settings offered by middle grade fantasy but it also subverts some so it feels fresh and new. I'm looking forward to book two." - Jill at The Bookbag
"...this is a great debut book as part of a fantastic new series that could hold epic status. Captivating, thoroughly enjoyable and a very entertaining read, I would definitely recommend this book as a read for everyone. The splendid illustrations add to the great storyline and create a fantasy gem." - Vincent at Mr. Ripley's Book Review
"The author's writing style is wonderful. An ability to create detailed, imaginative worlds within worlds. Giving us a great storyline filled with adventure to keep us turning the pages. A book both appealing to 10 years+, even adults. A beautiful book I am sure most of you would love to read this with your children." - Kimmy at Opinionated Cupcakes
"The author’s comments state that the book started as ‘something of a lark’, a change from his usual epic fantasy. It’s an experiment that’s truly paid off, a refreshing and unique tale – one that rises above the clichés it could so easily have fallen into – that entertains on every level. It’s pitched perfectly to its audience (as well as those who are a few years older...) and, while only time will tell if it becomes a classic, it treats the familiar tropes with care and respect, leaving the reader wanting more after the final page has been turned." - Alister at Starburst Magazine
"I was attracted by the cover, which is a work of art, and as I started to read, I was enthralled... very quickly. My initial reaction was that this owes a little to A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS and the SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, but as I got further into the story, I realised that it owes nothing to either of those series, but possibly finds its origins in the children's adventure stories of a previous century - not Narnia, and not Alice, but something at the back of my mind that I simply can't place, and I have to say, therefore, that it is entirely original. And brilliantly done - this is a package, which means that it is not only a rattlingly brilliant story, it is also a story that's given special treatment in terms of its printing and binding, and to cap it all, it contains superb illustrations by the outstanding David Wyatt, whose talents I am familiar with from his illustrations for Lord of the Rings. This is a brilliant story, and Django Wexler is a name to remember - as if you could forget it!" - Books Monthly Children's Book of the Month, 4/14
"The plot also had enough mystery to keep me constantly guessing; I could never be sure what everybody's motives were. I felt for Alice and her predicament of being suddenly thrust into a strange environment where she couldn't trust anyone, though she was far from helpless and I'm sure she had no need for anyone's sympathy. Courageous and headstrong, Alice is a good role model for young readers, being a take-charge kind of girl who doesn't take obstacles or setbacks lying down." - Mogsy at BiblioSanctum
"I found this one a fun read and it even has a dragon in it. No one is quite what they seem except Alice. She’s going to have a real challenge keeping up and being safe trying to live her with her Uncle. I’m already ready to read the next series of events in her life. She’s not boring." - Long and Short Reviews
"The other day I wrote a lengthy post about my favourite female protagonists in books for young readers, as part of the Boys Read Girls campaign, and after it went live I mentioned to a fellow Tweeter that no doubt I would remember another one the next day. Well I did exactly that - Alice in The Forbidden Library is up there with all the female characters that I mentioned in that post (and I may just head over to that post after finishing this review to add her). She is courageous, intelligent, resourceful and inquisitive and the kind of character that will have both boys and girls rooting for her as she fights for her life, and agonising with her as she has to grapple with a number of moral dilemmas that are thrown at her during the course of her adventures." - The Book Zone
"If it isn’t yet obvious I absolutely adored the world building in this book. Django Wexler has created my fantasy getaway. The descriptions made everything come to life, giving the reader a beautiful, stunning and magical bookish paradise. I also adored the variety of characters but Ashes was my absolute favourite." - Luna's Little Library
"The Forbidden Library, as the name might suggest, is bound to be an absolute hit with book-lovers young and old. After all, however scary things get, what could be more exciting than working inside a magical library and being able to dive into books at will? This story focuses, essentially, on the immediacy and magic of a really good book and the sheer breadth of Wexler’s imagination simply flabbergasted me. Besides your traditional themes of good/evil, etc, the usual creatures we find in children’s fantasy (dragons, fairies…) are there, but are a complete departure from the traditional images we have. Particularly the dragon, who under Wexler’s pen becomes rather lumpy and lumbering, rather than the fire-breathing elegance we’re used to." - Literary Relish
"The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler is a great fantasy middle-grade adventure and an exciting start to a new series. The magic system involving books is probably the biggest draw for most of us book lovers, but there is just so much to love! Wexler’s experience with the adult fantasy genre really shows with his creativity and unique characters, and I can’t wait to see where he takes this series." - Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings
"THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY is Django Wexler’s first fantasy novel for children and he knocks it out of the park with an exciting story about the beautiful and dangerous world of a very special library. Wexler’s heroine Alice is the shining heart of this story: a brave and practical young girl who refuses to flinch in the face of difficulty, be it the jaws of a dragon or the presumed death of her father." - Lily at KidsReads
"Wexler’s talent for world-building and evoking a Gothic atmosphere bring this title, first in a series, roaring to life. He doesn’t do anything readers haven’t seen before, but his spin on the familiar aspects makes the material feel new again, and bonus points for the strong, relatable heroine." - Jacki at Storytime Hooligans
"Right off the bat you can see that Alice is a brave girl. Brave and smart and resourceful in many ways. She's kind and a bit naive and probably too smart for her good...but those are all things that I love about Alice. She's the type of protagonist that will have you rooting for her all the way and wishing you were by her side fighting with her, trudging through all her agony and happiness and curiosity. And until the sequel releases I'll just be here, waiting for the day that I can jump right back in with her and keep fighting on!" - Lexi at Lexi Swoons
"The Forbidden Library is an exciting addition to the growing children's fiction list. It has already been compared to pretty big names such as Harry Potter and Inkheart and I feel that I do have to say that I second those opinions. There are also some beautiful illustrations in the book that only further bolster the magical feeling that The Forbidden Library breathes and I am already keeping my fingers crossed to see this book be made into either a tv-series or movie. I know a lot of young kids will enjoy to see the adventures of Alice! Furthermore Django Wexler shows that he is an author to watch out for, having written a stellar debut in the flintlock fantasy with The Thousand Names and now an outstanding children's book with The Forbidden Library, he is definitely on my must read list." - Jasper at The Book Plank
"The more I think about this book the more I love it. I wouldn’t normally compare one book with quite so many others but in this case it just can’t be helped. What I would like to know though is how Wexler has managed to write a book that reminds me of so many other classics and favourites but remains completely unlike them as well. I swear there’s some kind of sorcery involved there!" - Booka Uhu's Book Nook
"Alice is a determined young woman who has a strong practical turn ... Her solutions to magical problems are always based on hard work and sound reasoning. She also has a strong sense of right and wrong, which clashes with some of the rules of this new world she has found herself in. This gives her trouble because she is essentially a rule-abiding girl and finds herself in situations where the rules and what is right do not line up. She is a strong heroine in the sense of having good, common sense and a thoughtful, determined nature." - Jessica at Fanboy Nation
"The Forbidden Library is an enjoyable, unique and well-written tale with a satisfying climactic ending that answers just enough questions to provide relief, but leaves enough mysteries unsolved that the reader will be left eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. I enthusiastically recommend The Forbidden Library to children and adults ..." - Jeff Coleman Writes
"The plot of “The Forbidden Library” moves rapidly as Alice pops in and out of book adventures all the time serving as Reader apprentice to her uncongenial uncle. The author tucks in clues and shadowy characters — seen but not quite recognizable — throughout that expand the mystery as Alice masters the trials set before her and develops into a strong heroine. ... Avid readers who know that they can find adventure and “fall into books” will be delighted with the literary suspension of disbelief as it really happens, and then will be looking forward to Alice’s next adventure." - Marilou Sorensen at The Deseret News