Book Review: The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks by Jen Swann Downey

The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks by Jen Swann Downey is the second book in the series. Now official apprentices of the Lybrariad, Dorris and Marcus have joined Ebba in the immense time-folding labyrinth known as Petrarch's Library for the Summer Quarter. Dorrie is eager to do well at her practicums, and prove her worth as an apprentice, but before she can choose between "Spears, Axes, and Cats: Throwing Objects with Precision and Flair” and "First and Last Aid: When No One Else Is Coming", mistakes made by Dorrie in the past cause trouble for the lybrarians. The Foundation, once nearly destroyed by the Lybrariad, now has the means to rise from its ashes, and disappear reading and writing from the world. To make sure it succeeds, the Foundation sets in motion a dark plan to increase the power of a cruel figure from the fifteenth century. To stop the Foundation, Dorrie, Marcus and Ebba will have to burglarize Aristotle, gather information among the suffragists and anti-suffragists of 1912 London, and risk their lives to wrest a powerful weapon out of the Foundation's hands - all while upholding the Lybrariad's first principle of protecting all writing, appreciated or despised. If they fail, reading and writing will only be the first things to disappear.

The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks has a nice balance of humor, action, and mystery as Dorris and Marcus return to the Lybrariad. They want to get on with their studies, but first problems caused from their first adventure- and those that set it in motion- need to be dealt with. Meanwhile, Dorris continues to face the problems of self doubt and trying to fit in while Marcus needs to deal with his continued crush on Egeria. The sibling relationship is believable with equal parts support and teasing, as any real sibling pair I know has acted toward each other. There is some impressive rule breaking in the pursuit of doing good and staving off bigger trouble, but Marcus, Dorris, and Ebba pull it all of with a good about of humor and appropriately timed stumbles. My two minor quibbles with the book is that it started of fairly slowly, enough so that I had a little trouble sticking with it at first. Thankfully I remembered how good the first book was and kept going, and was rewarded for that tenacity. My second issue is, why is this boarding school so easy to sneak around? You would think that all this cray artifacts and doorways that it would be a wee bit harder to achieve all the sneaking around out heroes manage to pull off!


The Ninja Librarians: Sword in the Stacks was as good as the first installment, The Accidental Keyhand, and offers as much adventure and middle grade angst and character growth that one might want in a book. If you enjoyed the first installment, then hold on and keep reading. It starts slow, but picks up speed and then does not let go. 
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