Isaac is a libriomancer, one of a few people on earth who loves books so much he can manifest objects directly from their pages. It's a fantastic power, but one that is strictly guarded. When his magic use got out of control, he was pulled from field work and told not to use magic again. Now he's just a librarian, whose only reminder of magic is his pet spider. But it seems the local vampires weren't told, and when they come after him, Isaac is forced to start using libriomancy once more.
The basic idea is fascinating--perhaps too
fascinating. Isaac mostly creates blasters and a few techno-gizmos out of books, which seems oddly limited. Hines tries to explain this by mentioning the recommendations and rules of libriomancer training, but Isaac's lack of imagination in regards to such an incredibly power still makes him feel banal and small. My other big problem with this book was Lena's role. I would have enjoyed this story much more if she'd been a comrade, not a love interest. As a dryad pulled from a book, Lena always wants to serve and please her master, whoever holds that role. She comes across as a well-rounded sentient being, but that's at least partly a facade created to please her lover. As such, there's pretty much no way to be in a romantic relationship with her that isn't problematic and sketchy, and while Hines is clearly very aware of this, the narrative also pushes her and Isaac together. The romance is unnecessary to the plot or the characterization, makes Isaac seem unreal (because seriously, he has so little personality that I have no idea why a dryad would seek him out to be her new master so she could mold herself after him), and adds a layer of uncomfortable slime to the story.
Taking out the "romance" or telling the story from another pov (Lena's perspective on libriomancers has got to be fascinating!) would have made the characters a lot more appealing.
A fine adventure story, but I dislike Isaac and am skeeved out by Lena's relationships (although props to Hines for putting in a queer poly relationship), so I doubt I'll seek out other books in this series.