Last year I reviewed THE NINJA LIBRARIANS: THE ACCIDENTAL KEYHAND and enjoyed the characters and intriguing plot. Dorrie and her older brother are back in the second book in this fun series that uses a 3097870_origlibrary as the setting. My library is nothing like what unfolds at Petrarch’s.

You could certainly start with this new entry in the series, but you’d miss out on many connections to the first book. Nevertheless, author Jen Swann Downey does supply the needed background information  in the opening chapters. There’s also another sticky problem to take care of – Dorrie and Marcus’s parents have to be convinced to let their children go live at this strange place of training where no contact with them is allowed. It doesn’t seem to bother the kids as the parents aren’t mentioned again until the end. The strange classes and mystery of the evil Foundation is enough to keep Dorrie and Marcus occupied.

Full of humor, sneaky time travel passage ways, and a creepy villain, you’ll never look at that person behind the check-out desk the same way again.



Now official apprentices of the Lybrariad, Dorris and Marcus join 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 succeed, it 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 1913 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, liked or not. If they fail, reading and writing aren’t the only things that will disappear.


  1. The issue of intellectual freedom is brought forth for young readers to explore. Specifically to 1913 with the two sides of Woman Suffrage and the right to vote. A great discussion starter.
  2. In the back of the book is another welcome guide to the people, places, and events covered in the book. I actually read this first and learned some needed background information before beginning the real chapters.
  3. A nasty, mean nemesis by the name of Mr. Biggs. He’s focused on one goal and will do harm to anyone getting in his way. Unfortunately, Dorrie  is usually that person. Mr. Biggs is an antagonist with a capital A.
  4. 14-year-old Marcus is the older brother who cares about his sister, but who also is forging his own future. He’s lovesick over his new crush who is already taken. Lots of humorous exchanges between Dorrie and Marcus that are very lifelike. I should know with three sisters as evidence!
  5. It’s hard to be bored at this school what with crazy classes and a mystery unfolding. Time travel books get a unique addition with this series. The end produces much excitement for future installments.


“It takes many lybrarians to conduct the rescue missions,” said Phillip. “The Lybrariad regularly trains librarians with an i into lybrarians with a y. If you permit Dorrie and Marcus to train as apprentices, they’ll learn research and reference skills, along with how to gain entry to a locked room, set a broken bone, ride anything with four legs, practice all seventeen uses for a flaming arrow–”


And when you’ve written a book for kids, you are specifically if subconsciously waiting for A KID to respond. For a kid to be sucked in, and feel for your characters, to laugh and go bug-eyed and gasp in all the right places. It’s that first kid who reads with gusto and love that turns your wooden puppet into a real boy (or girl in the updated version!) And it’s on the day you’ve heard that it’s happened, that your book feels truly born. From Jen’s BLOG


Leave a comment below… I love reading all of them!

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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9 Responses to THE NINJA LIBRARIANS: SWORD IN THE STACKS for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. I think I’d loved any book with a library setting. This one looks really interesting. Good to know you could pick it up even without reading book 1-although it’s not ideal.

  2. Violet Tiger says:

    I read the first book so I can’t wait for this one! I’m intrigued about the suffragists and anti-suffragists in England. Thanks for your review!

  3. cleemckenzie says:

    Creepy villains and time passage ways and I’m there!

  4. warrchick says:

    I love that author quote–a beautiful summary of what writing for kids is like, for many of us.
    This series has been bouncing around on my list for a while now, but never seems to make it to the top. Maybe this summer it’ll manage it…you’ve certainly made a good case for it! 🙂

  5. I haven’t read the first book. Fantasy isn’t really my cup of tea, but you do make this sound very enticing. And the library setting is hard to pass up. Maybe I will pick this one up. Thanks for the post.

  6. Library settings always capture my attention as does protecting intellectual freedom. Like the idea of villians, crazy classes, and a mystery to be solve.

  7. jennienzor says:

    I’ve heard great things about this series, and the part about the suffragettes is intriguing. I’ve been reading a lot of books set in the early 20th century and really enjoy that time period. Thanks for featuring this!

  8. I haven’t read the first book, but I love the setting, and time travel is always fun! Will have to get started with the first.

  9. How did I miss your review of the first book? I am all over Ninja Librarians! (BTW, you definitely have to read the true story of The Bad-ass Librarians of Timbuktu. I’m telling everyone I know to read it, but especially if you agree that librarians are on the front lines of the fight against ignorance and deserve to be called ninjas even if they don’t Throw Objects With Precision and Flair.)

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