Review: The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence





A boy has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities.

A girl has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes.

The world has never even noticed them. That’s about to change.

Their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another. A journey on which knowledge erodes certainty, and on which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned.


I was sixteen when I picked up Prince of Thorns, my very first book written by Mark Lawrence. I am so glad I didn’t listen to my dad when he said ‘sweetheart, I am not sure whether that’s the book for you.’ because I instantly fell in love with his writing and amazing world building. Initially, I believed that The Broken Empire series had claimed the throne as my favorite, but then came The Red Queen’s War, which stole my heart in a different way. Following that, I was enthralled by the Book of Ancestors series, and then the mind-bending Impossible Time series. Now, at the age of twenty eight, just when I believed Mark Lawrence couldn’t surpass any of those remarkable series, he astounded me once more with The Book That Wouldn’t Burn.

In this captivating first installment of The Library Trilogy, The Book That Wouldn’t Burn, Mark Lawrence leads us on a mesmerizing voyage through a world where high fantasy seamlessly intertwines with science fiction. The narrative revolves around Livira, a determined and resolute young girl of remarkable intellect, who resides in a remote settlement in Dust. However, Livira’s life takes an unexpected turn when she is abruptly torn away from her family and thrust into the vibrant and bustling metropolis of Crath City. Alongside Livira we encounter Evar, a boy whose true origins remain an enigma, for he has no recollection of his past. Compellingly, Evar’s existence has been confined exclusively to the boundless depths of infamous Library of Crath City.

With The Book That Wouldn’t Burn Mark Lawrence has once again redefined the boundaries of my imagination, taking me on an unforgettable journey through this richly imagined world. His ability to continuously surpass his previous works has left me in awe of his exquisite storytelling. It is a testament to his immense talent and creative prowess that even after all these years, his writing remains fresh, enthralling, and evocative. The narrative provokes contemplation on society’s inclination to construct a shared adversary, the process of dehumanizing those considered “other,” and the consequential presence of xenophobia. Also, Mark Lawrence engages readers in profound reflections on the dynamics of human society in the age of information we live in and explores the inherent perils that lie within the acquisition of knowledge without wisdom.

The Book That Wouldn’t Burn stands apart from anything I have ever read, speaking to a universal yearning shared by countless readers, the longing to live within the embrace of a library, surrounded by an endless sea of books. And The Mechanism! I need one yesterday! Imaging getting a complete sensory immersion of inhabiting a book, strolling alongside its characters, and becoming a mesmerized observer of their extraordinary voyages. Can you ask for anything better? Also, TIME TRAVELLING! I think I am going to cry!

Both Livira and Evar shine as exceptional protagonists, with Livira’s remarkable tenacity standing out prominently. Much like the weed from which she derives her name, Livira refuses to be subdued or deterred. Her unwavering determination becomes a defining characteristic that adds depth and strength to her character. Evar is immensely likable too and their interactions are filled with humor and wit. Supporting cast of characters are beautifully crafted true to Mark Lawrence’s signature style. Characters such as Clovis, Malar, Yute, The Assistant and The Soldier contribute to the richness of the story. Shout out to the cute fur ball Wentworth!!!!

The plot twists in The Book That Wouldn’t Burn is simply remarkable and mind bending. Just when you believe that no further surprises can await you, Mark Lawrence skillfully unveils yet another unexpected twist, making this book a testament to its uniqueness and brilliance. The constant suspense and anticipation of what will unfold next leave readers captivated, eagerly yearning to discover the next turn of events.

Dear Mark Lawrence, I am so so SOOOO glad I picked up The Prince of Thorns all those years ago and I am grateful for the opportunity to have read the majority of your extraordinary masterpieces. I eagerly await the next installment of The Library trilogy, knowing that you will continue to push the boundaries of storytelling and captivate readers like myself with your unrivaled skill. THANK YOU!

Book Cover:

Latest Posts




Scroll to Top