By Cynthia Bujnicki
Last fall, Cynthia saved her friend from the evil clutches of the demon Mr. Gabriel, who posed as their school librarian. Mr. Gabriel is gone now, dead. It was curtains closed on him. Now Cynthia is hoping for a wonderful summer at theatre camp with her amazing theatre loving boyfriend Ryan. However, as Cynthia is starting to figure out, while she may be done (sort of) with the demon world, it is not done with her. Moreover, Mr. Gabriel, well, he is dead right? Cynthia hopes so as people start going missing and another demon pops up to complicate her life.
What an exhilarating novel. Revenge of the Evil Librarian takes readers to theatre camp, away from school and the drama, or so they had all hoped. Ryan and Cynthia are a new couple, they are still trying to figure things out, and this escape to theatre camp is probably for the best. It unlocks many facets of their characters and strengthens their overall dynamic. Ryan was a great partner in the previous novel, but his personality did not get to shine as much as it does here. He was not crucial in The Evil Librarian, he was there, and readers got to know him sure, but this novel gives him the chance to shine, to feel and experience what he went through in the previous novel. He is still grappling with everything that happened in the previous novel and how helpless he was to help in the end. So for those feelings to come out and come through between them, for them to acknowledge all the weird demonic mess their life became in the previous novel and take a moment to adjust and come to terms with it spices up the dynamics between the characters while also adding a layer of realism to an otherwise fantastical story.
Cyn’s narrative and voice are probably the most compelling parts of the novel. She is funny and smart and just thoroughly entertaining and relatable. Her voice and snippets that often break the fourth barrier with expert construction. She is a fun character, a strong character who makes many mistakes believing she is doing what is best for everyone. Cyn does believe she can do this on her own, but she does not want to, and that is part of what makes her a great character. She is a flawed hero, a girl who wants to keep the people she loves safe, who does not want to ask for help on the risk that they are hurt or lost. Moreover, Cyn’s funny quips that Knudsen inserts into the text bring to life her personality only further serve to make her more relatable.
The story is overall as quite a bit of energy and tension to it. It is funny and outspoken and has such vitality to it making it an unbelievable read. Knudsen keeps the pace up and the tension rising, but she does not lose those essential character dynamics, and she does not lose the humor. Everything she has done has made this novel incredible. (★★★★★)