Story Time Reviews is a blog series that reviews short stories both read and read aloud. Today Story Time Reviews “The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago, read by Chris Herron on TallTaleTV.
Working as the night librarian in a library full of magical books comes with its perks, but also its heaping spoonful of issues.
This is definitely a story for adult ears. Some commenters complained about the lack of a content warning and wished there had been a hint of the content within the title or story description.
“The Night Librarian” is a complete short story (approx. 6000 words in length). The protagonist is the title character described as a dumpy girl with a determined chin. Her job is to re-shelve the magical books that don’t always want to stay in their places. It’s a tricky job, but she brooks no disorder.
After she re-shelves the last trolley full of books to the erotica stack, a multi-species band of magical creatures appeal to her for help. Something scary has slipped out of the pages of a book and hidden itself in the stacks. Scary enough that magical creatures who don’t normally get along huddle in the group asking for help.
Her first attempt puts an evil-sounding reptilian presence back in his place. But the magical creatures let her know he wasn’t the one they fear. She must banish the creature before sunrise or it will live in the librarian forever.
Jane Jago is a self-described genre-hopping maniac, who could no more stop reading than she could stop breathing.
She lives in “the beautiful west country with my big, silly dog and my big sensible husband.”
A self-published indie author, she is also a co-author of the Dia and Julia Mysteries. A complete list of Jago’s published stories is on Amazon.
Her brief bio at the end of the video is delightful. Be sure to listen to it.
A complete list of Jago’s published stories is on Amazon.
The Voice Talent
In his bio, Herron tells us that his poorly controlled diabetes caused legal blindness in 2015. His doctors said he had an 80% chance of never seeing again.
It was a tough time for him. His wife took him to the library and read audiobook titles to him. He listened to books he had read and loved. Audiobooks helped him in ways he hadn’t imagined they would.
Herron changed his lifestyle and beat the odds. His love of audiobooks led to a new goal: to become a narrator and help writers showcase their work.
Tall Tale TV features sci-fi and fantasy short stories. He reads a new story every Monday and Friday.
“The Night Librarian” is interesting, with plenty of pleasing alliteration and interesting word choices. The first sentence places us solidly in the library.
It was very quiet in this area of the stacks.“The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago
The second sentence hints that this library will not be like most.
So quiet that if you listened carefully enough you could hear the books breathing.“The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago
Appearances by notable familiar fantasy creatures and persons were delightful. And there’s nice increasing tension in the build up to confrontations with the evil creatures.
The story voice is more distant than I prefer. It’s almost but not quite an omniscient viewpoint. That is a minor, personal preference.
However, the story was not quite satisfying. My dissatisfaction comes from the fact that the protagonist barely struggled and ultimately it was not her actions that defeated the villain.
While I didn’t care for the voice of the librarian, the rest of the narration was pleasing. I deeply enjoyed the voices of the evil creatures.
I’m guessing Herron is self-trained. His reading is not of a professional actor level, but he is consistent and has a unique voice for each character. Not of a professional actor level isn’t a criticism. It’s simply a statement that either production or voice or both have room to grow.
Professional or not, his almost 4K subscribers enjoy listening to him.
About Content Warnings
I want to add one more note. While there are reading and viewing topics that will trigger me, this story did not. My preference is to not give or read content warnings. The story title, description, and the first page or paragraphs should give a hint if the story includes sensitive issues. The erotica element was first mentioned in this story at 3:31 minutes. For me, the 15% mark is acceptable.
Was the erotica necessary to the story? Not entirely, but it added to the setting, character development, and the tone of the story. Therefore, I believe its inclusion is the author’s prerogative.
Story Time reviews “The Night Librarian” by Jane Jago as read by Chris Herron on TallTaleTV. The story held my interest and much of it delighted me. I give it four stars. If it had a more satisfying ending, I would have given it five. As always, your mileage may differ. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. Better yet, give the author and YouTube channel a review.