Book Review: The Library at Mount Char


ashley | The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins jumps right into the story without any real preface, so I’m going to follow suit and jump right into this review.

Lions and tigers and dead people, oh my! This certainly is a new take on the traditional sense of a librarian. For the majority of this book, I had absolutely no idea what was happening. No hints, no background info, I was just mercilessly dumped into the middle of this strange world and left to fend for myself. Sometimes this really drives me crazy, sometimes this is really intriguing. It all depends on how well it’s executed and in The Library at Mount Char, it is done extremely well.

I was so hooked from the very start. Hawkins pumps out scene after weird and twisted scene, full of interesting and imaginative little details, dropping certain words and terminology that will lead you in one direction or another without fully disclosing what exactly it means. If you are not hooked from the beginning, things only get more complicated and dark as more is revealed, so be warned. But I promise you, it all pays off in the end.

It’s so refreshing to read something that has some originality to it. This has new elements that I haven’t seen done to death in books and creative takes on magic and death that aren’t all that common so I actually had no idea where the story could be taking it. It felt nice to be excited about a book again!

But as with all excitement and high hopes, I was extremely worried that this would fall apart quickly for me. It’s so easy to take have a great idea and start off strong only to fizzle out and putter to a slow and disappointing end. I also started to worry that maybe nothing would ever be explained to me and I would never have any context for any of what was happening.

The characters are hard to connect to, a misfit group of orphans with strange abilities that basically distance and numb them to your general sense of moral and compassion. They aren’t exactly nice characters and as such, it’s hard to care about what might come of them. But they are all very interesting characters and as more is revealed and you learn more about their backgrounds and what brought them to where they were, it kind of adds a layer that you can grab on to.

I’m still not 100% sure I know what was happening, but I can 100% say that this was a great book. In uniqueness alone, like I said, it’s so refreshing to read something that is off the beaten path. Hawkins builds an eccentric new world and I completely ate it up. I wish more books left me feeling like I feel after finishing this.


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June 16, 2015
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Net Galley