by Scott Hawkins
Published by Crown
on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
"Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy."
Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.
After all, she was a normal American herself, once.
That was a long time ago, of course--before the time she calls "adoption day," when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.
Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.
In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.
Sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.
Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library--and with it, power over all of creation.
As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.
But Carolyn can win. She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price--because in becoming a God, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
There are (quite) a few things that make me pick up a book immediately. Things I am helpless against. First, putting a book or books on the cover. It appeals to my bookish nature. Second, compare it to a favorite author. I know I shouldn’t let this work on me, because more often than not, it doesn’t actually work out that way, but I can’t help it. Marketing works, sometimes. Lastly, Let me read it for free for a review. I’m a sucker.
The Library at Mount Char has a burnt book on it’s cover, with comparisons to Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill, and the publisher let me read it for free FOR MY HONEST OPINION. So I’m going to give it to you: I loved it. So there you go.
I don’t know much about Joe Hill. I’ve only read his comics. So, I’m mainly coming at this as a Neil Gaiman/Fantasy fan. And I felt so many shades of American Gods, in the best possible way, and I also felt shades of something new. Something unique. Something undeniably Scott Hawkins. The world he has created here, the characters, the story; all remarkable. He’s created a whole new world, a world where people can become gods, where a Library can hold all the power in the universe, where a person can be brought back to life again and again, and where a person can learn incredible things, like reincarnation, terrible savagery, and startling humanity. And behind it all is the sly, deadpan, quirky voice of a new talent. Surprising at every turn, The Library at Mount Char is not to be missed.
“The librarians I know are into, like, I dunno, tea and cozy mysteries, not breaking and entering.”
“Yeah, well. This is a different kind of library.”
“It’s about the Library,” Carolyn said. “Right now the only thing that matters is who takes control of Father’s Library.”
“Library? Who gives a damn about a library?”
Carolyn rolled her eyes. “Americans.”
“With this particular species of crazy, you stop trying to make things better. You start trying to maximize the bad. You pretend to like it. Eventually you start working to make everything as bad as possible. It’s an avoidance mechanism.” Jennifer looked Carolyn directly in the eyes. “It can’t actually work. That’s why they call it crazy.”
Steve walked over and squatted down. There, almost invisible in the shadows, he found it. “It’s a book?”
She smiled. “Of course it’s a book.”