THE LIBRARY AT MOUNT CHAR by Scott Hawkins (Review)

IMG_1889

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE END OF THIS POST

400 Pages

I just need to start off by saying that I think the cover of this book is absolutely stunning. Also, I’m not entirely sure I could describe this book and do it justice, so I’m going to just copy and past what it says on Amazon.

A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.
 
Carolyn’s not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts. After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.

In the years since then, Carolyn hasn’t had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient customs. They’ve studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.

But Carolyn has accounted for this. And Carolyn has a plan. The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she’s forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

Basic Thoughts

I think this book’s premise is a tricky one to do well, and I was excited to delve into it.

While it’s, in my opinion, barely teetering on what Amazon wants to call a fantasy, I definitely see it as more extreme magical realism. As you start the beginning of the book, it is a little difficult to pin-point what is going, and their are a couple critiques I will get into once I do the Overview, but, overall, this read was a highly enjoyable, at least for someone who claims to enjoy fantasy.

Pros:

  • 95% of the time, when the characters are trying to be funny, it really is funny
  • Taking a new spin on an old premise
    • the author has taken this old story of gods and mythological the stories and has turned into something modern and enjoyable
  • Fully commits to it’s oddness
    • This book, entirely, is very odd indeed, and it knows this and embraces it

Cons

  • Confusing, at times
    • Sometimes I felt things were confusing just to be confusing, or the author pinned a certain happening of something just because “that’s how it is in that world”
  • 5% of the time there are some cringe lines
    • I would consider this book on the comedic (while dark at times) side, and it mostly achieves that, minus the occasional cringe line.
  • I felt like I was walking a tightrope
    • To me, coming from the Elkin work I reviewed previously, this topic of giving life to immortal beings is tricky, and I felt like I was walking on a tightrope for it falling into not being good. While I never fell, the tension was still there.

Overview

This book is different.

Really different.

It is taking a large, immortal world and placing it in the likes of the earth as it is today. And I think one of my main issues with this book was that it sometimes relied on the fact of being “different” and “complex” as an excuse to do things that didn’t make sense. For example (and this was not in the book or anything), it could start raining nickels and a character would look up in the sky and be like, “Why the hell is it raining nickels?” and another character would look at them and just say “It’s really complicated to explain. You wouldn’t get it.”

Like, I understand that this world is complex, and it’s okay to have something like that in the book once or twice, but a lot of weird stuff happens, and I felt like the author took the easy way out in saying “eh, it makes sense, but it’s just too hard to explain.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and one of the main things going for it are the characters. The main characters, Carolyn and Steve, are very funny (minus the 5%) and save the story from falling into that cringe state that I believe Elkin did with The Living End

One more issue, before we end this, is that one of the things in the description and on the inside flap of the book describes the character, Carolyn, as “A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away,” and I believe that is highly deceiving. It makes the reader think that there is going to be some major love interest with her, and while there is a love interest, I feel it takes a huge step back to what the quote is actually saying. A better way would be to say “A woman too busy to notice that her morals for what is right and wrong are slipping away”. While that doesn’t have the same propagandist interest, it is more accurate and less misleading then the original description.

Looking at the overall story, however, it is highly entertaining. There’s action, lust, enjoyable characters, and that, to me, makes it a good story.

Final Rating:

Characters: 4.5 / 5.0

Action/Dialogue: 4.0 / 5.0

Overall Story: 4.0 / 5.0

FINAL RATING: 4.0 (4.16)

 

Final Thoughts:

While I think this book could have benefitted from being longer, I do believe it is highly enjoyable. While the ending does leave things open for a sequel, I’m not entirely pressed for one, because I think what the author has created here is good, and I would be scared to see that a sequel would press some of the ideas portrayed in here as a little ridiculous. But, Hawkins managed to find the perfect balance here.

You can buy it here.

If you’re looking for a fun filled, action, fantastical adventure, look no further. I would recommend this to you.

Best,

Daniel xx

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

ANNOUNCEMNT: Next Wednesday, 03/21/2018, I will have an interview up of PUBLISHED POET Carrie Meadows!!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s