Review: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

TheLibraryofMountCharSource: Blogging for Books/Crown Publishing – I received this in exchange for an honest review. 
Crown Publishing
Series: –
Edition: Hardcover, 400 Pages
 Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Humor
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5

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.

The Library at Mount Char is one of those oddball books that are hard to find, and harder to describe. Is it fantasy? Magical realism? Horror? Dark Comedy? Probably all of the above.

This is a book that requires patience and a willingness to be in the dark for most of the story, and because of this it took me sometime to get through it. The story is sort of non-liner in nature and as a result you get a bits and pieces of the over arcing plot in small doses, until about 70% of the way through and then it all starts falling together into a picture you can fully understand. The plot as a result doesn’t make sense at times, but it all fits nicely together once the explanations come out and then you realize how well thought Carolyn’s decision were. As the summary suggests much of this has to do with Carolyn, a young women who along with her brothers and sisters have been raised as the children of a god-like man. They all have vast knowledge, but only in one subject and as a result must work together to accomplish things. I loved the fact that they each had a specialization and how that focus changed their personalities. For example David, who controls the library of war and combat, is a bit unstable…he runs around coated in blood and thanks to a bit of ‘lost in translation’ thinks a tutu is something like a battle kilt. My favorite though is Michael, who specializes in animals of all kings (big or small, past or future) and spends much of his time naked and speaking in roars, yips and howls.

To make things a bit easier to digest we have two other point of views that are from a normal human perspective. The first is Steve, who gets pulled into the schemes of these godlike librarians and pretty much out of his league the entire time. His humor is pretty spot on for me, and the fact that his defense mechanism is being a smart ass was just perfect as it relieved some of the tension added by being in the dark and in danger all the time. His unlikely friendship with Naga, a lioness, was also pretty awesome. Erwin is the more brash of the two main humans and knows what he’s dealing with to a certain extent when it comes to the citizens of Garrison Oaks. Carolyn is on his shit list, and he wants her and her siblings gone…but he doesn’t really count on being pulled into the schemes and ends up playing a much larger role than he anticipated. All three of the main characters were likable and I think their vastly different personalities really made this story worth reading even during the slower parts.

Parts of this book were out right hilarious and other parts so horrifying that I could easily understand why the Librarians were a little whacked in the head,. Surprisingly there is a ton of action and some really cool but off the wall world building, and I think the combination of all of these elements really made it into something unique. The book isn’t perfect but I think with the right of amount of patience and willingness to let things get weird this one could be a hit for a lot of people.

4 stars

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3 Responses to Review: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

  1. Hey Michelle – This was my “Waiting On Wednesday” a couple of weeks ago, I’m so glad you reviewed it! It sounds like an interesting and challenging read. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Yeah, this sounds like my thing for sure. I am going to looking for this at the library thanks for the review!

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