“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like.” - ― Lemony Snicket
“There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.” - ― Judith McNaught, Remember When
Ms. McNaught has it right. Sometimes, you just have to go for it and hope it works. And Scott Hawkins certainly reaches for the stars in The Library at Mount Char. Fantasy, mythology, horror, history, and a crud ton of weird. You can certainly call this book “unique”. And normally ‘unique’ is something I can get into. With this one, however . . . I don’t know. It just didn’t crawl into my mind and make itself at home. Perhaps because the fact that the book opens with a “blood-drenched and barefoot” Carolyn “walked alone down the two-lane stretch of blacktop that the Americans called Highway 79.” Segueing from blood to guacamole, an obsidian knife used to murder a detective for no reason that appears any time soon threw me out of being able to settle into the book. Or maybe, honestly, I am simply not the audience for the book – that could certainly be the case. All of the librarians are weirdness incarnate – from Margaret, who you meet as she sprints out from the shadowy shelves of the library, shrieking and blind with terror, only to be pulled back into the stacks by “Father”, flowing tears streaked with blood, urine running warm down her legs, to David, whose catalog is murder and war. Twelve lost, abused children, forced into viciousness almost beyond bearing.
Demigods, talking lions and barbarism, oh my. The book has lots of very well-written, very positive reviews, and looking at it from a strictly technical standpoint, I can see why. This is some very unique storytelling. It just didn’t grab me. If you like writers more toward the horror side, well, you would probably love this. Sometimes I like horror, sometimes not – this one, not so much.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. The review is, of course, based upon my personal tastes. What I didn’t care for could be exactly what you are looking for in a book!
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