The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins

Genre: Fantasy
Synopsis: 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. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. 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.


Review: I picked this book up pretty much on a whim, as fantasy is not my usual fare. Something about it sounded pretty fun, so I thought I'd give it a go. At first I really loved it, for a couple of reasons. The writing is good fun - there are moments of (sometimes dark) humour that really made me laugh, and Hawkins has the ability to make dropping you in at the deep end not so daunting a thing. Even though you have to just go with the flow for a while before you realise what's happening, the ride is pretty enjoyable. I guess the overall effect of that, is that I did enjoy the book, but I came away feeling a little underwhelmed. I've edited quite a lot out of the synopsis (taken from Goodreads), because it basically tells you half the plot and all of the themes, and really I think people would get more out of this book knowing basically nothing going into it.

This book feels like it should be a giant epic, and it's not. The problem with that is that there's not a whole lot of room for character development - especially when you have 12 librarians and 2 regular guys. Erwin was a well-developed character, one of the funniest, and I really liked him. Steve was pretty cool and I liked the part he played, but he was less developed. Without those two guys, the book would probably have had very little to draw a reader in emotionally. Carolyn is incredibly bland - even with her backstory, I found I just never warmed to her. The rest of the librarians, and Father - wellll. Mostly what happened with them was surreal, and desensitizing. There is a lot of brutal violence in this book, but there is just so much of it that it became run of the mill and ineffectual. None of them were likeable, relatable or memorable.

It's a shame, because I feel like if it had been much more developed and spanned a couple more books, I feel like it could have been one of those rare fantasy stories I actually loved. Unfortunately, it was only okay.

Rating: 3/5 

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