‘The Library at Mount Char:’ Book Review

We live in a fairly ordinary world:  we go to work; we play with our families; and if we work hard enough, we can manage to achieve a state of comfort that can make it all worthwhile.  Some people, though . . . they live in a special world, where knowledge quite literally is power and to learn and protect that power is paramount.  This is the world of Carolyn and her siblings in The Library at Mount Char, adopted by the mysterious Father many years ago and brought to this world of his, where obedience is absolute, because the power they learn to wield can either make the world or leave it in ashes.

Scott Hawkins has a phenomenal grasp of world building; it's amazing how tight and real everything feels.  He does so with a remarkable ability to fill us in on his plan very, very slowly.  I found this book surprising in many ways, none more so than in its breadth. I was constantly surprised by the twists, turns, and absolutely insane revelations throughout and was just as surprised as Carolyn herself when the end of the book came and then kept going.  Not in a LoTR, 10 endings sort of way, but both our protagonist and the reader may not realize that there's just a little bit left to do.

This is the kind of book I have a hard time predicting and that keeps every moment exciting and wondrous throughout.  There are interludes where we are dropped out of the current storyline to get more information, and these prove to be invaluable to the plot.  Hawkins has a keen sense of when to give us more, and when to keep us on the edge of our seat.  He has such a solid grasp of the story he wants to tell that at no point do we feel like we're getting a dump truck of exposition at the expense of the narrative.  Everything builds spectacularly towards the surprising and very complete finish.

Anyone who's a fan of modern mythological storytelling like Jim Butchers Dresden Files or the work of Neil Gaiman will love this new and engaging voice in the field.  Hawkins has some phenomenal ideas and a wonderful ability to weave a complicated, yet progressive, tale through the mysterious space his mind has concocted.  I think this will have a special spot on my shelf for sure, and I look forward to what he's got in store next.

Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2018 21:18

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