Book Cover
Title The Library at Mount Char
Series ---
Author Scott Hawkins
Cover Art Christopher Brand
Publisher Crown Publishers - 2015
First Printing Crown Publishers - 2015
Category Horror
Warnings None

Main Characters

Carolyn, Steve, Erwin, David, Margaret, Jennifer, Michael, Father

Main Elements Gods
Website ---

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.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

Ah...this book was...different? It wasn't bad, in fact it was quite complex with mysteries and deceptions wrapped up in moer mysteries and deceptions...but it was extremely grimdark and violent. One character would rip hearts out of people's bodies and squeeze the blood over his head till there was so much of it accumulated over time it was hard enough to stop a bullet. On the other hand the same character wore a tutu because it was the closet thing to a loincloth he could find, so it had it's lighter moments too. But those are far and few between the destruction, the abuse, the rape, and the fact that if at least one person has the power to resurect the others, those others, can be killed, again...and again...and again...

You have to pay attention, there is a fair amount of timeline jumping which isn't immediately obvious, and because of that, it's one of those books that would benefit from a second read, to see how the whole thing plays out once you know the sorta twist at the end. I say sorta because, well, I made a comment to someone about what I thought was going on after the first 50 pages or so and while obviously I had no details (and details are important here) I was also right in my statement.

And yet, while I'm not a huge fan of horror, or gore, or the imagery of intenstines hanging off a lamp, there was also more to this story, a lot more, of which I can't say too much without giving too much away, because what seems like random chance comes together in the end and then you end up seeing everything quite differently (well, not the brutality and gratuitous violence, but still).

But one gripe, a really MAJOR gripe. Carolyn is a linguist, that's her area of study...and she can speak all languages, including those of animals and even non-living things such as storms. And yet, she consistently fails to communicate with animals, even though she knows "all words that have ever been spoken". Maybe because it was a gray area between her and Michael, but every now and then she can, and when it's more convenient for the plot, then she can't.

So this is one of the few times I'm happy I didn't buy the book. I think it's worth a read, in fact it is probably worth two because the second time around will be very different from the first, but not something I'd want to own. But if you like your fantasy dark, disturbing, even outright warped and sadistic, but with a weird little love story running behind the scenes, maybe this is for you. Because I can say one thing, once I got into it, I found it hard to stop reading.

Posted: October 2017


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