Scott Hawkins lives in Atlanta with his wife and a large pack of foster dogs. When he isn’t writing he enjoys woodwork, cooking long and impractical recipes and playing fetch with his dogs. He works as a computer programmer, and The Library at Mount Char is his first novel. (One of, I hope, many more.)
The Library at Mount Char By: Scott Hawkins
(From the back of the novel)
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.
I was finishing a review, I had seen and heard rumors of a new author out there in the in the horizon that had written a book called The Library at Mount Char. The synopsis on the book had me so intrigued I knew I had to review it. I actually do think I looked like this:
As my book arrived, I opened that package faster than you can say WHOA! I devoured the book in one setting. Before I begin my review of this amazing novel, I will say that I have never read a book back to back to back. Yes, that’s three in a row….I just didn’t want to lose any of the dark feel to this tale.
The first librarian we are introduced to is Carolyn. She is walking down the road, covered in blood, and walking near the woods across from the neighborhood she once lived in. She does have some memories of her life before, when she was human, but all of that was before she and 11 other orphans from the same community suddenly became orphans by “Father.”
“Father” assigns each child to a catalog of information from which they are to learn but never cross into each others catalogs to learn anything other that what they have been assigned to.
Time is different for Carolyn and the other children, and they each excel in their specific catalogs, however now “Father” is missing and the children are on a quest to find him. Each child now possess their own unique power. Some much darker than others.
Carolyn lead the others in their quests, however, as the children have been learning, there are terrible, horrific punishments inflicted on the children that are insolent. Disrespecting or disobeying “Father.” As the punishments are so graphic and unreal, I will not spoil your adventure into this novel, but I will say each time through, the more I thought about the pain and suffering and how it was doled out, I still cringe.
Mastering both the vivid imagery as well as the almost disassociated characters from human emotion in face of choices they make. But where exactly has Father gone to, and what is the world to do if God decides on vacation, or god forbid, wants to retire?
Or maybe one of the many enemies of Father have come and abducted or murdered Father. The children all come together with their unique abilities to search as far and as deep as they can go looking for any signs of where Father went.
I am desperately trying to not give away any spoilers, however I must ask: What would be worse, no dad but he is happy where he is and never knowing where he went, or finding him only to find out why you were adopted, and what your role in the scheme of the universe.
Through all of the characters, I admired each one for either their cunning, their tenacity, their insanity, and even for their obscene bending of reality and rules that they learn from Father.
In particular I became fond of two characters. Steve is the man that Carolyn offers an enormous sum of money to see if he can get into the neighborhood the children have grown up in. He inadvertently has found himself stuck in the middle of a war for the universe. Though it is never clearly stated, nor their push and pull interactions, the characters of Carolyn and Steve seem to have somewhat of a relationship forged through the trials of control of the universe.
There are many characters along the way that are easy to identify to and pull this epic battle towards its brutal and unexpected finish.
This novel is amazing. I have read other peer reviews where they are unable to get into the novel for the first 100 pages or so. I would challenge that many novels must set a plot line, and a girl walking down the road covered in blood, thinking of how not to kill the people stopping out of kindness to see if she needs help, definitely roped my attention.
Fantasy, thriller, horror components, all blended into one tightly woven story makes for one hell of a ride. I, was enthralled the whole way through. For me, this book was a 4.5 out of 5 as this author is amazing for a first book production. I am excited to see what else he puts out, as well as again reviewing his writing brought forth from the deepest crevices of his creative mind.
****I sought out, and was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review by the author and his agent. This book has become one of my favorites for 2016, and I highly recommend anyone who enjoys a great fantasy novel to grab one and read it! This truly was my pleasure to read and review, and I hope you enjoy reading and going on his adventure too!****
PnJsbookreviews: reviewed by ~J