Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

October is traditional horror month, but I find something incredibly satisfying in settling down with a really scary book on a hot summer day.  Maybe it's the chill factor...

Anyway, as a librarian, any book with the word 'library' in the title gets my attention.  I first read The Library at Mount Char as a digital advanced reader copy, and had no idea what I was getting into when I requested it.

I was absolutely blown away by this book. From the first page, it grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go, and I think I just kept reading till I finished at 3 am or so.  Now, if you don't like the weird or have trouble suspending disbelief when reading, this may not be the book for you, but if unsettling, fantasy-based horror works for you, you should give this book a try.

Carolyn is one of a group of children who were raised by 'Father,' a mysterious figure who took them in when their parents died.  Father controls a massive library containing pretty much all the learning of the ages, and each child is set a different section of the library to master.  Carolyn's field is languages - human, animal and non-human. The children are forbidden to study each other's disciplines, and Father's extremely heavy hand keeps them in line.

The children are now adults and Father has disappeared. In the power vacuum that ensues, Carolyn and her adopted siblings fight to gain control of the library.  The stakes are high - the very future of the human race hangs in the balance.

Normally, I would recommend similar titles to read, but there's really nothing quite like The Library at Mount Char. It's unpredictable and strange, with characters wielding super-human powers, but still grounded in very human emotions.

Review by Becky D.

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