Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Library at Mount Char

Scott Hawkins

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.

My Thoughts

Carolyn is one of several young kids suddenly orphaned and adopted by a man they call Father. Over many years, he teaches each kid a skill. For example - talking to animals or bringing someone back from the dead. Father is a strict disciplinarian and often uses cruel methods to get his point across. One day, Father disappears. Chaos ensues. What exactly happened to Father?

I had requested this book several months ago and when time came to read it, I had forgotten what the synopsis said about the story. Within the first couple of chapters I was thinking - boy, this is one weird book. Guys wearing tutus, a girl in bike shorts and a Christmas sweater, a boy being roasted alive in a bull shape BBQ grill, only to be brought back to life. When I rechecked the synopsis and saw this was sci-fi, I thought - uh oh. Sci-fi and I don’t always get along.

But there was something just intriguing enough to keep me reading. Once I got to the part on exactly what Carolyn had pulled off I was pretty impressed. Actually, when it all fell into place, I decided the plot was pretty smart and it changed my whole opinion about the book. There were several characters that I liked and the author added some nice humor.

The epilogue leaves me with the impression that there could be a sequel. I’ll be at the head of the line to read it should we be so lucky to get one (or maybe two?).

Thanks to Crown Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

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