by A.J. Hackwith
Series: Hell's Library #1
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In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren't finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.
Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing-- a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.
But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil's Bible. The text of the Devil's Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.
The synopsis for The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith and its cover screamed read me. This fantasy took me on quite the adventure as our librarian chased down missing pages from a lost book. Perfect for fans of Good Omens, the Great Library and Invisible Library series.
Unwritten Wing— a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. – The Library of the Unwritten, A.J. Hackwith
Just reading the synopsis it’s easy to see what drew me to this series. Anyone who follows me knows I love Rachel Caine’s Great Library fantasy series and The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. There is just something about libraries. Since both series have ended I am delighted to have this series to entertain me with new heroes and adventures. This is a diverse adult fantasy that takes place in a library for unwritten (unfinished, abandoned stories) books and it resides in the halls of hell.
Yes, this library is in hell, and our librarian a damned soul is responsible for the unwritten books that lie within it’s halls. I loved the world building even as some aspects left my jaw on the floor. For example in Hackwith’s version of heaven and hell there are no libraries in heaven. While I appreciate the reasoning this left me flabbergasted as my version of heaven has endless bookshelves and unlimited amounts of time in which to read them whilst sipping an endless supply of the perfect cup of coffee.
The unwritten books in the library are books left unwritten and those not yet written. Sometimes they awaken and need to be settled.
Meet the characters:
- Claire– Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing. Claire has a large collection of unwritten books that she penned as a human in the wing. Her past is mysterious and we begin to learn bits and pieces as the story progresses.
- Brevity– Assistant to the Librarian and a former muse. A muse helps authors on earth complete unwritten stories. She broke a rules and was sentenced to the library as punishment.
- Hero – a character from an unwritten book who escapes to find his author with terrible consequences.
- Leto– demon courier who is more than he seems. I adored Leto and thought him very brave.
- Andras– Head of Archives. A demon who aids Claire and the others
- Ramiel– a Watcher (angel) He is sent on a mission to locate the missing pages and promised a booned if he does so.
- Uriel– an Archangel. Voice of heaven. Gives Ramiel is orders, angry, vengeful.
The premise is simple. Pages from a dangerous book written by Lucifer are on Earth. Since they are from a book, Claire sets out to find them. Heaven wants them and believes Claire and her group have them. A quest and pursuit follow. We will travel through the different worlds/levels of hell and onto the plains of Earth. As we do so, we learn about both heaven and hell, our characters and discover a twisted plot.
Fans of the Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman will enjoy this. While it is unfair to compare it to Good Omens, this was delightful and had its own uniqueness minus the British satire.
I had fun traveling through Valhalla. lost temples and unique places on Earth. The idea behind the unwritten wing and the books within… was fascinating as were their bindings and things we discovered.
The book is labeled as diverse, LGBT and if one line and one character make it so then yep. The word pan is mentioned. Perhaps this will develop more in future books but for those looking for diversity you’ve been warned.
While the book began slowly, once it took off I quickly became caught up and look forward to revisiting the world in the next novel from Hell’s Library.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I finally finished so I could read your review. The book is well-written. I read 60% then put it down 2 months and finished in a couple of hours. I really had to give myself time to assimilate the world-building stuff. It might be an aversion to demons / angels or just the unique character of the story. In the end, I really liked it. Fantastic review!
Anne – Books of My Heart
The synopsis of this one got to me as well. The concept is so cool and I love that there is a place where all unwritten books go 😛 It makes me so happy. But it sounds a bit like promoting with the word diversity while not really including any… :/
This sounds so amazing and is on my TBR next and I cannotttt wait! (I am bummed about the diversity representation I must admit)
I want to read this one so much. I’m glad to hear that you really liked it!!!
Oooooh I love the idea of this book! what a different idea and take on unfinished stories. Thanks for the awesome review 🙂
WOW! This was not on my radar before, but now it certainly is. I love the idea that unfinished books reside in hell. But NO LIBRARIES IN HEAVEN?! That’s just wrong. haha. Thanks for the review.
hmmm interesting thanks Kim
Jenea's Book Obsession
This certainly sounds good and something I would like too!
The idea looks nice to read and I think it’s the first time I hear about it
I love all the series you mentioned so I definitely need to grab this one. Thanks for putting it on my radar!
oh i want i want! but wait! why is a librarian in hell? omg is not finish writing a sin in this world… oh the horror!
Ooooh, I just added this one to my TBR a few days ago! Your review really whets the appetite for it…sounds awesome and just my kind of book!