The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Posted January 26, 2016 by Poonam in Reviews / 2 Comments

The Library at Mount Char by Scott HawkinsThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Narrator: Hillary Huber
Published by HighBridge Audio on 16 June 2015
Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for. After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course - before the time she calls "adoption day", when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible. In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power. Sometimes they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library - and with it power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her. But can Carolyn win? She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price - because in becoming a God, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.

©2015 Scott Hawkins. Recorded by arrangement with Crown, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is a dark, sometimes comedic, fantastical novel about a group of orphaned children who get adopted by a man who becomes their Father. They live at the Library, which is controlled and protected by Father. It is also outside of the sway of time. Each of the children is tasked with mastering a craft, be it war, languages or death. These skills are taken to their most extreme and fantastical versions. Carolyn, the master of languages, not only learns English, French and German, but also every language that was ever used by any creature in the history of the Earth. These studies are cruel and demanding. However, years later, when Father goes missing, Carolyn and her siblings are despairingly cut off from the library and stuck in modern America. They must try to find their father and gain access to the Library before other powerful beings rivaling Father try to take over the power void left by Father’s absence and protection.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this novel. There are parts that I didn’t like, but then there were parts that gave me thrilling chills. Most of the novel is confusing. There is clearly this other world that Carolyn and her siblings are tapped into with ongoing politics that the reader never really gets an understanding of. This makes the whole story feel mysterious and somewhat incomplete. There are numerous flashbacks that serve to give more information about the characters, their temperaments and their relationships. This is especially true of the mysterious Father, who is himself absent for the majority of the novel. Carolyn is the protagonist and her motives are difficult to understand, but it is immediately clear through her actions that she’s up to something. The reader has to try to figure out what exactly she is up to, which is actually kind of fun. However, coupled with the handicap of not really knowing the world that the characters are dealing with makes this difficult. However, as things start to come together, it’s easy to see that that story is elegantly laid out and is ultimately about becoming all powerful and the challenge of holding onto humanity. Overall though, the violence was too much for me, personally. There is savagery in the story, which I understand, but still find revolting. The fact that I can even appreciate its value in the story makes this novel powerfully written.

The narration by Hillary Huber was great. I think she did a great job with the voicing and the changes of voice between Carolyn’s internal monologues and her external voice. The production quality was good as well. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes really dark, paranormal novels.

About Scott Hawkins

I’m a computer programmer. I live in the Atlanta suburbs with my wife and a lot of dogs. I write fantasy set in the modern world.

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