I managed to squeeze both of A.J. Hackwith’s Hell’s Libary books into this week. I listened to them, I confess.
Book 1: The Library of the Unwritten, published 01 Oct 2019.
The Library of the Unwritten had been on my radar for a while, but I wanted to wait until the second book was out before I started. It was well worth waiting a year before reading it.
This Urban Fantasy is mostly set in Hell, but also in Seattle, and some other realms of the dead. Hell has a huge library, where librarians serve as punishment for their sins in life. When an unwritten book escapes to Earth to haunt its author, the librarian, her apprentice and a newly arrived demon have to travel to Earth to bring the book back. At the same time, a scrap of the Bible of Hell arrives at the Pearly Gates, which prompts two angels to be dispatched to find the whole book and bring it to Heaven. Of course, all hell breaks loose when their paths, inevitably, cross.
The world-building is fabulous. Just the idea of a library in Hell, where all the unwritten books stay, need to be repaired over time, become restless, their characters becoming corporeal and wandering the aisles of shelves. Perfect. Add the different realms, based on different religions/pantheons.
Each chapter is told from a different character’s POV. This is well-balanced and allows the reader to get more familiar with the whole cast. May I say, I loved Claire the Head Librarian, and Hero, and Leto, but I might have just lost my heart to Walter. Must be a Pratchett thing. You’ll know when you read the book.
Book 2: The Archive of the Forgotten, published 06 Oct 2020.
The Archive of the Forgotten picks up a few months after the end of The Library of the Unwritten. Since anything I might write now could end up being a huge spoiler for the first book, I’m going to just say this. It’s just as good as the first book, it has new plot twists ready for you, it shows the characters growing, evolving and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling at the end. Not to mention, lots of ideas to possibly explore, because Hackwith has added a few more wings to the library.
The audiobook narration was good – it’s just, I hate it when a “library” turns into a “liberry”, but this might be due to listening to the audiobook on 1.75 times the normal speed.