What the fuck did I just read? I think I liked it? It definitely kept me guessing, that’s for sure. This book isn’t for the faint hearted. There’s lots of gore, violence, and even a little horror. I wouldn’t say it was a scary book per se, but a lot of crazy shit happens in The Library at Mount Char.
The narrative flits back and forth between the main character, Carolyn, as an adult and as a child. As a child her parents were killed and she was adopted by the man her and the other orphans call Father. He raised all twelve of them in a brutal way and they were each tasked with learning one of his catalogues, or areas of study. Carolyn was given the language catalogue so she can speak every language that ever existed by the time she’s an adult. That skill comes in handy when Father suddenly disappears, the library rejects the orphans, and they’re thrust back into the world. Though Father was cruel, they still try to use their collective skills to find him and not get killed in the process. When there’s a sudden power vacuum, you know things are going to get dangerous.
If you like books that surprise you, this one’s for you. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took a hard left turn. It was extremely well written. Hawkins’ characters were well-defined and vibrant. The story had so many loose ends that half the time I didn’t understand why the story was taking a detour or how the story could possibly wrap everything up, but Hawkins succeeded.
Content warnings for pretty much everything that could be triggering: child abuse, murder, maiming, rape, animal violence, violence against everything and everyone.