Title: The Library at Mount Char
Author: Scott Hawkins
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Adult Fiction, Paranormal, Thriller, Supernatural, Dystopia, Horror
Published: June 16, 3025
Page Amount: 388 pages
Blurb From Goodreads: 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…
Why Read: First off, I wanted to apologize for this not being on a Thursday. I had dubbed originally Thursday as Book Review day… but this book was so good that I couldn’t resist. I received this copy a month or so ago from NetGalley. Every so often, I can be a little bit superficial and this was one of those times. I was intrigued by the cover much more than the summary (which I was interested by… but also a little bit intimated).
Review: When ‘Library at Mount Char’ began, I was more than a little confused. I had long forgotten the summary and all this talk about adopting, cruel Fathers and complicated library methodology seemed longwinded. I admit, I was not originally interested. But as I began to remember the characters and built the picture together, I couldn’t put it down.
Carolyn doesn’t seem like a particularly normal protagonist, and one could even call her the antagonist – but her mannerisms and how she conducts herself is so unique that you cannot help but be drawn to her as she does things seemingly without reason (though believe me, she does). She is the sanest (so it seems) of Father’s children, and her character development arc is one of the more interesting ones I can remember reading. Her brothers and sisters are more than a little odd, perhaps the one exception is Steve (who isn’t really related anyhow). The back-and-forth with Steve’s childhood was unexpected but absolutely beautiful.
What I really appreciated, however, about this book was its clarity in describing the different aspects of humanity. Father *aka Adam Black* is not human, and he does not pretend to be. The 12 children taken to be his disciples per say were once human, but when we are introduced to them – they may act human, but their humanity is not really all there. Steve is perhaps one of the only characters that I feel really maintains his humanity. I don’t want to give anything away, but keep an eye out for what humanity becomes as the twists and turns begin to change how each of the characters can justify their own actions.
As for the plot… As I said earlier, the first bit of the book was confusing, and I felt the term “exposition” dumped on me. Reading further into the book, I realize now that I couldn’t have understood what was happening without having drudged through the beginning. And once the plot really began to change and adapt to what each character decided and then later undecided – it really gets moving.
Part of why I adore this book and will probably attempt a re-read next year is how beautiful the writing style is. Each sentence is intricately formulated and with each new paragraph, a picture paints itself and it seems as though a movie is unfolding before your eyes. I thought that the best part of the book, honestly, was in how beautiful the sentences were, and how out-of-this-world the stylistic elements were.
While I would very much like to recommend this book to every one I meet, I don’t think that would be the best strategy. This is definitely a book for those looking for a reading challenge, or something that isn’t so easily defined. It takes time and patience, and is best fit perhaps for a reader who wants to be immersed.
Rating: 5/5 Stars