The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
On occasion, I've heard people say something about a book I never quite understood: "I'm glad I read this book, but I'll never read it again."
I didn't know what they meant, until now.
I don't even know if I'm glad I read this book. I liked it--sort of--and it held my interest, but I'm never going to reread it, and I won't pick up the sequel if there is one. That's not to knock the writer; his prose is good, his book is well paced, and the characters are well drawn. I guess I just don't care to read about the struggles of a family of sociopathic gods, and a plot that is laden with guts and gore and roasting people alive.
The main character, Carolyn, is indeed a sociopath; the author knows it, the reader knows it, and the character certainly knows it. Carolyn, along with eleven other children, are taken in by a sixty-thousand-year-old deity made flesh from the "Third Age," who is searching for his successor. "Father" needs someone to watch over his Library, which is the supernatural, extradimensional font of all knowledge. To choose his successor, Father subjects all the children to terrible things. This backstory makes clear why Carolyn is the way she is, and I suppose I can't blame her; but again, this is another reason why I don't want to read any more about her.
This is the story of the struggle between the children, and other deities from Father's past, and how Carolyn ascends to the position of Librarian, in charge of Father's Library and apparently our universe. The book's ending leaves the plot open for a sequel.
"So...you said 'they're coming.' Who's 'they'?"
"I'm not completely sure yet. My Father had enemies. Some of them are my enemies now, too. They've begun to move against me."
"Dangerous folks? Dangerous like you, I mean."
"Some of them, yeah."
"Don't worry," Carolyn said. "I have a plan."
I'm sure she does, but I won't be reading it.
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