Reviewed by: Jennifer Chretien, Reference Librarian
Rating: 4.5 stars
People have been recommending The Library at Mount Char to me for about 2 years now. People who's opinions I value. People who's taste in books mirror my own. Yet I never got around to reading it for some reason. I would pick it up but just never committed to bringing it home;I think because no one was able to give me a good sense of what the book was about. Even the book art doesn't betray much!
As I sit down to write this review, I am afraid that I am going to commit the same sin here. I cannot adequately review the finer points of this book. It's so weirdly wonderful and beyond description. I could tell you that the story centers around Carolyn Sopaski, who was orphaned as a small child and raised to be one of the Pelapi; a tribe of librarians that are apprenticed to the god-like Adam Black. There are eleven other children she was raised with and each one is assigned a special catalog or expertise. One day Adam Black goes missing and the librarians are locked out of the library.
That is the basic plot but there is so much more to the book.To describe it more would rob the reader of the ride as the plot unfolds. It's dark, irreverent,mysterious, thrilling, funny, and just plain strange. There is a definite Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy vibe . If you are a fan of Pratchett or Gaiman you will most likely enjoy The Library at Mount Char. If you are like me and have read just so many of the same "meh" novels that you need a reset, this is a great choice to shake things up. It's not the perfect book - there are some spots that drag on and it can be a bit graphic but overall Hawkin's debut novel is a delightful read.