“Books ran away when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real.”First line in The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith
Author: A. J. Hackwith
Published: October 1st 2019
Buzzwords: Books about books, angels and demons, diversity, magical library
Synopsis: Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.
But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.
Hi, guys. You’ve stumbled upon my review of The Library of the Unwritten. Before going into this book, my expectations were very high. The synopsis on its own presents such a unique concept or rather several unique concepts.
At the center of the story you have this magical library that stores all the books that have only ever been an idea and not an actual book. And oh yeah, it’s in Hell because of course it is. However, what really caught my attention was the fact that characters come to life to look for their authors (or sometimes to just live their own life). Isn’t that the dream of every reader? To talk to fictional characters? Well, all of that made me have really high hopes for this book.
Because of the world’s originality, there’s a lot for the reader to learn at the beginning of the book. However, the author avoids being info-dumpy because the plot takes off pratically immediately so the reader kind of learns things along the way. It left me a little confused in the beginning of this book because there was a lot of information to grab onto and the plot wasn’t all that clear to start with.
It became a little bit of a tough start for me but the further along I got, I became more and more mesmerized by the amount of thought that went into this book. It needed that build-up in the beginning because the pay-off later on is a stroke of genius. Or rather several strokes. You can tell the author cares deeply about books and writing because of it. I love when something like that transcends the page.
Another thing that hooked me was the characters. It’s definitely a character-focused story but not the kind that doesn’t also have a plot though. We follow a group of very (!) different people while they go on a quest-like adventure through different worlds. Every single one of these characters is so well written. They are complex and well rounded with intriguing backstories that kept me invested all the way through. They are now characters that I love with all of my heart and yes, I would die for them.
I just quickly want to touch on the writing. It was something I had to get used to because it’s a little complex with some very long sentences and complicated words. This doesn’t mean that it’s bad by any means. It just meant that I wasn’t able to fly through it and I wouldn’t categorize it as an easy read. My non-native-speaking English mind had to pay attention in this one.
Finally, I want to say that this book not only had such cool themes about books and writing, but also about mental health. You read about some raw and honest emotions throughout the book and I felt all of them. Hackwith makes it all so realistic and relevant even though it’s a fantasy book. She proves that the genre can provide so much more than just escapism.
So those were my thoughts on The Library of the Unwritten which is now one of my favorite books. I can’t wait for the sequel, The Archive of the Forgotten which is out October 6th.