The Library at Mount Char

March 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

charThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins


First things first: This is an odd book. It doesn’t just throw you into the deep end of the pool as soon as it begins; it takes away your arm floaties and confirms that you don’t know how to swim before it does. The story forces you to pay attention to everything, though it’s not inaccessible. It will just take you a while to figure out what’s happening. At one point in the process of reading the book, I compared it to trying to watch two different movies by switching channels constantly on the television. I’m not sure I figured it out until about halfway into the book, but even during that time, I didn’t feel like I was going to give up on it.

It’s also an odd book because it’s hard to categorize. It feels like it’s a horror novel, but it has touches of science fiction, and even weird fiction, so even as you’re trying to grasp the story itself, you’re also struggling with your expectations for the story. It’s not a story that has to be categorized, necessarily, but it doesn’t help the story become any clearer by not knowing what genre this is.

The story has good characters, but what’s strange about the story is that it resonates through its oddness, not necessarily through its characters. You’ll grow to care about the principle characters, but it will take some time to get there, and I feel like it’s worth it, but in the beginning, it’s the novelty of the story that will keep your attention. Later, it will be because you have to know all the answers.

Probably the biggest failing to the book is that Hawkins does give us all the answers. For such an odd book, I would have preferred a little ambiguity, but he decides to make sure we know everything that led up to this story. It all fits, and it’s justified, but I came away from the story feeling like it was a little too pat, and too convenient. It comes together well, and I honestly can’t think of any other way the author could have wrapped it up, but I left the book feeling like it could have had a bit more punch to it.

You’ll note that I haven’t said anything about the story itself. This is intentional. The Library at Mount Char is a book best read with as little knowledge about it as possible. I hope my saying it’s an odd book won’t be too much of a spoiler, but man, I feel like people need to know that ahead of time, because it’s a book that will pay off by its conclusion. I don’t want anyone to get scared off before then.

Started: December 21, 2017
Finished: December 30, 2017

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