Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Library of the Unwritten by AJ Hackwith
Series: Hell's Library #2
Published by Ace on October 6, 2020
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
The Library of the Unwritten in Hell was saved from total devastation, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell--and from its own librarians.
Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen.
The Library of the Unwritten was a struggle initially to get into the world and characters in this Hell’s Library series. This can happen with the first book in a new series. I did become attached to the characters and enjoy their adventures.
The Archive of the Forgotten was a different style of story with less traveling, and more a mystery with mostly existing characters. Brevity is now the librarian for the Unwritten Library and Claire is the Arcanist. But there is a sad rift between them as Brevity has Claire’s old position. Hero is assisting Brevity and Rami is assistant to Claire.
There are some very clever concepts here with souls and creative spirit and books. The writing is poetic in feeling. While it is pleasant, I find its layer of complexity to be a distraction to solving the mystery.
Brevity has a fellow muse she mentored come to visit, Probity. I didn’t like her at all. She seemed to dislike Claire and was perhaps jealous of the relationship Claire and Brevity have, even though it is tattered now. Claire and Brevity take separate paths to solve the issue. This leads to some great dangers. Brevity is pushed beyond her comfort zone by Probity but wants to do something to solve things. I am just most attached to Claire so it hurts me to see her damaged and sacrificing herself to save others. She feels it is the right thing to do especially since she has made mistakes in her past.
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