Friday, November 15, 2019

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount CharThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have so much to say and yet nothing to say. This book was the product of a random search for an available fantasy audio book from my library, which is all too often the case.

It started as a 1 star read for me. Violent, crude characters and a muddy plot I couldn't follow. What the heck was this all about?

Then it turned into a 3-star. It was still more violent/graphic than I usually choose, but there was a compelling plot developing. I've always liked creative ideas in plot, which is why I'm a fan of Garth Nix stories. I've recently discovered classic mysteries, which has me looking for Agatha Christie recommendations all the time. This dark, violent book somehow also had both of those features. Where was Caroline's Father? If he was dead, who killed him? And how? Were the other adopted children going to kill each other off before we found out the answers to those questions?

Yes, it made it to a 4-star level. This has all the same features as the 3-star phase, but now I HAD TO KNOW what happened next. Some questions were resolved, only to create more questions. You could feel a crescendo building...

Back to 3 stars... while the crescendo was building and I was fully engaged, I started to notice cheesy moments here and there. He was taken down by dogs and almost killed, only to get around and function and think clearly? What? He fought a lion with his bare hands? And then got his back stapled back together and was fine after that? Hmm...

And then... it was over. The crescendo came and died down. The mysteries were solved. The bad guys were vanquished or whatever. But it didn't end. There were, well... relationship issues. What!?!? Emotional turmoil took center stage, while our entire planet and humankind were on a path to self-destruction in the background.

1 star.

The book was over. Find a way to wrap it up and write a sequel or something. Nope, the plot struggled on, gurgling on its own blood as it gasped its last dying breath (everyone dies a bloody, gory death in this book, so it seems fair to give the book itself the same treatment.) And when it was over, I was disappointed by its last gasps. It stayed in 1-star territory.

The writing in this book was inspired. The concept and world building [of the library] was original and amazing. There is so much you could do with it. The talent of this author to take something that wasn't my genre and make me need to keep reading was fantastic. But the end product... not so much. I feel like the right editor could have helped mold the vision of this ending a different direction? Maybe not. I don't know that much about the writing and editing industry, but where there was so much potential, I have to believe that the industry should know how funnel that project to a reasonable ending. But again, I don't know. I do have the freedom, like every other unqualified reader on the internet, to rate it according to my own unqualified opinion, so that's what I've done.