For the Land Mermaids, this was our first book club read of 2017. We met at a new Indian restaurant in town called India Oven, and it was amazing. I had a saag paneer that I still think about on a regular basis. I need to get back there during lunch hours because they have a daily lunch buffet. We ordered off the dinner menu so we didn’t get to experience the magic buffet, but we all shared our different appetizers and entrees with each other like good mermaid friends do. It was delightful.
Title: The Library at Mount Char
Author: Scott Hawkins
Published: March 15, 2016
Format I Read: Paperback
Synopsis: Carolyn and her siblings are different. They were once normal like everyone else, but the day they were adopted by Father, everything changed. Father is now missing, and the magical library they call home is unguarded. The race to take Father’s place has begun as his enemies fight for control of the library and the power he possessed. Carolyn worries about who will come out on top and whether her best laid plans will be enough to save not only the world but the very fabric of the universe.
Thoughts: Not going to lie, I was completely confused in the beginning of this book. At one point I even went back a few pages to re-read, convinced that I had missed something or accidentally skipped pages. Hawkins jumps directly into the action without any introduction. It was a little disconcerting. After 30 pages of so, I finally started to settle into the story. It took some time, but it was worth it.
Carolyn is an odd main character. You root for her, but she also makes it difficult to like her at times. She has likable siblings and siblings you will hate. Luckily, the ratio is pretty even so you feel like she has allies but realize she also has powerful enemies. In the real world, she comes across two people who become her friends, and to me, they are the best characters in the whole book. Steve and Erwin are likable, and they keep Carolyn grounded. Growing up in the library kept Carolyn cut off from the world around her, and they allow her that connection to humanity that she desperately needs. There is a scene between Steve and some lions (yes, lions) that is easily my favorite in the whole book.
This book is never short of imagination and new ideas. I guess you could call it a fantasy novel, but honestly, it does not feel like any fantasy novel you have ever read before. It was an edge-of-your-seat read that doesn’t let up through the whole book. The surprises kept on coming but it never felt cliched or hackneyed. They were truly twists and turns I never anticipated and is one of the most creative books I have ever read.
The best part of this book was how he tied everything in the story together in the end. The narrative is tight, and there were parts that didn’t even seem important at the time that all rolled up in the end. I always enjoy when pieces fall into place and you feel it clicking as you read. Hawkins is a master of intricacy, and I look forward to more of his works. I would even read a sequel to this story. It was open-ended enough to allow that to happen, and I, for one, would enjoy seeing what else he could make of this truly unique world he has built. If you enjoy fantasy but are looking for something new, be sure to pick this up. Even if fantasy is not your thing, but you are willing to suspend reality long enough to read a whirlwind of novel that will keep you turning pages till the end, this one is a good choice. If you do get confused in the beginning like I did, stick with it because it is well worth your reading time.