23 June 2015

Today's Read: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char by Scott HawkinsWhat if you were given the chance to study the mysteries of the world? Would you be satisfied by the quest for knowledge or would you also seek power? After a horrible tragedy, twelve young orphans are taken in by a man they call Father and are given such an opportunity. What happens when they become adults?

Carolyn, blood-drenched and barefoot, walked alone down the two-lane stretch of blacktop that the Americans called Highway 78. Most of the librarians, Carolyn included, had come to think of this road as the Path of Tacos, so-called in honor of a Mexican joint they snuck out to sometimes. The guacamole, she remembered, is really good. Her stomach rumbled. Oak leaves, reddish-orange and delightfully crunchy, crackled underfoot as she walked. Her breath puffed white in the predawn air. The obsidian knife she had used to murder Detective Miner lay nestled in the small of her back, sharp and secret.

She was smiling.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (Penguin Random House / Crown Publishers, 2015, p. 3)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: modern times; Virgina (I think)
  • Circumstances: Carolyn and eleven other children are taken in by Father after a disaster kills their parents and destroys their homes. He gives them rooms in his immense library, teaching each child, according to his or her skills, a specialty: languages, math, medicine . . . death and resurrection. Decades later, the librarians have become strong in their areas and are used to their routines, despite the increasing competition among them. But when Father, who has long since revealed his cruel side, suddenly goes missing, who will be powerful enough to find him or, perhaps, who will defeat the others and take over the library?
  • Characters: The librarians: Carolyn, a language specialist; David, a warrior; Michael, a naturalist; Jennifer, a healer; Margaret, a walker among the dead; Peter, a mathematician; and six others. Father who is all knowing. Various people, animals, and beings they come in contact with.
  • Genre: Argh. I'm not sure. Speculative? Literary? Fantasy? Theological? Mystery? Thriller? Horror? Alternate history?
  • Themes: friendship, family, theology, power, revenge, knowledge, the nature of the universe, the world as it really is
  • What I liked: Everything. OK, that's no help.
  • There are mysteries: Why were these twelve children saved from the disaster? Who is Father? What will happen without Father's guiding hand?
  • There are things to think about: What if you had power over life and death? What if you could truly talk to the animals? What if you could change the universe? What if you could change the past? What if you could have absolutely anything?
  • The structure of the book & the writing: We come in near the end of the story and the details are filled in as we need them; brilliantly done. I truly had a hard time putting the book down. The pacing is excellent; the characterizations are perfect. There were surprises all the way to the end. There is so much to think about!
  • Things to know: This is a strong contender for my favorite book of the year. It's different, fresh, horrifying, and mesmerizing. It will suck you in and hold you there. You'll be thinking about Carolyn and the others long after the last page. You'll want everyone you know to read it.


Heather 6/23/15, 6:59 AM  

LOL I liked everything too. Not a help, but with this book, it's about the best we can do, right?! Such a great book. Still thinking about it weeks later.

Karen and Gerard 6/23/15, 7:56 AM  

Wow, this sounds really good! Adding it to my TBR!

Unknown 6/23/15, 8:10 AM  

Love that cover art! If you are still thinking about this weeks later, I better check it out!

Unknown 6/23/15, 8:33 AM  

That's powerful.

My teaser this week is from Jodi Picoult's new book:


Kathy Martin 6/23/15, 8:37 AM  

Sounds interesting. I hadn't heard of it before but will be adding it to my wishlist. The teaser on my adult blog this week comes from House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter - an urban fantasy. Happy reading!

bermudaonion 6/23/15, 8:49 AM  

It does sound very different. I think I have this one!

JoAnn 6/23/15, 9:13 AM  

Not one I would have considered without your review - thanks!

Kay 6/23/15, 9:35 AM  

What an odd and most interesting sounding book. I don't think I would have considered either without reading your thoughts. Wow. Putting it on my list - that endless, endless list. LOL

Vasilly 6/23/15, 9:56 AM  

Love your post! I had no interest in reading this book at first until now. Now I wonder, how many books have you added to my tbr list this year? Too many to count. :-)

Laurel-Rain Snow 6/23/15, 10:11 AM  

What a stunning excerpt! Now I am definitely intrigued. Thanks for sharing, and for setting it up for us. I would never have thought of this book, but now it is going on my list.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Gayle Weiswasser 6/23/15, 10:59 AM  

Interesting. This is totally not my type of book but your review is very compelling!!

Literary Feline 6/23/15, 11:08 AM  

I love that intro you shared! It's left me intrigued and wanting to know more. This does sound like a different book. Your description of it makes me want to read it.

Monica's Bookish Life 6/23/15, 11:32 AM  

The premise sounds intriguing, and your comments about the book make me want to try it!

Suzie Quint 6/23/15, 12:45 PM  

It seems rather normal until you get to the last line of that first paragraph, then it sort of hits you between the eyes. Intriguing.

Emma Litttlefield 6/23/15, 3:18 PM  

Love the sound of this. Not necessarily my usual read but I still want to read it!

Anonymous,  6/23/15, 3:30 PM  

Must put this on my list.

Daryl 6/23/15, 3:59 PM  

if you say must read, especially a mystery, i must ...

Girl Who Reads 6/23/15, 7:03 PM  

Love the intro - very descriptive. Girl Who Reads

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 6/23/15, 8:11 PM  

That's an excellent into, I'd read more for sure.

Nise' 6/23/15, 9:44 PM  

I do like the sound of this book and will keep my eye out.

Anonymous,  6/23/15, 9:57 PM  

Wow, this sounds so intriguing! Adding it to my TBR!

grammajudyb 6/23/15, 10:25 PM  

Not a title I would have chosen, but now....yes, I will. Thanks

Cleopatra Loves Books 6/24/15, 1:34 AM  

Loving the range of genres this one falls into! Thanks for sharing and it's a book I will keep my eyes open for.

Cleopatra Loves Books 6/24/15, 1:34 AM  

Loving the range of genres this one falls into! Thanks for sharing and it's a book I will keep my eyes open for.

Greg 6/24/15, 1:58 PM  

Hmm, the what ifs presented here definitely make me curious. This one does look hard to categorize, but like it has a lot to offer, too. Thank for sharing it!

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