The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith (Hell's Library #1)
Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.
But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil's Bible. The text of the Devil's Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell... and Earth.
TITLE: The Library of the Unwritten
AUTHOR: A.J. Hackwith with Lisa Flanagan (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
LENGTH: 384 pages (13 hours 57 minutes)
Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Main Character(s), Gay/Achillean Secondary Character(s), Bi/Pan Main Character(s), Genderqueer/Nonbinary Minor Character(s).
I find myself feeling very neutral about this book, and I'm not precisely sure why. The worldbuilding was interesting, the characters worked well, and I liked where it ended up. The audiobook narrator is excellent, they're definitely why I kept reading even though I was feeling meh about the book itself. My hesitance may be because the entire plot relies on a miscommunication early on in a way that made the rest of the story, while frequently engaging, feel a bit pointless. The conversation was artfully arranged to allow for the precise misunderstanding necessary to kick off everything else, and then the characters' stubbornness fuels the rest of the story. It's a well-constructed instance of a trope I dislike, and as much as I can tell it's done well, I still didn't like it. Since this trope is unlikely to fuel the plot twice in the series, I'll probably check out the sequel. The plot has a lot of twists and turns, with complicated loyalties and betrayals, past and present. I love Leto's story, he's definitely my favorite character, if I read more it'll be to find out what happens with him.
CW for ableist language (brief), grief (graphic), panic attacks/disorders, fire/fire injury, blood, gore, violence (graphic), self harm (brief), murder, suicide, death.
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