This month I’m only going to talk about one book, “The Library at Mount Char” by Scott Hawkins. This is a book that doesn’t really fit into one genre. We have it tagged as fantasy here but beware, there is a hefty dose of horror as well. It’s also a book that you have to be patient with. Events happen in chronological order, but aren’t explained until close to the end of the book. For the first 100 or so pages, be prepared to be confused.
The book flap has this to say:
A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.
Carolyn’s not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.
After all, she was a normal American herself once.
That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.
In the years since then, Carolyn hasn’t had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient customs. They’ve studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.
Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.
As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.
But Carolyn has accounted for this.
And Carolyn has a plan.
The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she’s forgotten to protect the things that make her human.
I can’t say much more than that without giving away the book. I can say that it’s a weird mix of urban fantasy, horror, and humour. There are a couple of fairly graphic violent scenes, sex happens off screen (to the commentary of the listeners) a few times, and Father can be cruel to the point of torture. Having said all that, I really enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone willing to try something that refuses to be defined, or neatly boxed up.