Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for. After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course - before the time she calls "adoption day", when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.
Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible. In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power. Sometimes they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library - and with it power over all of creation.
As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her. But can Carolyn win? She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price - because in becoming a god, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.
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The Greatest Library in the Universe.
I would. In fact, I've listened to it twice already. I found the story to be gripping and fresh. Listening to it the second time made me appreciate all the subtle clues that the author has left for us to discover, and gave my second listen a different feel than the first one. I also found the narrator to be suitable in her portrayal of the various characters, though I must say that she makes extensive use of vocal fry (think bedroom voice) and that might annoy some people. I was ok with it though, I found it to be charming.
Well I won't be giving away any spoilers here but basically the novel was one hell of a ride. The central point of the story is the 12 Librarians search for Father, an almost omnipotent, omniscient being who "adopted" them when they were young and raised them, and taught them many things. These things vary among the 12, as each has a domain that is all his/her own to learn and master.
The main character, Carolyn's, of course. Her portrayal is spot on, imbuing Carolyn with the necessary emotion (or lack thereof) that the story demanded. Again, she does make use of vocal fry though so take that into account.
A word of caution to the squeamish. This is a violent and gory book. Some might say that the author made it too violent and over-the-top but I disagree. The scenes of violence are all brutal and described in minute, gory details but it never seems like it was done to excess. Aside from the violence, there are also scenes that might disturb more sensitive sensibilities like talking decapitated heads, repeated suicides, and others. For me, all this was necessary for the reader's/listener's understanding of the world and the characters that Scott Hawkins has created. The world of the Pelapi is dangerous and brutal, and it deserved to be shown as such.
If you are a fan of strange stories, stories with preternatural elements, stories with lots of mystery and a satisfying conclusion, give The Library of Mount Char a try.
- John "'ello"