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The Library at Mount Char

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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 Carolyn can 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.

390 pages, Hardcover

First published June 16, 2015

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About the author

Scott Hawkins

8 books2,630 followers
I'm forty-nine and I live in the Atlanta suburbs with my wife and a whole bunch of dogs.

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5 stars
19,450 (40%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,328 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
February 18, 2021
The Library at Mount Char is a novel where you must not wish to arrive, but which you may approach stealthily, sideways. Yet even then, it comes rushing towards you like an oncoming train, unstoppable.

The novel begins, and it’s like a nightmare; you expect, each moment, to wake to relief. Father is missing, and it’s an answer to a question unasked, just out of your reach. You sit very still, waiting for the next answer to come. Father is missing, but his Library is still standing, like a kind of awful memorial to him. It’s a place built to make you want to keep driving away from it—literally. For years, Father held the lives of the 12 children he kidnapped in his steady grip. For years, they all thought Father might be God.

Carolyn, the protagonist of Hawkins’ nightmarish novel, was formed, alongside her siblings, in the desperate, keep-alive pattern of the years they spent at the Library, losing their innocence like the bloom off a dandelion while committing themselves to Father’s blood-drenched set lessons. They were smashed and spitted, torn to pieces, killed and killed, so that nothing so noble as love, or forgiveness, could ever claim space in them. But they have lived and grown to strength and Father is missing, and Carolyn is come looking for her vengeance.

Father had set the fire, but Carolyn will provide the tinder to burn it all down.

“That’s the risk in working to be a dangerous person,” she said. “There’s always the chance you’ll run into someone who’s better at it than you.”

I’ve come to realize that the only stories that really matter to me are the ones I don’t, and can’t, understand. What’s mysterious, ambiguous, unfathomable. So naturally, I loved the fuck out of this book.

Spending time in this novel is an exercise in trust—trusting that though the author will take you to deep, dark places, he won’t abandon you there. The Library at Mount Char is full of eclectic, macabre details. The author lets the reader into his world abruptly, and the beginning of the novel brings with it the buzzing sense of a warning, the sounds that come a moment before wasps swarm. I felt like I was reading a mystery book with every third line missing, unable to shake off the suspicion that there was something hovering just on the edge of the pages, waiting to pounce if I looked directly at it.

Through a fragmented narrative, we piece together Carolyn’s past, and much of the novel’s white-knuckled tension stems from the increasingly horrific flashbacks that the author wields with wicked skill. There is a tangible sense that Hawkins is holding out on the reader for effect, and that feeling of unreliability is particularly heightened by Carolyn whose thoughts run deep and silent, like subterranean rivers.

Carolyn’s rage was a closed house, and it made me afraid. She is a very interesting character. There was gravity in her, something somber and bleak. Everything Carolyn did, she did it with the grim purpose of a ship, battened against a storm. The novel allows the reader only a peek of her motivations and plans, but the hint of it is as dangerous as a coiled adder. And it’s what constantly pulled me toward the pages as if by a hook in my chest.

Carolyn’s relationship to Father—and her siblings—is another point of intrigue. Carolyn hates Father, but hate, it seems, binds as strongly as love. Father’s chief skill was excavating the souls of his charges, digging into their center, and like some sort of malefic cat with a ball of strings, tangling their emotions until they lost all distinction between love and hate. “You can adjust to almost anything,” remarks Carolyn, chillingly, throughout the novel. And it’s that sentence that often echoed through my mind every time the narrative yields a new facet of the characters, and I struggled to reconcile what I thought I knew of them with what I’m reading before me.

“Step down into the darkness with me, child.” Just that once, Father looked at her with real love. “I will make of you a God.”

There’s a swirl of chaos at the heart of the story, yes, but the novel is tightly plotted and beautifully contained. The Library at Mount Char leaps from terror to terror. Things get nasty. Get bloody. Get complicated. But it’s fun, too, and for every string of violence, there's a welcome stretch of hearty banter. It’s clear that Hawkins knows exactly when to dole out the humor amidst the havoc, and his infallible ability to veer from terrible dread to downbeat comedy in the span of a paragraph makes for an incredibly thrilling ride.

As for the ending, it felt like a déjà-vu—so familiar that it registered less as tragedy than as nodding predictability. But in a good way, and it was satisfying to see all threads connecting eventually.

Hawkins’ heady brew of visceral horror is irresistible. The Library at Mount Char is a bracingly original, mind-blowingly twisty, and fiendishly clever novel. It’s also unlike anything I’ve ever read, and it’s all the better for it.

If you liked this review please consider leaving me a tip on ko-fi !

Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
June 20, 2018
i don't read a lot of fantasy.
i read slipstream, magical realism, and horror, but fantasy typically just confuses me.

i think my obstacle is that with MR and slipstream, things are only just slightly tweaked, and what i relish is that unsettling feeling - that the possibility for fantastical occurrences is present, but there's still something concrete and recognizable to ground me.

my imagination is typically not strong enough for pure fantasy.

but that cover?? and a library??
i was intrigued and ready to give it a shot.

and at first, i was not digging it. at all. for at least the first fifty pages i was all: holy shit what is happening is this part two of something what is going on?"

this book does not gentle you into its world. there are definitely elements that are "our-world;" character names like "michael," "carolyn," "david," there is mention of a post office, and horses and club soda, but there are also things like Pelapi and people coming back from the dead, a man wearing a helmet of blood and a tutu and another communicating with animals.

initially it is unclear when this takes place, if this is our world or just a version of our world, if there has been some sort of global event that forced people to live …differently and have different associations and only vague memories of something called Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

but all will be revealed if you are a patient reader.

and it's pretty great.

in fact, i already want to read it again to see how those earlier scenes read now that i know all that i know.

because the book takes some unexpected turns. so many, in fact, that i'm not really sure how to review it without treading into spoiler territory.

at its most basic level it's a dark fantasy version of a bildungsroman in which orphaned children are schooled in esoteric and powerful arts by a man known as "father," whose lessons are dangerous and frequently cruel. they grow up in the flexible time of his library and are raised according to the ancient rituals of the pelapi, which distances them from the americans they once were. they never break into song like the charming orphans in annie,

their particular lessons are harder, and turn them into harder people, prone to infighting, violence, and fear.

at the start of the book, father has gone missing, and without him in place the world, including our world, is in danger of his equally-powerful enemies making a power play. which would be very very bad.

unusual alliances are formed, there is a great deal of violence (for those of you with triggers - many animals are harmed. people, too - scores of them - but i know a lot of readers are more sensitive to animal deaths, so be warned), and the story is not at all concerned with who the reader may have become attached to - this is a harsh realm.

it's a vengeance plot with a long fuse that demonstrates that power doesn't just corrupt, it also dehumanizes.

i really enjoyed it, and i would be really interested to see what those of you with a deeper background in fantasy think of it.

but i do know that never has a tutu been more terrifying than it is here.

or has slapping a lion been funnier.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 49 books51k followers
August 31, 2022
This is a very strange book!

Reading the blurb I thought I was in for some sort of urban fantasy of the angels + demons, werewolves + vampires sort that often has a young woman in leathers on the cover showing an inch of midriff.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a very brutal, rather crazy/flaky book that is so compellingly written it just drags you off on its bizarre journey.

The story opens on the small scale and stays there for a while, all the time stacking up the questions and level of weirdness. It concerns the "children" of a godlike father-figure, each of whom have access to a very specific fraction of his vast knowledge & power. Our main character (one of three points of view) has mastery of ... languages. Which doesn't sound like much, but she works it.

Towards the end of the book the sense of scale accelerates rapidly, zipping through the US president and moving on to issues of planetary significance and beyond to jeopardise the solar system!

The book has been highly successful. Its average rating is good but not sky high, and I suspect that this is to do with the way that the closing sections really don't make a lot of sense unless you are prepared to take a lot of random arm waving on board.

I found I could swallow the end game weakness and thus ended up thinking the book was excellent.

Surprisingly for a book set in the US, lions play a significant role in the story! Given my knowledge of lions (gathered solely by watching David Attenborough etc) I would say that Hawkins doesn't know much about lions (I don't think the male head of the pride goes hunting with his female cub ... I think the males laze around and the females hunt). But this is a minor niggle and I may be wrong! I actually really liked the lion sections.

So yes, a very imaginative, very well written, intriguing, exciting, brutal, funny book that you should definitely give a go.

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Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,828 followers
October 19, 2016
What just happened?

This book is bizarre. This book is weird. This book is fantastic!

Sometimes books are complex, weird, and artsy - but it all feels forced. Kind of like the author sat down and said "check out how artsy and deep and meaningful I can be". I have some books in mind, but I will play nice *cough* American Gods *cough*. But, with this one it felt like all the bizarre complexity and weirdness was flowing out of the author and he couldn't help it. He sat down and said "OMG, what is coming out of my mind right now!? It is awesome! I must be hallucinating! The world must share this acid trip with me!"

What I am trying to say is that it was odd, I often had no clue what was going on, but I loved every second of it!

I don't think this book is for everyone, and I think no matter how weird your tastes are, it will take a while to get into this. I am thinking I was 1/4 of the way through before I could put even the smallest coherent thought together. But, once you do, the great characters (pretty much all of whom were interesting in their own way), the creative dialogue, and the unique story come together for an experience not to be missed.

I am looking forward to seeing what others think about this since it is so different than anything I have ever read.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,971 followers
October 12, 2019
Re-read October 11, 2019

Just in case you might think that a book like this might lose its flavor or lessen my enjoyment three years after the last read, or it being the third read with the third-read blues, check your expectations at the door.

I still freaking love this book.

It has everything I could ever want. A mastermind plan or three. Godlike powers. A mystery, a revenge story, a freaking humorous and heartbreaking debacle including lions, dogs, and a very special man in a tu-tu, and a library that is so much more than a library.

Where both rage and love can be the energy source of suns, and bitch-slapping lionesses is perfectly acceptable behavior. Or where standing up for yourself can usually mean several dozen suicides. Sequentially. For one man.

Damn, I love this book. It has not lost any of its flavor. I could keep reading this every single year and still love it. It's definitely one of my all-time favorites. :)

Re-read October 14, 2016

I read this one back in September of last year and loved it enough to drop it into my Top 100 list. I've been thinking about it off and on ever since then. And I just had to re-read it for the Halloween season, too. It just fits oh so well! :)

Did it hold up to my beefed-up expectations? Did it lose any of the fires of ultimate agony or any of its Asshole Buddhism? Hello, No. :) I still love it.

I've never loved lions as much as I have in this book. I've never been more surprised to discover a love story, either, or an actual loving Father in Adam Black, the man who by all rights should go down in all literature as the most fucked up villain of all time.

All the oddness of this book, its sheer creativity, blows me away. All its characters become real and archetypes and real all over again, wrenched from all those endlessly tired grounds to become something new and fantastic again.

You want to see the training of gods? You want to participate in a war of gods? From their point of view? Well, welcome yourself to this book, my friend. It's not for the weak of heart. The stakes are really high. Maybe higher than any but the strangest and strongest SF or Fantasy out there, and the wrap-up is frankly an even more awesome story than all the action that came before it.

Expect an evolving story of unsurpassed creativity and courage.

And even though the deaths, more deaths, and even more deaths, of world-eating plagues and starvation, of the snuffing out of the sun and the raising of a new one, it's kinda odd... that this is strangely one of the most up-beat and hopeful of Fantasies or Science Fiction or Horror that I've ever read. :)

I might just have to make this a tradition and read it every year just for the plain joy of it. :)

Old Review:

This one is going to be a difficult review because I love it so much.

I'm not going to have Steve warm my bones under his light, anymore. I'm not going to have the thunder out of the east to have my back. But in the end, it is in Carolyn I trust. I have faith in her, and I'll have to have faith in her for the rest of my life.

Confused? Read the book. You'll know what I mean afterward. :)

My word, I can't get over how much new mythology that Mr. Hawkins crammed into such a short book, or how much of it wormed its way into my brain. I haven't been this enthused about any book like this since American Gods, and I have to admit this is a BETTER EXPRESSION than even that.

Gods walking the earth is one thing, but to actually watch them perform an infinite regression of events to create their own successors in such a way that the poor sap doesn't even realize it until long after the big battle is a scale of craft that ought to be left to actual gods, and not some person named Scott Hawkins, who, out of the blue, blew my mind by actually pulling it off.

I cried after Carolyn succeeded in getting her revenge, and I cried again after I realized what she had become by doing so. I don't need a heart coal to see me through to the end, though. I just cried like a little baby when Steve finally succeeded.

This is an IMPORTANT work. It's going to stick in my mind for a damn long time, and even now the story is continuing in my hindbrain, either resurrected endlessly, or a victim of the Black Book. Or, maybe worse than any of that, it's going to stay with me because I Never want to let the story go.

I'm recommending this for the Hugos for next year. It's not quite fantasy. It's more SF, and even Carolyn laughs at the notion of magic, so there you go. This novel is officially replacing my current top pick of Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, too.

I am absolutely amazed by what I have just read, and I'm bumping this one up to one of my top ten novels of all time. It's just that good.

Oh yeah, and if I ever get a chance to bitch-slap a lioness, you know I'm going to be blaming this novel. Just saying.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,909 followers
July 5, 2015
This is honestly the weirdest book I have ever read.

The first hundred or so pages of this book make no sense whatsoever. I mean none.
You just get thrown into the book and hope for the best. I kept thinking I was going to dnf this sucker but I looked and most of my friends on Goodreads had given it a pretty decent rating. I didn't want to be that weird one..again.

I'm going to attempt to sum up some of this book and hopefully make some sense of it in my mind at the same time. (Probably not going to happen..but what the heck)

So there is this Caroline chick. She says she used to be normal. Then "Father" adopted her and she became one of the librarians.

Then you have people getting killed. Several times. They bring them back from the dead and kill them again.
I'm telling you this book is whacked.
You have talking animals that "help" the librarians.

You also have David. A librarian who loves to kill and maim. As he wears his tutu.

"Father" taught each of his librarians, but they were only allowed to study out of the books in their fields. Or they suffered the consequences.

"Father" also seemed to have friends in high places.

I give up. This book really makes no sense. Parts of it were actually pretty good. Thus the three star rating. I think I'm going to go and take a nap now though and hope to just forget about these librarians. They gave me a freaking headache.
Profile Image for Sean Gibson.
Author 6 books5,719 followers
June 22, 2018
Many people are familiar with Schrödinger's cat, a thought experiment developed by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in the mid-1930s. Essentially, the idea was this: if you put a cat in a box, to an external observer, the cat is equally likely to be alive or dead at any given moment (or, more accurately, simultaneously alive and dead—e.g., quantum superposition). Smarter people than I (of which there are many) can elucidate how the experiment suggests flaws in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects, but I’m going to apply it to another scenario.

Let’s say you’ve experienced something weird that is difficult to articulate, but you really enjoyed it. So, you want to recommend it to people because you think they’ll dig it. But, the more you try to explain it and what you liked about it, the less likely they are to want to give it a shot, because it really is weird. And violent. And graphic. And mind-bendy. And kind of gross. And perplexing. And unusual. And sometimes a little bit funny. And sometimes a little bit dark. And sometimes a little confusing. And even a little non-sensical. And, so, when you describe it, people might be like, “Whoa, easy there, Tiger—I’m not into things that are simultaneously weird and violent and graphic and mind-bendy and gross and perplexing and unusual and a little bit funny and a little bit dark and a little confusing and a little non-sensical. I prefer cats, though whether they’re alive or dead, I don’t care.”

So, you’re faced with a conundrum: you can try to explain this thing that you liked and get people to check it out, or you can just stick it in a box, not tell people what it is, and make them wonder whether it’s something they’d love, hate, or be indifferent toward, and hope that their curiosity induces them to check it out. Because, ultimately, it’s the kind of thing that only someone who’s intensely curious is going to enjoy.

The latter method seems more effective to me, so I’m just going to stick The Library at Mount Char in this unmarked box here and leave it out on the Goodreads community counter. Hopefully, some of you will be insatiably curious and open it up at some point.

(And it’s totally not my fault if it turns out that there’s a dead cat in there, too; I swear I fed the thing.)
Profile Image for Justin (Look Alive Books).
278 reviews2,259 followers
October 18, 2016
I'm staring at a blank screen trying to figure out how to even review this book. Outside the rain has been falling steadily for hours. I don't think it has any plans of slowing down today. The rain is a nice distraction. I can sit and listen to it while I sit inside and wrestle with coherency. I don't even know if that makes sense, but it sounds pretty impressive to me.

I really don't know where to begin. I mean, am I even reviewing the book anyway? Aren't my reviews just a bunch of jumbled thoughts with little to no prior thought so they're really my thoughts without me thinking about them but don't you have to think to have thoughts in the first place?

The Library at Mount Char is the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. I feel like I used that exact same line in another book review recently, but I lied if that's the case. This book really is the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. If I use that line again in the near future, please remind me that I'm lying about that book, too. I think I've made my point way too clear at this point. I've gotta stop using the same word multiple times in the same sentence even if the meaning is different.

I didn't really understand what I was getting myself into when I started reading. Hawkins just threw me into this world without any background information with the understanding that I would put the pieces together as I moved along. And I trusted him with that, and he didn't let me down in the end. I actually felt smarter as I turned each page up until the very end where everything is revealed. Now I feel like I need to read it again from my new vantage point.

The world within these pages is awesome. One of the most creative stories I've ever read. You're not going to find anything to really compare it to since it's so unique. People have thrown around comparisons to Gaiman and I can see that. People have also compared this to Grossman's The Magicians, but that book sucks and no one should ever do that. The characters, the world in which they live, the writing... it's all so good. I felt the full spectrum of emotions while reading through this thing. It's hilarious at times, violent, thrilling, and even sad and depressing as it moves along.

I really don't want to say anything about the story. It's almost better if you don't know much about it. Just give it several chapters. You're gonna have to learn it, and you will be handsomely rewarded in the end for sticking around. I promise. I've also been known to lie possibly so don't trust me. It's cool.

Thanks, Kelley, for recommending this book to me. I didn't know it even existed until I got your recommendation.

Now I'm recommending it to all of you. Clear your calendar and read this one.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,645 reviews5,100 followers
June 8, 2016
super fucking fun adventures with some super fucking powered librarians. it all gets very fucking dark; after all, it features the end of the fucking world. (kinda.) what's not to fucking like?

but why all the fucks, mark? this is an all-ages site! come on, man. restrain yourself. for teh children.

okay! this devious, bizarre, pitch-black, evilly sardonic, take-no-prisoners adventure novel is written by Scott Hawkins. it is his first piece of published fiction but it reads like he's been publishing novels for years. I could not pull myself away from this book and I read my eyes out til the crack of dawn. crack cocaine for people like me who have no interest in crack cocaine but still want that exciting high. unlike many, my version of crack includes a novel whose first three-quarters are dense with action but whose last quarter is basically a series of melancholy and contemplative conversations between three characters about change, death, ptsd, empathy, and the natural and unnatural cycles of life. plus lots and lots of GOD. gimme!

so here's a fucking story that I've probably already used in another fucking review:

as a lad, I grew up in a household that was just not into the traditional concept of God, or into God at all. my dad was sort of an atheist and my mom was sort of an existentialist (which amounted to basically the same thing, to me at least). like most kids, I rebelled against my parents' rule. I did this by finding God. haha, that really came out of left field for my parents! this included accepting Christ as my personal savior, going to bible study, and a few summers spent at a religious camp. at the end of one such summer, the pastor had a practice of gathering us all together to answer any questions we might have. I had a classic one: "If God truly loves us, why does He allow bad things to happen to us?"

his reply was equally classic: "Imagine a quilt. If you turn it over, all you can see are a mess of colors that make no sense and go nowhere. But the top side is God's side. And there you can see a beautiful pattern. That's God's plan. We don't see its beauty, but it is there, guiding us."

I loved that answer! It made perfect sense to me. I came home excited to challenge my heretical dad and his outlandish lack of faith. I told him my big question and then I smugly recounted the pastor's golden answer.

an approximation of my infernal father's reply: "Well, genius, if God is so good, then why does he only show the shit side to us? Why doesn't he show us that other side and why does he hoard it all to himself? What kind of fucking God does that?"

So I think it's safe to say that Hawkins shares my dad's perspective on God.
Profile Image for Ginger.
754 reviews373 followers
February 9, 2018
Update 02-09-2018
It's been two weeks and I still have no idea how to do a review on this one. I loved the characters, especially the despicable ones. The whole concept of whether they were Gods or not was fascinating. The plot was just complex and wonderful. Just go read it!

Original review - 01-26-2018
ALL THE STARS! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What a mind fuck!

I absolutely loved this book! I’m not even sure how to go about doing a proper review. I know without a fact that this will be a book that I will remember 10 years from now. It was so great, weird and mesmerizing as I read it.

Once I sort out my thoughts and put the LSD down, I’ll do a review on this.
August 6, 2018
This was my first buddy read with The Wonderful Kristen, but it definitely won't be the last one ! It was a lot of fun discussing theories and comparing notes with you, Kristen! :D

I can honestly say this was one of the most bizarre books I've ever read! I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, but this book was so unique and eccentric, it would blow the mind of even the most seasoned readers:

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Not only was it refreshingly original, but it was also laugh out loud funny in some moments and cry out loud powerful in others. The casual prose while discussing outlandish events fit perfectly with the quirky nature of the novel.

I did have a couple of issues with the book. For one thing, it gets a little too grim for my liking at times. Some moments are very violent, to the point where it felt more like it was just for shock value than a necessary part of the story. Also, as strong as the novel is in the beginning, I felt it did collapse under its own weight in the final act. Fortunately, it all gets pulled together in the end to reach a very impactful conclusion.

A fun and emotional read, yet also one that requires a little patience and a really high tolerance of yucky stuff to get through. I'll write a much more coherent review once I've had time to gather my thoughts... right now I'm still trying to process everything that happened in this novel!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,467 reviews9,625 followers
February 28, 2016
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


Okay, I have to admit, in the beginning of the book to almost half way I wanted to stop reading and run away. I didn't like it or know what was going on half the time!

My brain is not qualified for this book!

Then I started to really like it when the kids were in Mrs. McGillicutty's house with Steve, it got comical and I started understanding an eenie meenie bit more! :-)

I loved Steve's character. I thought he was a pretty good ole dude. I kinda like Carolyn and I loved Michael and a few others. I couldn't stand David. Either way, this book is so bizarre and it goes back and forth from one thing to another just enough to almost collapse my brain!

Anyone can read from the blurb that these kids were adopted when their parents were killed by some bomb. They were adopted by the FATHER, he is a god, or God or something. He brought the kids to live in the library and they all had sections they were assigned to and they had to learn that all the time. Then FATHER goes missing, or is he missing? I can't even give a review it's so strange to try to do without some major spoilers.

These kids are very strange and they seem to die and come back to life a lot. The only part with David in it that I did like was when he did something to the President. Teehee, but I digress....

I loved the lions in the book as well. They were cool!


All I can truly say is if your not liking the book at first give it a bit and then see. The whole half end of the book was awesome, the beginning for me, not so much.

I'm going to leave it with some of the funny EXCERPTS from the book:


"Hello Steve," Carolyn said, her voice not quite a whisper.
"Hi!" he said, a little too brightly
"That's Mrs. McGillicutty. She speaks English."
"Yes. Yes, she certainly does."
Carolyn jerked her thumb at the couple behind her. "These are Peter and Alicia. They don't speak English. Not much anyway."
"What about the big guy out in the living room?"
"That's David. His English is pretty bad as well."
"And the other one? The one who keeps playing with the lighter?"
"That's Margaret."
"No English?"
"Hardly anything. She almost never talks."
"Can I ask you something?"
"Can you think of any reason I shouldn't grab one of those kitchen knives and stab you in the fucking neck?"
Carolyn pursed her lips, considering. "You might get blood on the cinnamon rolls."


Steve wanted to focus on the press conference, but he was having trouble. The big guy and the smelly woman were having some truly epic sex back there. It started with squeaking bedsprings, but those were eventually drowned out by bear noises and something not unlike yodeling. The smell of sex and rotting meat wafted throughout the house. Mrs. McGillicutty's bed evidently wasn't rated for stunt fucking, though. Right before the big finish it collapsed with a splintery, wrenching sound. Steve, not unimpressed, noted that the happy couple didn't so much as skip a beat.

**I would like to thank Blogging for Books for a print copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,928 reviews10.6k followers
June 23, 2015
When Father goes missing, the Librarians he trained try to solve his murder while his legacy hangs in the balance. But what happened to him and who is responsible? More importantly, what will happen to His Library?

I got this from Netgalley.

I'm not completely sure how I felt about this book. Hell, for most of the book, I wasn't sure who was supposed to be the main character. However, I did enjoy it. Here's how it all went down.

Father, aka Adam Black, aka various other aliases, scooped up twelve orphans and spent three decades training them to be Librarians, the wielders of the knowledge he accumulated in his sixty-thousand year dominion over Earth. When he goes missing and the Librarians are barred from the Library, things go to hell quite quickly.

Each of the twelve orphans has a catalog. Carolyn, whose catalog is languages, is the main character, although supporting characters Erwin and Steve get a lot of screen time. As the story unfolds, the backstory of the Librarians is revealed.

The writing was pretty good and there was a surprising amount of humor. I thought the scheme the mastermind pulled off was very well done.

As I write this review, it occurs to me that this is one of those books that I like the ideas way more than the execution. The magic system reminds me of The Magicians a bit and I love the idea of a nigh-immortal wizard training twelve orphans. However, I didn't really care about any of the characters other than Steve and the lions. I thought the story meandered all over the place and could have been more focused. It's also one of the few books where I wanted a lot more worldbuilding.

All things considered, the Library at Mount Char was a pretty engaging read. I guess my only problem was that it wasn't the book I was expecting. Three out of five stars.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews332 followers
April 23, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. Smart plot with likable characters, even the evil ones. I cried a river when daddy lion sacrificed himself for his daughter. Damn you for making me cry in a horror read. I went back and forth hating then loving the main character. Even after finishing this, I am still conflicted. Excellent read.
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews235 followers
November 12, 2018
I was at the library last week to pick up a book I was meaning to read. I never got that book. In its place (reserved for me) was this book. The librarian explained something about bar code errors to me but I really didn't care. I have already decided to give this book a try. The title was intriguing enough. I guess it was meant to be.

Not knowing what this book has in store for me (which is the most adventurous I will ever get!), I started on the first page, well… it’s about a librarian walking along the road with a detective’s blood all over her. Why in the world would I not read that immediately?
It was such a clever way to start a mystery book. It’s not a woman dead on the road. It’s not about the detective standing over her body. It’s about a woman who has just killed a detective, which sets you up for just how wild things are going to get.

Of course, this isn’t actually a mystery book, either. The book is classified under “contemporary fantasy”, and I guess that will have to do. I don’t want to go into the plot too much because half the fun of this book is the slow, steady reveal of how weird and crazy things are. Suffice to say, I have not read anything like it before, and just when I thought I figured out what’s going on, I was sooner proven wrong.

There are unending cruelties here. Psychotic families. Insane political machinations. Weird magic. Surprising twists. As awful as it may sound, I enjoyed reading this book! Not because I am beyond help, but the story is very enticing. It will grip you and hold you hostage until you get to the end.

Any complaints I might have about this book were minor. There are some long talking scenes that repeat information to characters that I, as a reader, already knew. That was fine, it happens to the best of us. The pacing of the last act runs a little long, but again, by that point I didn’t care because the book was just laying down the payoff of the mysteries it promised to solve at the beginning, and I was fine with that. There are horrible things done to people. Horrible things! But it’s not voyeuristic and purposeless. There is a method to the horror and madness, and it’s treated fairly.

I did not feel punched in the face, though there are certainly a lot of unanswered questions that I can’t really touch on without spoilers. Maybe another time... or just read the book, it will take you on a journey you will never forget!
Profile Image for Debbie W..
725 reviews489 followers
March 17, 2023
April 2022 is my "Fantasy/Science Fiction Month"!

Why I chose to listen to this audiobook:

Lately, I've seen this book, with an interesting synopsis, reviewed by fellow Goodreads members, so I put a hold on it for Fantasy Month.

1. OMG! This uniquely creative story is pushing me to be a fan of this genre! When a fantastical cult of badass "librarians" is making trouble within the real world, you can bet that a whole lot of shaking is going on! With such an original plot line, I could not predict the ending (even though I tried!);
2. there were some long side stories; however, they were needed to develop the plot and the characters;
3. although the majority of the characters are most unlikeable (which makes this story so engrossing), I did have an affinity for "Steve" and "Erwin"; and,
4. narrator, Hilary Huber, is so credible with the various characters' voices! She kept me so riveted that I didn't want to miss a minute of this story!

this book contains violent scenes, including towards animals, which may be upsetting for some readers/listeners.

I will definitely be on the lookout for more of Scott Hawkins's unique brand of fiction!
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews716 followers
June 27, 2022
This felt somewhat different and unique from the other fantasy I've read which obviously made me like it. I wish I had reviewed it right after finishing it because I've started to forget how I felt about it. I did think . Also Steve was really annoying towards the end. The book kept me in suspense and I did really enjoy all the twists etc.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.6k followers
November 29, 2016
I was warned that this would be the weirdest book I've ever read and... yep!

In the beginning I had a hard time getting into since every 1-2 chapters you start following a different story without really knowing how they are linked. Eventually it all starts to make sense and I just couldn't put it down!

If you're looking for something different - horror, thriller, whimsical type then this is it!

I would try and summarize it but honestly there's no way I would give it justice. Just read it!
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,377 reviews1,435 followers
March 26, 2018
The Library at Mount Char is an urban fantasy/horror novel about Carolyn and her adopted "family" who are studying the seemingly endless knowledge of an immortal being that they call "Father." The lessons that they learn are terrifying but powerful.

After years of fear and torture at the hands of the Father and some of her siblings, Carolyn wants to break free from her living nightmare. She knows that she can't trust anyone, but she also doesn't know all of her Father's secrets.

How exactly does one escape from a god?

I think The Library at Mount Char is fantastic.

The characters are more than human and divinely flawed, all of them.

The plot proceeds at a breakneck pace, going from thrilling to apocalyptic so quickly that I couldn't put this book down.

Yes, I lost some sleep reading The Library at Mount Char. If you pick this up, I bet that you will too.

The distinctive mix of godlike powers and very human, emotional, knee jerk reactions contained in this story reminded me of some of the darker Greek and Roman mythological story elements like: the serial rapists (Zeus and about every other major god figure) and the unjust punishments of the innocents (Medusa, Actaeon, Laocoon, etc).

Those mythologies were written to explain the unexplainable workings of nature, weather, time, and humanity itself.

I think, if one makes The Library at Mount Char into a metaphor for reality, it fills the same role, in a modern way, as those more ancient stories.

It gives a rhyme and reason to the mystery that is life. Pretty deep for a debut fantasy novel.

Some of the twists I saw coming, but some of the big ones, I didn't.

It kind of reminded me of an M. Night Shyamalan film, except instead of one gasp-worthy moment, there were maybe six of them.

After each one, I'd put the book down for a second and start to rethink the story from the new vantage point that the author had just provided.

It's really an amazing work for a first novel.

Highly recommended for fantasy and horror fans. More sensitive or squeamish readers should keep walking.
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,184 followers
June 19, 2019
Sorting Books GIF - SortingBooks Books Librarian GIFs

If the woman above is how you think of librarians, you probably haven't visited a library in recent years. And you certainly haven't read Scott Hawkins' amazing novel The Library at Mount Char.

Meet a few of the librarians:

Garbed in a reindeer sweater, 80s-style leg warmers, and Spandex bicycle shorts, our MC has mastered every language ever used on Earth, including those of all the animals.

Though he dresses in a purple tutu, David is anything but a sissy. In fact, he is a ruthless killer, with a helmet made of blood and hair, and a string of intestines slung over his shoulder.

"A creepy lady who smells like dead ass," Margaret studies the forgotten worlds, the places where we live before we are born and after we die. As such, she spends her life dying in order to travel to where the living cannot. Margaret enjoys licking tears from the cheeks of dead men.

The most normal of the bunch, Jennifer is the librarian who specialises in the healing arts. At first glance and compared to some of the others, she has a fairly decent career. However, we learn early on that her job is not one to envy. After all, someone has to bring Margaret back to life each time she dies. This entails performing CPR on a days-old rotting corpse, placing her mouth on a mouth full of wriggling maggots.

One of the most sadistic characters, if not the most sadistic character, I've come across in fiction, Father is thousands of years old and has written the books contained in the world's largest library (the one at Mount Char), cataloging all of the knowledge of all times. When Carolyn's and 11 other children's parents are killed, Father adopts them all and begins training them to be Librarians. The ways in which he does so are..... are.... well, let's just say he would never win the Parent of the Year award.

If someone had described this book in detail to me, I would have sworn I would hate it. Instead, I absolutely, 100-percent loved this book! The horrors and gore were at times overwhelming, and yet.... and yet I could not stop reading this! Scott Hawkins, how the hell has he not published more novels??? This man is a genius! He is Stephen King on LSD. This book is incredibly imaginative, the characters so real even as they are fantastical. The world building, the character building, abso-freaking-lutely everything about this book is AMAZING!

I won't write more, don't want to give anything away. I think most people who enjoy fiction, even if you're not a huge fan of horror or fantasy, will enjoy this book. Oh, and if you do still think librarians are stern-faced, bun-wearing, shushing-you old ladies, you need to visit your local library. You just might discover that we are now tattooed and pierced and sporting purple and blue and green hair, laughing out loud and inviting you to do the same. Librarians are cool! However, if you happen to see some big dude who is dressed in a purple tutu, bloody intestines slung over his shoulder? -- RUN!
Profile Image for Cindy Newton.
622 reviews129 followers
March 5, 2023
Review from 2nd Reading - 8/10/17

I still love this book SO MUCH!! The second reading only proved to me that my memory was correct, that this book is freaking amazing and as completely awesome as I remembered it being. The only thing missing, sadly, was the wonder of reading it for the first time. Otherwise, it's sublime! It's not for everyone--if you don't have a taste for the bizarre, if you're not willing to step outside the bounds of reality and embrace a fantastically skewed version of our world, then you're probably better off just not picking it up. While I respect your choices and your personal tastes, I still can't help feeling a little sorry for you. You will never experience the magic that is this book, and that's just sad to me!

Original review (2016)
This book is decidedly odd. After reading it, I wondered if it was just me. Maybe my reading choices have been so traditional and hide-bound that even the slightest deviation from the norm fascinates and perplexes me. I could imagine a great deal of collective eye-rolling and slightly pitying amusement by some GR readers, shaking their heads at my naivety in thinking this was strange. After reading other reviews, however, I discovered that I was not alone. This book IS odd. Some readers, however, felt distaste for its weirdness; I loved it!

You start the story in total confusion and stay that way for most of the book. Information is released in tiny increments. Bizarre characters enter and fantastic events unfold; you scratch your head and keep reading. It does become clear, from the beginning, that there are realms of reality co-existing in this book. One is our normal one, going about its day-to-day business. That average world, with which we are so familiar, is completely oblivious of that second plane of existence, which is operating busily right under its radar. The inhabitants and events in this secret universe are largely unseen, and when they do collide with humanity, humanity suffers the worse of the encounter.

The above is not a spoiler--you get this pretty quickly from our introduction to our main character, Carolyn, at the beginning. I won't say any more because I don't want to give anything away. I just think that this whole book, and the interactions between these two worlds, must have been an extremely delicate balancing act--one which Hawkins handled adroitly. It could so very easily have gone wrong; so easily have tipped over into absurdity, but it didn't. I believed in this universe he created; I bought into the existence of these characters and events, and felt the integrity of the resolution. He even managed to infuse quite a bit of humor into these strange happenings.

I look forward to future books from this author, and hope he continues in this genre--he's well-suited for it!
Profile Image for emma.
1,825 reviews48.4k followers
May 11, 2017
4/5 stars

Bonkers. Certifiably bonkers. (If anyone read that in Jason Mantzoukas’s voice, I’m in love with you.)


I’ve never read anything like this book before!! And I’m also pretty certain I never will again. It didn’t drip with gaudy description, but I could picture everything. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way. Also, I loved that like, the most insanely background characters were fuller than most YA protagonists. Because y’all know I’m a sucker for a good character.

I like to think I’m a pretty smart person, but I was pretty much confused for the entirety of those 388 pages. Granted, I’m not really an expert on space or math or anything (English, you may not be surprised to learn, is my main schtick) but I did feel stupid every once in awhile (usually when I felt like my lack of understanding was making me miss a major plot point). Sometimes that was fine, and sometimes it was too much.

388 pages may not seem like a lot, but they were huge pages and a fairly small font and this book did drag a bit sometimes. (May have to do with how hard it could be to read.)

But I’m still givin’ it the big 4, because it’s so insane and imaginative and unique and really more of an Experience than a book. And you can’t undermine that.

Bottom line: if you have a lot of energy, a not-too-busy week, and confidence in your own intelligence that can withstand this, get your hands on a copy!!

P.S. How'd I forget to mention how much I love this guy's writing style?! Like:

Dear Mr. Scott Hawkins,
Do you have any grocery lists I can read? Also: thank you for your book. Also also: how in the hell did you come up with ANY of it.
Much love, respect, gratitude, etc.,
Some idiot
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,252 followers
September 14, 2015

12 children are abducted by a powerful man and are tasked with learning his collected knowledge of the earth's secrets.
"I don't get it."
"I'm not sure I do either, honestly. I mean, I know what he did to us, but I really don't have any idea why."
p. 239

At times reminding me of bits of American Gods and The Magicians, The Library at Mount Char is both interesting and pretty messed up. There are scenes with tons of dogs being brutally murdered and people being burned to death in a grill shaped like a bull. Not to mention that the kids grow up to pretty much be sociopaths, with the rape and murder and such.

This book also climaxes too fast, with the last third of the novel being falling action from the big confrontation. Don't get me wrong, we need that falling action because that's when the most interesting parts of the library are shown, but very little actually happens during that last 120 pages or so. I don't know how to rate this book. There are parts that were very entertaining, but there were others that were basically info dumps that had no importance to the story later on, and other things like the people with the reality virus who were growing tentacles for fingers were never expanded upon.

Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews671 followers
December 30, 2015
'It's about to get very dark, you see.'

Time works differently in the library at Mount Char. It is home to the Pelapi, best described as librarians. Apprentices to Father, they have been assigned to catalogs of special learnings.

Regard the sun as it fades to black, see the floating staircase, and note the smell of tears. Meet Rachel and her ghost children, the terrifying David, and the odiferous Margaret. Jennifer, gentle soul and healer. Carolyn, the linguist, a bookworm at heart. Hear tell of the Forgotten Lands, residence to those who are not yet born, and of those who died. Learn about heart coals.

Brilliant in its originality, difficult to categorize. Fantasy/horror would be the closest, I reckon. Loved every bit of it, and I am genuinely sorry it is at an end.

Profile Image for Celeste.
906 reviews2,342 followers
April 24, 2017
Full review now posted!
You can find this review and more at Booknest.

Have you ever bought a book and not gotten around to reading it until years later? This is a constant problem for me, because I might have the teensiest book-buying addiction. I currently have well over 3,000 books in my home, many of which I bought because they were incredibly cheap, not to mention that I wanted to take them home with me because they had words in them. I have more books than I will probably ever be able to read. Does that stop me from buying more? Nope! My shelves have turned into something akin to archeological sites; I never know what I’ll dig up when I start looking for my next read.

The Library at Mount Char was my most recent rediscovery. I bought it two years ago because it had a pretty cover (with the word “library” in the title, no less) and was on sale, but I somehow never got around to reading it. When I plucked it from behind the stuffed Totoro it was hiding behind, I got incredibly excited. The synopsis sounded weird and fabulous, and I wanted to start reading it immediately. Alas, now my reading is a bit more structured, so I had to pencil it into my schedule.

The day arrived. I picked up the book and started reading. And I almost put it down. The first fifty pages of it were so dark, so bleak, that it was almost too much for me. There was child abuse and human sacrifice and poor victims resurrected to endure the torture over and over again until they grasped whatever lesson was being taught. Although the Library itself sounds amazing, it’s not a place I would ever in a million years want to visit. The hopelessness of the situation and the feral self-preservation that defined the students was just about enough to convince me to return the book to its hiding place behind Totoro.

“You can adjust to almost anything.”

But I’m glad I didn’t. I read the last two hundred pages in less than three hours. I can’t even tell you exactly what kept me so engaged, except that it was incredibly unpredictable. I’ve never read anything like it. Carolyn and Steve, the story’s main characters, continued to grow and surprise and sometimes horrify. Both characters had far more depth than I anticipated when they first appeared on the scene. Steve was the only genuinely good person in the book. He had a past, and he made mistakes, but he was good down to his toenails. But Carolyn, the true protagonist, was the real surprise for me. I understood her motivations, even when they made me super uncomfortable. Her intellectual rigor was so impressive. I loved this quote describing her:

“Carolyn’s eyes were like granite, against which soft things might smash and be broken.”

There was never a dull moment in this little book. There were epic lions battling packs of completely insane dogs. There were zombies in suburbia. There was the most terrifying barbecue pit on the face of the earth. There was a psychotic warmonger in a tutu and his girlfriend who liked to lick the tears from the decapitated heads of his victims. (They liked to finish off their sex-capades by killing each other and having their incredibly stoned physician resurrect them. Seriously, they were so disturbing.) We get to meet the Sun and a tiger god and the President of the United States. This was one of the most varied casts I’ve ever read.

All in all, The Library at Mount Char was one of the most unique books I’ve ever read, if also one of the darkest and most irreverent. I recommend this book to those who can handle that darkness and the depression it often brings with it. Maybe balance it out with a Disney movie or two. Moana worked for me. If you do decide to pick this book up, I can promise you that you won’t be bored!
Profile Image for Nick Borrelli.
366 reviews354 followers
June 9, 2017
I don't exactly know what to say after finishing this book other than I can't find the words to review it right now. I will say that I have never read a book quite like it (and I've read some weird books). I'm not sure how someone's brain houses a story like this and then can translate it onto a page but Mr. Hawkins has managed to do it. In short, the book is disturbing, freakout weird, compelling, original, and mostly brilliant. Full review when I can handle it.
Profile Image for Ioana.
274 reviews349 followers
April 2, 2016
The Library at Mount Char is an odd little fantasy about a tribe of orphaned children being raised in a "library" by Father, an enigmatic cult-like leader (or so it seems at first).

That’s as much positive as I can muster before the “BUTs…” begin spilling out. This is a very popular, highly-rated book, and you may enjoy it. I personally wavered between acceptance and true detestation. Perhaps I just don’t “get it”; feel free to tell me so in the comments.

Anyways, here’s the deal: first and foremost, Hawkins’s story-telling style is infuriating, and not in a good way (for me). Every single review I’ve encountered mentions how “weird” this book is, and most reviewers seems to agree that nothing at all makes sense for the first 100 pages at least (I for one am not sure I ever got it, but then, it lost my interest long before the end, so perhaps I wasn’t paying attention). Well, I LOVE weird books, the truly bizarre setup, quirky characters, and the like; I thrive in the throes of productive confusion. There’s nothing more I’d rather be when reading a book than completely blown away by the surreal, the absurdly creative, the shattering of the mundane.

The The Library does none of that. Confusion cannot be productive if you have absolutely no idea what is going on! And, it's not absurdity when everything can happen, because there are no rules, no internal validity. The Library is such a messy hodge-podge, it doesn't really inspire new understanding.

Reading an interview with Scott Hawkins, my suspicions were confirmed. He writes:
"Just about every mythology I could think of had already been tapped by someone more famous than me. I didn’t want to appear to be piggybacking... I needed to make up something entirely new. So I tried to capture the spirit of all these myths without really using any of the specifics."(Source: FantasyLiterature.com interview)

And that, for me, was the root of the problem. Hawkins’ “new” mythology is a random assortment of pretty much all mythologies that have ever been – from Buddhism to Christianity to the Greek Gods to Native American earth-religions to everything in between, with no clear specifics or references to anything we may be familiar with. Add to that he doesn’t explain anything as it’s happening (though some things are revealed in the last 100 of 380 pages)… for me, this led down a path of frustration and annoyance, far removed from semblances of enchantment and wonder, which I had expected to sweep me away in this book.

Next, the world Hawkins creates does not have any boundaries or clear rules. Of course, fantasy bends the rules, but there are still internal patterns that cohere into a systemic whole! In The Library, it seems like anything can happen: there are literally NO limits. This, for me, invalidates the entire purpose of dreaming a new world into being, which is to be able to ask “what if” questions from within another internally consistent, sensical universe.

There are other aspects of the book that did nothing for me: the gratuitous violence, the detestable characters, etc. Also, this book is most definitely not about a “library”; as this enticing setting was the primary reason I picked up The Library, I feel duped (I mean, there is a library, but not our sense of it, and it’s only the setting for the last 100 pages or so).

And: this is most decidedly not science fiction, although some praise it as such. As a math teacher and former engineer, I cannot do science-math mumbo-jumbo, like this explanation of a reissak: “Its essence is a mathematical construct, a self-referencing tautology, consecrated in the plane of regret…”. Ummm, no, stop right there. There wasn’t much of this, I’m pretty sure Hawkins knows he’s writing pure fantasy. But still, these quasi-pretend-mathematical descriptions were quite aggravating, especially seeing as they were not mathematically profound in any way- but rather, just random collections of mathy-sounding words. (Aaaarrrr! Math-teacher pet-peeve #1: Don’t BS the math! Of course I can tell! Sigh. The story of my grading-life.)

There’s also some good though. Hawkins writes well – I would describe his work as Gaiman-esque, with maybe a slightly more “pulpy” feel. The ways in which he weaves images together kept me reading even though I wanted to quit about every other page. The fact I finished this book at all is a testament to Hawkins’ vibrant, smart, direct way with words.

And, despite my prior complaints about the foundations of Hawkins’ world, I did get the ultimate message about what happens when we allow ourselves to hide from the world in response to pain. If I just look at The Library as an allegory illustrating an important lesson about human reactions to injustice, violence and misfortune, I can see its value.

Conclusion: I was not a fan, but a bit selfishly, I’d recommend it if only so that I can hear your thoughts. Plus a bunch of people love it – so don’t let this review deter you.

*I received a finished copy from the ReadingRoom through the Advance Reading Program. The review is honest and solely my own.
Profile Image for Laura Noggle.
677 reviews387 followers
June 11, 2019
5 Solid Stars: Surprising, Imaginative, Powerful 🤯

“Behind her eyes, black flowers bloomed.”

It’s hard to know where to start with this book other than … WOW. What a trip. Imagine if the movie Mother!, Dr. Strange, and an M. C. Escher painting had a baby — you might be close to capturing the essence of this psychotropic tome.

“The explosive brightness was startling in the long, dreamy shadows of this suburban afternoon.”

Whichever way you look at it, this book is a wild ride you should definitely take. Unlike any other book I’ve read, this book steadily climbed the “star ladder.” At first, I had no clue what was happening. The beginning is bizarre and took me a minute to buckle up. Things pick up speed, and soon you’re hurtling into unknown territory. Shocking and violent, the plot intensifies punctuated with dark comedy. I couldn’t put it down after halfway, and powered through to the end. It *almost* felt like two books, as the plot takes a sharp left turn and heads out past the cosmos.

“Warm air spilled out, dry as desert wind and heavy with the scent of ancient dust.”

All I can say is read this book, and see for yourself.

PS—I first heard of this book from this article: Just Trust Me: In Praise Of Strange Books — piquing my interest with: "Give me something dark … Give me a book that sunk its teeth into you. One that changed you, left you a little different by the time you were done.”

The Library At Mount Char does not disappoint.

(Lab Girl, also recommended in the article, is another 5 star read.)

Favorite Quotes:

“Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.”

“No real thing can be so perfect as memory, and she will need a perfect thing if she is to survive. She will warm herself on the memory of you when there is nothing else, and be sustained.”

***2019 Update: Still one of my all time favorite books.***
Profile Image for Daphne.
571 reviews66 followers
February 7, 2017
Holy crap. I. Can't. Even.

This book - it's like everything I've ever wanted in my fiction, and so much more. It's like if bizarro and fantasy met literary for a twisted menage a trois. I was captivated from the first five minutes, and didn't want to pause the audio to even shower. It was so, so good.

David and Micheal stood looking down over Garrison Oaks. Michael, like his cougars around him, was naked. David wore an Israeli Army flak jacket and a lavender tutu, crusty with blood. The flak jacket was his. The tutu was from the closet of Mrs. McGillicutty's son.

Until this book, this author wrote computer tech manuals. Then - he came out with this perfect work. I'm never one to reread books, but I will this one. I want to visit this fantastic world again and again and live in it even after the sun blinks out.
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