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Hell's Library #2

The Archive of the Forgotten

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In the second installment of this richly imagined fantasy adventure series, a new threat from within the Library could destroy those who depend upon it the most.

The Library of the Unwritten in Hell was saved from total devastation, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell--and from its own librarians.

Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen.

353 pages, Paperback

First published October 6, 2020

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About the author

A.J. Hackwith

8 books1,212 followers
A. J. Hackwith is (almost) certainly not an ink witch in a hoodie. She's a queer writer of fantasy and science fiction living in the Pacific Northwest, and writes sci-fi romance as Ada Harper. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise writer's workshop and her work appears in Uncanny Magazine and assorted anthologies. Summon A.J. at your own peril with an arcane circle of fountain pens and classic RPGs, or you can find her on Twitter and other dark corners of the Internet.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 740 reviews
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews152k followers
August 18, 2022
October is the perfect month to retreat back into the story of runaway books, fallen angels, disgraced former librarians, and a library of arcane horrors.
Profile Image for Michelle F.
232 reviews68 followers
February 3, 2022
“There was a reason people read in corners. It was a room made of one. Spine curved, arms bracketed, and the remaining walls made of the reassuring weight of a book. A self-constructed universe, for as long as you needed it. Or as long as the story lasted.”

Much like the first book in this series about Hell's Library, The Archive of the Forgotten has wonderful individual elements. Marvelous setting, flawed protagonists, astute reflection, intriguing possibility and genuinely interesting relationships...but the plot that threads it all together tends to get frayed in the weaving.

I enjoyed the opening book, but I liked this volume more, overall. My feeling of the first book was that it tried to do too much in too many places with too many characters in a story that was too small to let some of the finer details breathe. Archive... went in the other direction. The cast has narrowed noticeably, the three perspective storylines run intimately parallel, and even the number of locals has been reduced. This ultimately makes more space for characterization and relationship building, which is the novel's best strength.

I still wish I knew so much more about the nature of the Library, and with a third volume concluding the series I can tell that some of my curiosities will never be satisfied.

I think I felt that the villain was a bit projected and not terribly fleshy, and some of the main character conflict bordered on melodrama. There was also a sense of middle-book syndrome here: the plot felt very much more like a vehicle than a story.

But although it was sometimes disappointing, it managed to maintain its appeal. The characters and the potential have engaged me enough to be excited to see how this all plays out.
Profile Image for Robin.
297 reviews1,279 followers
February 15, 2021
↠ 4 stars

We're back with our funky librarian gang, and I couldn't be more exited about it. The Archive of the Forgotten is the second book in the Hell's Library series, which I fell in love with earlier this summer. I really can't ask for more than a library in hell filled with all the unwritten stories in the world, and a librarian tasked with caring for them. For those of you who don't remember, characters can attempt to escape their stories and gain agency, as seen with our favorite disaster Hero. The librarian must hold these things in check, protecting the library and the books within.

Returning to the library after the events that concluded the first book, there was a lot that needed to be addressed that had not been previously. As with the first book, being back with these characters was so comforting to me. That was one of the things that really stood out to me while reading book one. I really loved the dynamics between the characters this time around. The first book, Library of the Unwritten, definitely created the foundation for the relationships that are developed over the course of the second book. Along with that is the continuation of the consequences from the final events, and how each character must step up to deal with them: Brevity now the head librarian, and Claire, demoted to the arcane wing. The addition of the new character: Probity the muse, was one I didn't care too much for. There were already so many problems that each character was dealing with, that adding another one into the mix just felt like the wrong thing to do. Not to say that the issues arising from her presence were not entertaining, but it was just the cherry on top of the cake of problems to deal with. Not the most important thing, and yet it drew attention away from the larger issues. This is absolutely the book that is simply there to connect the first and third book, and I can already tell the storyline is headed in an exiting direction. Looking forward to reading more soon.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,500 reviews2,315 followers
September 27, 2021
The Archive of the Forgotten
(Hell's Library #2)
by A.J. Hackwith
This continues the story where the other one left off but immediately we have a new threat. But despite the immediate threat the pace of the first part of the book is so slow! I almost gave up even though it was interesting, if it doesn't seem to move....well, you feel me, right? But the end picked up. I loved the characters, except the grumpy new one.
Profile Image for Geonn Cannon.
Author 102 books151 followers
October 27, 2020
I wish I was giving this a much higher score. I loved the first one, but this is a very generous three-star. I was nowhere near as engaged with any of the stories in this book. It felt like three separate short stories, each one focusing on a different main character, tied together by a thin thread, and none of them felt substantial enough for a full novel. I also really, really disliked the narrator's voice. Narrating was fine, but the voices she gave to Brevity and Probity were so cutesy and childish that I found them grating by the end. Definitely a disappointment compared to the first book, but I'm still hopeful for a potential third. I just may skip the audio version if it's the same narrator.
Profile Image for rebecca.
524 reviews21 followers
December 31, 2020
the library of the unwritten is one of my all time favourites but the sequel is...not.

there are many things i like about this book in theory (like the ink plot and a certain coupling) but the execution wasn't good.

claire's plot is essentially a repeat of the first book in terms of what she learns, but not as well done and at times a little over-indulgent. i get characters need to have conflict otherwise its gonna be a pretty uneventful book but the conflict between claire and brevity didn't reveal anything new about the characters to me. brevity's plotline made her seem beyond naive

i'm a big greek mythology nerd and was excited to see elysium. that section of the book ended up feeling so dry & really dragged. the world building overall suffered in this instalment.

that's what it comes down to for me. the ideas and relationships i was theoretically interested in but the execution was poor. i'm hoping this is just a case of second book syndrome and the third will deliver. otherwise i'm gonna have to pretend the first book was a standalone lol. all that said, there are still quite a few hidden gems in hackwith's writing.
Profile Image for Tammie.
317 reviews563 followers
October 28, 2021
10/27/21 reread: such a comfort read and it literally warms my cold dead heart 🥺😭

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkeley Publishing Group for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ahhhh where do I start?? I loved the first book, and the sequel was just as good as the first book. We pick up where The Library of the Unwritten left off, and our characters are learning how to deal with the choices and mistakes they made in book 1. I said it in my review of the first book and I'll say it again here - I don't think this is the most plot-driven novel. If you are someone who really needs more than just a basic plotline to drive the story forward, I'm not sure this book would be for you. That being said, if you are a character-driven reader like me, I really think you'd love this book and this series. Hackwith's character work is excellent, and she really makes you feel for every single one of our main characters.

I was a little worried going into the second book since one of my favourite characters from book 1 wasn't going to be in it, but my worries were unfounded because I honestly just fell in love with everyone else in the group even more. The romance in this book was impeccable - there was just so much banter and flirting, and even hints at a polyamorous relationship, which I absolutely loved.

My only real negative would be that the plot is rather simplistic (you're not really getting any sub-plots here), and that the stakes are not as high as I typically like them. That being said, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves books and stories. This series really makes you rethink the relationship between the story, book, reader, and author, and it honestly kind of feels like a huge love letter to books in general. I'm not sure if there's going to be a book 3 based on the ending (it could go either way), but I really hope there will be another sequel!
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,829 reviews358 followers
November 30, 2020
Misunderstandings are part of life. Especially when you are dealing with family. And like most urban fantasies, Hell's Library involves a chosen family, centred around the former librarian, Claire. But Claire is now the Arcanist in charge of Hell's archives, the Muse Brevity has been promoted to Librarian, and each has an assistant: the former book character Hero in the Library and fallen angel Ramiel in the Archives.

All of these changes happened during a turbulent period (see book one) and it is the supernatural Library that chooses these things. Claire is hurt to be shifted from her librarian position and isolates herself. How many families do you know where this happens? Someone's feelings are hurt and they withdraw from family gatherings and communication. It's difficult for everyone, there's a lot of anger, and nothing gets resolved.

So when a huge pool of Ink appears in the Archives, a result of destruction of books (see book one), it would make sense to collaborate. However Claire still isn't willing to talk. She was proud of her work and still isn't ready to admit to her mistakes. Pride cometh before a fall, and Claire gets infected with this magical ink. Brevity is having her own issues, as her sister Muse Probity has come to “support" her. Or is that Probity's true purpose?

I'm rating this as 4 stars, the same as book 1, but it's maybe truly 3.8 stars. I liked it just a titch less, but it was still very good. The first installment had the excellent tag line, “Raise Hell. Join the Library.” That's pretty hard to beat.

Cross posted at my blog:

Profile Image for Maja Ingrid.
445 reviews125 followers
October 19, 2020
4,5 but rounded up to 5

Even though I started it on Friday, and today is Monday, it technically only took me two days to read this one, since Friday I only read 20 pages and nothing Saturday, 190-ish yesterday and the rest today. Haven't had the opportunity to devour a book like this in a while and honestly my soul is thriving right now.

If you love books, this series is for you.
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews344 followers
September 30, 2020
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Sarah Campsall

The Archive of The Forgotten is the second instalment in AJ Hackwith’s Hell’s Library trilogy. If you haven’t read the first, The Library of The Unwritten, then you’ll want to read that one first! If you have a love of books, and enjoy fantasies, myths, the underworld, and thoughtful stories, then I highly recommend this imaginative new series.

The Archive of The Forgotten picks up where The Library of The Unwritten ended. It deals with the consequences of the battle to protect the library, whilst facing a new threat. Whilst the two books both contain their own main plot, The Archive of The Forgotten moves past the events of the previous book and it focuses on the new balance of relationships between the characters, and what the changes mean for them. I think I found the first part of the book slower than its predecessor because I spent some time picking up the pieces, but it soon ramped up. It was really good to spend more time with the characters that I’d come to know, and A.J Hackwith’s writing is just as beautiful as before. The Archive of The Forgotten still has the inventive worlds and wonderful prose that make it just as captivating as before.

Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily
Profile Image for Ric.
938 reviews112 followers
July 16, 2021
The first book in this series was fantastic, so I had very high hopes for the sequel. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to them at all, this was probably right about 2.5 stars but I’m rounding up for the moment.

Without spoiling too much, I thought that the plot was actually pretty intriguing. However, the characters went off and did their own things for this one as opposed to the teamwork used in the first one. Which made it so much worse, because part of the reason I enjoyed The Library of the Unwritten so much was because of the dynamics of their group. But Brevity and Claire’s falling out between books was dumb, and the romance that happened in this book wasn’t my favorite because it really came out of nowhere and didn’t develop at all. The villain reveal was also super obvious. Not my favorite book of the year at all.
Profile Image for Abby Salter.
300 reviews329 followers
February 8, 2021
Thank you Netgalley for an arc of this book.
2.5 stars.

I am so disappointed! I absolutely loved The Library of the Unwritten; it was one of my favourite books of 2020. Unfortunately The Archive of the Forgotten did not live up to my expectations and I was really close to DNFing at the 40% mark.

I found the first half of this book quite clunky and slow paced. The plot lines all felt disjointed with a tenuous central thread bringing them together.
The second half of the book is much better paced and the action really ramped up but it could not make up for the first half.

Additionally there was a line in the book which brought me out of the story where the character's skin has been stained by ink.
"She hoped she still had fingerprints; it was rather hard to tell under all the black"
It does not matter what colour your skin is, you still have fingerprints.

Unfortunately I feel as though The Library of the Unwritten should have been a standalone and this continuation of the plot was somewhat unnecessary and lacking the magic from book 1. So I don't think I will continue with the series.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,862 reviews1,897 followers
February 12, 2022
Real Rating: 2.5* of five, rounded down out of outraged denial of delight (aka "literary blue balls")

I think there should be some sort of penalty for a writer who can do this:
“They burn them first, the stories. Humans always come for the stories first. It’s their warm-up, before they start burning other humans. It’s their first form of control, to burn the libraries, to burn the books, to burn the archives of a culture. Humans are the stories they tell. If you want to destroy your enemy, destroy their stories. Even if the people survive, it will be as if they never existed at all.”

...not getting all the institutional support and community funding necessary to find a mentor to teach them to find a plot and work it into prose that pithy and aperçu-able.

I am beyond bitter that this societal failure has deprived me of what was all set to be a superlative read in a practically infinitely expandable I.P. I went through the quotes attributed to this title and wept in frustration that I simply could not invest in the actual story deeply enough to cause me to stay up past my bedtime devouring it.
Profile Image for Geertje ~ witchybookmom.
308 reviews20 followers
April 21, 2021
I loved the first book so much, but this one was a bit of a let down for me.

The plot and characters didn't pull me in and it didn't make a lot of sense to me.
I had to put in a lot of effort just to keep focussed and not wander off with my thoughts.
Profile Image for Fraser Simons.
Author 9 books240 followers
October 25, 2022
Continues to be pretty fun brain Candy with an interesting idea: The Library of the Unwritten being located in hell, as it’s a kind of sin/torture/shame, etc.—as well as books that are consigned to the hell of being published, but forgotten for all time. A former librarian, a current one (who used to be a muse), a fallen Angel, and a villain named hero from a book with “issues” (subsequently giving him issues), all form the core cast dealing with ongoing issues happening to this library.

This go around there’s some interesting revelations and complications. Enough that I think I’ll polish off the last book at some point, but it remains as fun brain Candy I read for the ideas, rather than the characters and overarching plot. The author is a lot more invested in character interactions than I am, leaving me hanging with more things to happen, though plenty does happen. It just doesn’t feel like that sometimes.
Profile Image for Grüffeline.
1,045 reviews100 followers
January 21, 2021
Books were a kind of magic everywhere.

This is a love letter to books and chosen families which alone makes this a treasure. But put together with the extraordinary writing and characters that touch the reader with finding themselves, finding their way, their struggle...
Especially Hero and Ramiel (do I ship? HELL YEAH!) are two fluffballs who deserves every good thing that comes their way. Claire and Brev were more likeable in the first book, but they made some progress towards the ending that went in the right direction. I loathed Probity from the very first appearance.
The story was a bit odd at times but I still really enjoyed this and I'll be back for more. Just let me know when and where!
Profile Image for Elentarri.
1,449 reviews6 followers
November 5, 2022

1. The Library of the Unwritten

2. The Archive of the Forgotten

Another enjoyable installment of Hell's Library. This time there is a mystery to solve - or more than one - involving mysterious ink and the nature of books. The novel is a slow burner, with the pace picking up after about halfway. I loved the character dynamics, specifically how their relationships didn't always run smoothly. On the other hand, the villain was quite obvious from the first appearance, and the mini-romance was a bit sudden. It's best to read the Library of the Unwritten first to get a better idea of the world building, characters, and the activities that resulted in the situation the characters find themselves in the Archive of the Forgotten.

3. The God of Lost Words

Profile Image for Val.
268 reviews53 followers
February 25, 2021
So far, 2021 has been a year of forgettable, underwhelming reads. Worse than that, I started to slowly spiral down into a deep, hateful reading slump. And then, like the Sun after a thunderstorm, like an oasis in the middle of the desert, like the brightest star through a telescope, the sequel to one of my favorite books on Earth finally dropped into my lap and single-handedly saved me from utter despair.

Where should I even begin?

Unlike other series, I wasn't really afraid of starting this second book - I had just gone through too many mediocre reads to even be scared of disappointment. So I just jumped into this book with some expectations, but not too many. I had hopes it would be good: what I didn't expect was the utter rollercoaster of emotion that this book was, exactly like the first one. Long story short This book is FAN-TAS-TIC.

The plot is absolutely thrilling and original: I have never seen an intrigue pick up so fast and so easily. In the matter of a few pages, the story takes flight and soars gracefully in a tempest of suspense and gripping anxiety. What I particularly loved about this sequel was how it seemed to smoothly flow directly from the plot of the first book, with just as many quests and impossible after-worlds, but adding exciting new dynamics and themes that hadn't been explored before. I'm just utterly amazed at how well the author constructed her story - everything is surprising but it all makes sense in the end. Little subplots slowly evolve until they come together in an impeccable way that will make you go, "OH. CLEVER!" out loud. The fact so many mythologies merge together in such a smart, coherent away still blows my mind away.

The writing style still completely blew me away. A.J.Hackwith just has a very particular way to use the English language, twisting it into something ethereal and infused with magic and longing. Every single sentence of this book is a dream burnt onto paper, and more importantly - it feels effortless. It has nothing to do with the big "adult" books where you can clearly see the author wanted to show everyone how many words they knew, choosing incomprehensible metaphors and lengthy sentences over beauty and most of all, clarity. No, here, the story is incredibly easy to follow, in the sense that it is impeccably constructed through precise, gorgeous prose, perfect chapter length and excellent use of multiple points of views (which are usually the bane of my existence -but not with this series, not ever.)

Finally, it would be a shame if I didn't mention the characters. Just thinking about them both makes me want to wail and clutch my chest in warm tenderness. Characters are, to me, one of the most important parts of a story: they can transform it, make it better, turn it into an epic journey of emotion if it struggles to make sense on its own (although it's not the case here). Unfortunately, it's extremely hard for me to find characters I truly like in books, and I rarely care for them. But HERE!
Each of them is so incredibly interesting, and the fact you get their FOUR points of view in a perfect narrative that flows smoothly together makes it even better. This is a story of pain and regret, of longing for meaning and home, of connections between people so incredibly different yet so similar in their own ways - and the characters embody that perfectly.

Each of their stories touched me in a particular manner: Claire's broke my heart because she's the complex, imperfect hero I always needed - and she feels so utterly human. Brevity's arc was one of the most interesting between the two books, as she learns to stand for herself and acknowledge the wrong that's been done to her. Hero - oh my god, Hero - absolutely wrenched my soul away, and I could barely bear to see him jump right into the maws of danger to prove he was worth something. His quest for identity and belonging is one of the most tragic I've ever seen, and his characters just contain multitudes of depth and complexity. And of course there's Ramiel. He's the cold-looking, actual sweetheart character I always fall for, but better. He's the reassuring, logical yet so profoundly human presence that anchors the characters - and the reader. I LOVE him.

In the same manner, the dynamics between all those characters made me wail in agony into my pillow. First of all, because I'm always a sucker for found-family tropes, but also because they feel so real. I think about this cast of misfits, these castways that are both catastrophes and fire-hearted legends, and I can just feel the web of love and devotion between them. Each relationship just made me ache because they were so well-thought, and so well-developped. It was especially the case for the new duo made up by Hero and Ramiel, which I enjoyed tremendously (that's the biggest understatement of the year).

So yes, this was without a second thought one of the best things I've ever read in my life. Let me be crystal clear: I'm not exaggerating, not one bit. This series is one of the most fascinating, magical and diverse stories I've ever come across, and I'm truly blessing whatever put it in my way. It's just fantastic.
Profile Image for S.R. Harris.
674 reviews30 followers
October 9, 2022
3.5 stars.

I am a fan of this trilogy. I found the concept to be really interesting and I love the characters.

My issue with this was that the villain was very obvious, and I didn't like that she drew a wedge between our main characters so every time I read Brev's chapters, I hurried through them because I hated that Brev was being used by someone she trusted.

Hero and Rami stole the book, they were amazing and cute, and I do hope that we get more of their building relationship in the last book.

Profile Image for Chrissie.
937 reviews32 followers
October 19, 2020
"The purpose for stories is what readers will make of them. But the reason, the desperate need, is a splinter in the author alone. A good story gets under your skin, because that's where all good stories start. —Librarian Bjorn the Bard, 1313 CE"

The Archive of the Forgotten picks up not long after the close of the first book, The Library of the Unwritten. And as far as sequels go, this one was simply wonderful to read. Never did it feel stretched too far or too thin in order to create a sequel that just isn't there. While the story itself contained and created solely for this book was a little less solidified it felt so incredibly organic and essential because really the focus of this story is about found families and change - and boy, does that speak to me.

This book really begins what I hope will be a fascinating series that dives deeper and delves more into discovering the secrets of Hell's Library alongside Claire, former librarian of the Unwritten Wing, whose own apprenticeship was cut short, and current curator for the Arcane Wing — and her equally quest-worthy companions: Brevity, current librarian and former muse; Ramiel, fallen Watcher and currently choosing to act as Claire's assistant; and Hero, a book character from the Unwritten Wing and assistant librarian to Brevity.

What was so organically wonderful about this book was the continuation from the first book that seemed so obvious without being predictable at all. Oh, there's a pool of ink leftover from the destroyed books...and it's behaving strangely...calling to characters and attracting muses.... Such a natural extension to the travesty that occurred within the Library's walls during the climax of the last book. And the understandable rift that would develop between Claire and Brevity — lack of communication of feelings being the number one reason such things happen — and obviously Claire would have feelings about the Library's rejection of her and displacement into the Arcane Wing. Humans are complicated — a point Hackwith drives home again and again through different characters, namely the ones who are not human — but that's what makes creation (stories and songs and art and life) possible.

Hackwith has a truly brilliant handle on the world she has created — the lower level Library and all the abstract ways it is interconnected to other realms and other ideas — alongside the characters she has drawn up and called upon again. Her books feel like an homage to the creation process and authors and their books in general, and obviously with the loveliest of words.
September 3, 2020
I absolutely loved A.J. Hackwith’s The Library of the Unwritten published last year and have been waiting for its sequel since!
I’m thrilled that The Archive of the Forgotten is a solid sequel following Hell’s former and current librarians, Claire and Brevity. Readers witness the aftermath of the loss of hundreds of stories that happened at the end of book one and the struggle of Claire and Brevity awkwardly adjusting to their new roles in the Library and Arcane Wing.

When Claire is “infected” with a strange leaking ink, she realizes the Library has secrets its kept from its librarians and even Hell may not know.
The relationship between Claire and Brevity is already strained under their new roles and the emotional upheaval of the Library’s losses. It’s further tested when they cannot agree on how to deal with the powerful ink. The muse Probity arrives to advise Brevity while the angel Rami and the mischievous character Hero seek answers on behalf of Claire by traveling to other realms.

I adore the log entries from former librarians throughout history; they are thoughtful and often humorous with insight into the past that readers are eager to learn more about. Another good vs. evil story, we are one step closer to understanding the true purpose of the Library and the fate of its occupants!

I recommend this highly original series to readers who enjoy sci-fi / fantasy and books about books. (Definitely read the series in order; if you jump in anywhere else than the beginning you won’t understand what’s happening)

Thanks to Ace Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Archive of the Forgotten is scheduled for release on October 6, 2020.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Tim Hicks.
1,473 reviews116 followers
November 18, 2020
Meh. Worth reading but unmemorable.

It soon became clear that this was going to be a Bonding book with a Bad Character Trying To Tear Them Apart.

I got frustrated with book 1 when they couldn't see that Anansi, or Anusol -- whatever the Hell (heh) his name was -- was a Bad Guy. This time we get Probity, who fell just short of having flashing LED lights all over her saying "Don't Turn Your Back On Me, I am Nasty."

Rami has turned into Ram Dass, like oh wow man, let's get in tune with the cosmic. But I liked him anyway.

Claire and Brevity have been thrown into the Pit of Omigawd Why Can't They Just TALK About It. I hate that pit.

Hero and Rami seem to be slightly channeling Good Omens, but that's a darn fine thing to be channeling. And yes, I noticed the Pratchett tribute of Walter liking cats. Well played.

Hero's journey is quite good, but he, and major other parts of the plot, depend too much on the flimsy plot device of the Ink, which is continually just too much of a stretch for me. In fantasy that I really like, the impossible is made possible lin a way the reader can temporarily accept as real, and for me the Ink fails that test.

All that said, I'm going to read #3 to see where this all goes.
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,021 reviews203 followers
March 11, 2022
Probably more of a 3.5 but I’m rounding up.

I put off this sequel for a long while despite quite enjoying the first book and this books about books subgenre being a favorite of mine. I guess it didn’t remain memorable once I finished it and I wasn’t that eager to pick up the second. But recently, I’ve been wanting to pick up some series which I abandoned and I decided to start with this one.

This book took a while for me to get into, maybe because it started off slow. The characters are also not handling the things that happened at the end of the first book very well, being prickly towards each other and just not communicating much. And while the whole plot is about finding out what the mystery ink from the destroyed unwritten books during the fight wants and what the ink can do, it’s ultimately about this group of people understanding what they mean to each other and come together. In between all this, we get to explore some very new and interesting places - the Dust Wing especially broke my heart due to the reason for its existence and as well as how it fares due to being essentially abandoned. We also get to read lots of sarcastic banter courtesy Hero who just loves giving out flippant remarks for everything instead of showing his insecure and vulnerable side; and ofcourse there’s quite a bit of contemplation about what a story means, what’s the line where ideas become stories and what it takes for that transformation, what’s the relationship between what’s written and it’s writer, and just general musings on life and souls.

Overall, it was enjoyable because anything to do with books just touches my heart. And a found family finding their way towards each other is another theme that’s a favorite. So it was a good read. But I guess the slow pace and too much of contemplation and not enough communication made me lose interest at times, and it took me a while to complete. However, it’s still a very unique series and I’ll try to get to the finale soon.
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