What. A. Ride.
I was recommended this book by one of my favorite authors on Twitter, so I went in expecting it to be a dark narrative, with plenty of fantastical elements, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I found myself going, “Wow. WOW.” as I read, particularly as the unfolding plot grew larger and larger. I am rarely caught off guard by plot twists and even though part of me suspected where the story was headed, when it did drop, it was still enough to have me needing to sit down.
The story focuses on a group of “siblings” who were raised by a mysterious, awful man who is heavily implied to be the current God at the top of the celestial food chain. He earned his power through fire and blood, and now, his adopted librarian “children” follow this path when he goes mysteriously missing. Each have their own “catalog” or skill set, forbidden to learn each other’s work, but the rules are now off the table. Carolyn, a master of languages, appears early on to have secrets, but by the time we learn the depth of them, it feels like we’re just as trapped as the poor human civilians who get dragged (all too violently) into the mayhem.
Fantastic world building, all grown at a pace that’s both insidious and well-timed. The cast are vibrant and monstrous, as well as suitably sympathetic. I was surprised by the inclusion of the other point of view characters who are not part of the librarian cast, but their presence is needed, I thought, to carry Carolyn’s own evolution from humble observer to a creature fueled by revenge. As someone who is dabbling in a fantasy novel where the “real” world meets the fantastical, I did enjoy the twists some of these civilians brought to the table. The inclusion of, you know, the American government, was an interesting choice for this genre, but realistic amid all the wonderfully weird things going on.
I did feel like the ending wrapped up a little too easily–but at the same time, I can’t imagine it going any different. Sometimes it’s not about a happy ending as much as the right ending.