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The Library at Mount Char

by Scott Hawkins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,9792186,230 (4.04)98
Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy. 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.… (more)
  1. 51
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (sturlington)
    sturlington: Hawkins' style reminds me of Neil Gaiman.
  2. 30
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (TFleet)
    TFleet: Both novels are centered in the modern real world, but with a set of young adults who have magical powers. The novels are different takes on the question, "What would the modern real world be like if there were magic?"
  3. 11
    Lexicon by Max Barry (TFleet)
    TFleet: Both novels feature a female protagonist, whose ability with language is crucial, in a life-and-death struggle with antagonists of greater power.
  4. 00
    Duplex: A Novel by Kathryn Davis (KatyBee)
    KatyBee: Unnerving and strange, dark literary writing that follows no rules.
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» See also 98 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
DNF at 19%
  OphelieDepoortere | Jul 27, 2021 |
No shortage of action and blood and people dying.
I liked the lions best. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Jul 1, 2021 |
Couldn't finish. I have no idea what this is about after many many hours. I stopped wasting my time. ( )
  adnohr | Jun 27, 2021 |
She was crying. Steve didn't stop her, didn't try to say anything. There was nothing to say.

As the days and weeks and seasons wore on he found himself repeating this nothing, not wanting to. Gradually he came to understand that this particular nothing was all he could really say now. He chanted it to himself in cell blocks and dingy apartments, recited it like a litany, ripped himself to rags against the sharp and ugly poetry of it. It echoed down the grimy hallways and squandered moments of his life, the answer to every question, the lyric of all songs.


This is one of those books that I wish I could see objectively. Because when I walk into an opening chapter and find a linguist who spent a year living with deer, a man who still lives with cougars, a guy in a tutu who squeezes the heart's blood of his enemies into his hair, a woman who can raise the dead, and a woman licks the tears of disembodied heads, and all of it is as well written as this, I think, "Man, it's good to find a home." And you know? That probably isn't a normal reaction to a story like this. (Though looking at the average rating, I'm certainly not the only one who's had that reaction.) So I'm going to start this with a word of warning. This is a dark, brutal story. There is onscreen torture. Nearly onscreen rape. Onscreen child and animal abuse. Lots of people die. I read it smiling most of the way through. Your mileage may vary.

This is also one of those books I wish I'd gone into more blind. Maybe don't read so many reviews for this one. Maybe, if it has tickled your fancy at all, just find a copy and read it. (Not that I read any terrible spoilers, but we all have our favorite moments. Maybe it's best if you don't know what all of them are before you read them.)

Can I tickle your fancy? I'll try. This is a book that is really asking if we could ever have a relationship with such a thing as a god, if such a thing as a god could remember or understand such a thing as a human being. This is the story of the struggle for a throne, a throne made of all the knowledge. And it's a very funny story about a scholar who has a problem, and that problem happens to be a rampaging murderer in a tutu. Oh, and a regular guy who just won't quit being so regular. Some seriously bad celestial events. And her own withered heart. (OK, I lied; she has a lot of problems.) There are some weaknesses here, but none of them hit me while I was reading. If you want to read a fantastic fantasy that is not a cardboard cut out of every other fantasy you've ever read, give this one a try. You may find Mount Char is the dark, dark doorway to a dark, dark home just for you.

(Reviewed 3/26/16) ( )
2 vote amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
I couldn't put this book down so that was a definite five stars for me. If I had been able to stop for three seconds to think about the book, I might have been a little annoyed at some of the big plot holes and the sometimes uncomfortable way that Hawkins dealt with gender and sexuality. However this book was outrageously readable and I completely fell under its spell (even though magic's not real, Steve). ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hawkins, ScottAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brand, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huber, HillaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Folio SF (633)
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For my sweet-natured and extremely patient wife, Heather, with much love and many thanks.
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Carolyn, blood-drenched and barefoot, walked alone down the two-lane stretch of blacktop that the Americans called Highway 78.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy. 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.

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HighBridge Audio

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