“Stories can die. Of course they can. Ask any author who’s had an idea wither in their head, fail to thrive and bear fruit. Or a book that spoke to you as a child but upon revisiting it was silent and empty. Stories can die from neglect, from abuse, from rot. Even war, as Shakespeare warned, can turn books to graves. We seek to preserve the books, of course. But we forget the flip side of that duty: treasure what we have. Honor the stories that speak to you, that give you something you need to keep going. Cherish stories while they are here. There’s a reason the unwritten live on something as fragile as paper.”
― A.J. Hackwith, The Library of the Unwritten
Books that aren’t finished by their authors live in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell. A.J. Hackwith examines this concept in the first book in the Hell’s Library series entitled The Library of the Unwritten. I found this title to be fascinating, but the beginning felt a bit like I was being dropped into a new world with no idea of what was happening. After a couple chapters, I was fully acclimated and ready to follow the story.
Claire, the Head Librarian in the Unwritten Wing in Hell, has massive responsibilities. This library is a neutral zone where all stories that are not finished by their authors come to live. Demons and others in Hell yearn to possess the potential that resides in those items, making the Unwritten Wing in constant need of safe-guarding. In addition to normal library duties like repairing and organizing books, Claire must also keep a watchful eye on restless stories who materialize characters out of their books and into the world. Every once in a while, a character escapes the library, forcing Claire and her assistant to track them down. Such a calamity has occurred: Hero has broken out of his book and is on the hunt for his author. Claire, her assistant and the former muse Brevity, and a demon messenger named Leto are Earth-bound to track down Hero before he gets into any trouble.
Claire and her sidekicks should be in for a very simple retrieval, but of course, their best laid plans result in a mess. Ramiel, a terrifying angel, attacks them under the belief that they have possession of the Devil’s Bible. That text is an immensely powerful weapon of which Heaven and Hell are desperate to possess. Wars have been started over far less. Claire, Brevity, and Leto have a new mission: find the Devil’s Bible before disaster strikes. Will they succeed? They certainly hope so as the fates of Heaven, Hell, and Earth all rest in the balance.
Hell’s Library series
- The Library of the Unwritten (2019)
- The Archive of the Forgotten (2020)
- The God of Lost Words (2021)