Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life....
It was no secret that journalist Jack Sparks had been researching the occult for his new book. No stranger to controversy, he'd already triggered a Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed....
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year, and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind - she spends the winter nights....
Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The town's still got a video store, for God's sake. So why doesn't Eli Teague want to leave? Find out....
The Strange Bird is a new kind of creature, built in a laboratory - she is part bird, part human, part many other things. But now the lab in which she was created is under siege....
Teddy Telemachus is a charming con man with a gift for sleight of hand and some shady associates. In need of cash, he tricks his way into a classified government study....
In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing....
Blackwater is the saga of a small town, Perdido, Alabama, and Elinor Dammert, the stranger who arrives there under mysterious circumstances on Easter Sunday, 1919....
In Borne a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments....
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From best-selling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller....
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut....
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around - and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly....
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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 can Carolyn 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.
Would you listen to Library at Mount Char again? Why?
I would. In fact, I've listened to it twice already. I found the story to be gripping and fresh. Listening to it the second time made me appreciate all the subtle clues that the author has left for us to discover, and gave my second listen a different feel than the first one. I also found the narrator to be suitable in her portrayal of the various characters, though I must say that she makes extensive use of vocal fry (think bedroom voice) and that might annoy some people. I was ok with it though, I found it to be charming.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Library at Mount Char?
Well I won't be giving away any spoilers here but basically the novel was one hell of a ride. The central point of the story is the 12 Librarians search for Father, an almost omnipotent, omniscient being who "adopted" them when they were young and raised them, and taught them many things. These things vary among the 12, as each has a domain that is all his/her own to learn and master.
Which character – as performed by Hillary Huber – was your favorite?
The main character, Carolyn's, of course. Her portrayal is spot on, imbuing Carolyn with the necessary emotion (or lack thereof) that the story demanded. Again, she does make use of vocal fry though so take that into account.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
A word of caution to the squeamish. This is a violent and gory book. Some might say that the author made it too violent and over-the-top but I disagree. The scenes of violence are all brutal and described in minute, gory details but it never seems like it was done to excess. Aside from the violence, there are also scenes that might disturb more sensitive sensibilities like talking decapitated heads, repeated suicides, and others. For me, all this was necessary for the reader's/listener's understanding of the world and the characters that Scott Hawkins has created. The world of the Pelapi is dangerous and brutal, and it deserved to be shown as such.
Any additional comments?
If you are a fan of strange stories, stories with preternatural elements, stories with lots of mystery and a satisfying conclusion, give The Library of Mount Char a try.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful
I was looking forward to this book, due to the reviews. I was told it was dark and gory. Almost every review said that. Well, if you have been reading Konrath, Ketchum, Crouch, Sigler or Cutter, don't switch to this. There is gore, but no suspense. The story is all over the place. It is weird and different, but has no consistency. It jumps back and forth in time, has some interesting concepts, but it just does not gel.
The author invents his own society and religion. In doing so he comes up with some new vocabulary. Unfortunately the words sound like made up kindergarten words. KAKA, NOBANUNKA, PALOPY AND RESAK IREEL to name a few.
Save your credit for one of the authors above or Stephen King.
34 of 40 people found this review helpful
One of the hallmarks of a good book is continuing to think about it even after the pages are closed. Reading other peoples' reviews made me concerned that it would be gory or overtly disturbing. I didn't find that to be the case with Mount Char. There was one part that was a bit disquieting for me, but it was resolved in the end.
At its heart, this is a story about trauma and recovery. I've worked with many individuals with complex trauma, and the storyline seemed to be a very compelling narrative that was psychologically sound, albeit on a scale of mythological proportions. I like that the story isn't just about revenge, but its antithesis. The golden bull is one of the most memorable parts of the story and is such a catalyst of insight for and about the characters in the story and human beings in general.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
(Warning: Don't read this book if you have an aversion to gore...there is a healthy dose throughout.)
Wow...this book was captivating! It's one that I will think of often for the rest of my life.
The ending left open the possibility of a sequel, and I would love to see maybe a series of shorter length adventures (as opposed to something of the same magnitude as this one) involving the trio of characters from the end of the book (and maybe reviving some of the others).
Hillary Huber did an outstanding job with the range of character's voices...I could always tell who was speaking. And she nailed everyone's personalities, too.
Kudos and thank you, Scott Hawkins!
14 of 16 people found this review helpful
even after listening to this story for Lord knows how many hours I'm still not sure what to think of it. is a rambling convoluted tale that doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever and yes there are parts that are quite interesting if you can get around that. I'm not sure I would recommend spending money on it but if you have free credits it might be worth a listen
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The overall story is good but you don't really get sucked in until about the halfway mark.
Yes there are gods and some twists but it is in no way similar to American Gods.
First, the mythology of this book is entirely new not subtley based on age-old "real" mythology. That is both the strength and weakness of this book.
And maybe not a weakness; being vague about a lot of points let's the reader fill in the blanks themselves. ultimately it was a satisfying read, but again please don't compare it to American Gods. Even if you don't like it much yourself, there is a reason why there are college courses based on it and why it keeps coming back decade after decade.
Back to this book; overall it was great but I question the strategy of taking nearly the first half to really get into the meat of it. It reminds me of first year graduate students who haven't yet learned the value of being concise.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Wow. Seriously, people are not exaggerating when they say this story is dark. It includes some of the ugliest ways I've ever heard of people being tortured or murdered. And for most of the story, the main character is hard to sympathize with, despite knowing what she went through. She blatantly manipulates and hurts everyone around her, and causes the deaths of dozens of people, and even more animals, all without a hint of regret. I can understand why this story isn't for a lot of people, and I'm really not sure who I would recommend it to, for fear that they would then hate me.
Aside from all that, for awhile it seemed like the climax was really about 2/3 of the way through the book, with the remaining ~5 hours being an extended epilogue. It wasn't, though. True, most of the action was done, but that time was needed for Carolyn to begin to let go of her hatred and make things better. I still didn't buy her making peace with Father, given what she learns about his relationship to David, but it does end on an optimistic note.
On the plus side, this book is unlike any I've encountered before, and that's refreshing in the fantasy genre, where so many stories are just variations on a theme. And Hawkins definitely went all in, in pursuit of darkness. Also, Hillary Huber did a fantastic job with the narration.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
I bought this book before leaving for vacation. I had a six hour flight looming before me and I wanted something interesting to read/listen to and to help pass the time. This definitely held my interest and kept me reading/listening throughout the flight.
This is one of those books that you read and then continue to think about long after you have closed the book or shut off the audio. I am still thinking about it and still getting things straight in my head. I enjoyed the book but at the same time, I felt like the first half of the book was totally different from the second half of the book. It almost felt like two authors got together, decided on a concept, each wrote their half of the book and then put them together and called it a novel. The girl we meet at the beginning and then that same girl at the end of the book are light years apart. I must admit that threw me a little as it didn't show her growth and progression as much as just saying this is how it started and boom......here is reality now.
The idea behind the book was intriguing and I am still having internal conversations with myself over the meaning and possibilities that the story suggests. I would recommend this book but beware there are several squeamish inducing things along the way and death and dying is prevalent. If you like books that are not cookie-cutter, then this is a good place to start. I will follow this author to see if there are additional non-cookie-cutter books to make me think.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Library at Mount Char in three words, what would they be?
Philosophical, fast-paced, horror.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Carolyn is my favorite, probably because most of the novel is told through her perspective. It's very interesting that so much is from her POV and yet there is still a lot about her that is a mystery to the reader. In some ways this book is a character study of a very disturbed person, that becomes weirdly relatable by the end of the novel. Steve was also a great character, as someone who is more grounded in normal reality, he provides a "way in" to parts of the story. Erwin is just the best. He provides some needed (dark) comic relief throughout the novel.
What about Hillary Huber’s performance did you like?
She did a good job differentiating character voices. She also did some very good subtle work with tone and inflection when reading the different character's thoughts.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes. I had a tough time putting this down and ended up listening to it over four nights.
Any additional comments?
The Library at Mount Char is a story that grows larger the deeper you get into it. As events speed up, bigger questions get asked. I really was engaged with this aspect of the book, that it started as sort of a microcosm of Carolyn's character, and ended up speculating on much grander themes. I think it's fair to say that The Library asks more questions than it seeks to answer. Certainly, I think the author's main goal was to entertain, and the novel does not take itself too seriously. I really enjoyed mulling over the various philosophical problems presented on my own terms, rather than being spoon-fed an agenda. I simply loved the plot of this story. I am firmly a fan of horror, action, and suspense. Make no mistake, this is a graphically violent book. If that's not your cup of tea, then perhaps leave this one alone. If thrilling action and intense horror sound like a good time to you, then by all means listen to this book. I found the narrative to be very fast-paced and engaging. There are plenty of outlandish sets and characters that keep everything moving very quickly! I would definitely read more from this author.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
The plot was quite creative. It kept me engaged from beginning to end.
But it was DARK. Very creepy, twisted, disturbing. I generally don't shy away from macabre story lines, but this one was just too violent. I don't think it was worth the payoff in the end.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful