The Library of the Unwritten by: A.J. Hackwith

In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.

Content Warnings: Murder, self-harm, bullying, suicidal thoughts, and mention of suicide.

I stumbled on the summary of this book late last spring and was fascinated with the idea. Sadly when it was gifted to me, for my birthday in July, I let it sit on my shelf unread until a few days ago. Wanting to read something somewhat different, but still, within the Fantasy genre, I decided to finally pick it up and dive in…and it did not disappoint.

This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before and I enjoyed every second of it! We follow four different perspectives as we journey through this book.

First, we meet Claire the current head librarian of the Unwritten Library who is very good at her job and keeps everything running as efficiently as she can. Claire has been the head Librarian for over thirty years and is rumored to have an entire wing dedicated to books she left unwritten during her time as a human.

We then meet Leto, a junior demon, who has been tasked with informing Claire of a runaway, unwritten, story that she’s been tasked to find and return. Leto is new to his position and is shocked when Claire informs him he’ll be traveling along with her to Earth to hunt down the runaway story.

Ramiel an angel and fallen Watcher is just going about his normal business of standing at the gates of Heaven and processing new souls when he’s met with a soul that’s carrying a suspicious scrap of paper, that seems to hold unknown power. When the soul informs him it’s a piece of the long-lost Devil’s Bible Ramiel finds himself tasked with hunting the rest of the book down. Having been barred from crossing the Gates of Heaven, since he sided with Lucifer before the War, he’s given the idea that he could reclaim his rightful place, and finally go home, if he completes his mission to collect the Devil’s Bible.

Brevity, Claire’s assistant and junior librarian, who also happens to be a former Muse, is being trained to someday take over the role of Head Librarian. No one knows exactly what causes Head Librarians to retire, or where exactly they all go, but there’s always someone training to take over whenever that happens. The longer Brevity trains under Claire she feels like she’s able to see past the strict and seemingly uncaring, exterior Claire presents to a kind and fearless person.

I won’t lie this book did take about a hundred, to a hundred and fifty, pages to finally feel firmly invested in the adventure. The lore I found deeply fascinating and the more I got to know the characters, through the different perspectives, then I found myself connecting and empathizing with them. This book is so fascinating and I can’t wait to read the other two books to see what journey, and adventure, we go on next!

If you’re looking for a unique fantasy that involved a library, heaven, hell, demons, humans, angels, and book characters brought to life…I highly suggest picking up this book and diving in!

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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