by A.J. Hackwith
Series: Hell's Library #2
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Genre: Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Not as good as the first book for me. The first book was all about the creation of the team: Claire, Brevity, Hero and eventually, Ramiel. The librarian, the muse, the character, and the angel. There was a common enemy and books had spirit and fought. It was a good time.
This book is about pitting the team against each other and the books are silent, non-participants, except when a character or two throws some spite at Claire, who is now the Archivist of the Arcane after being ousted by Hell as Librarian of the Unwritten Wing. There’s also a tiny soupçon of insta-romance that’s completely unnecessary, extraneous to the plot entirely, and feels like it was done to make a statement rather than add anything to the story, as opposed to the small soupçon of romance that was central to the plot of the first book.
All in all, a lot less fun and more of a chore. A chore willingly done because all the fantastic love of books and stories is still here. The magic of books is still here; it’s just the characters that lost their magic this time around. I suppose I could say the division amongst friends in this book reminds me too much of the division amongst friends and family in real life that’s occurring everywhere, and that would be true, but really, I just don’t like to read about friends fighting.
I love the atmosphere of the book and the magic of the library and the arcane wing. I love the log entries at the start of each chapter, even if I don’t always agree with their philosophy or theology. I like the characters, and I’d like to love them and perhaps with the next book, or the one after that, I will, assuming I’ll want to read it when the time comes. But if the author is sharing a sliver of her soul with readers in this series, I can’t help but worry from hints here and there within the stories so far, that that sliver of soul has an axe to grind and I’m not looking to be a whetstone for my books, no matter how much I love their premise and their magic. So, 3.5 stars and a ‘we’ll see’.
I read this for 2021 Halloween Bingo. I originally had the Psych square, but Flipped/traded with Moonlight Reader (All the Vintage Ladies) for her Highway to Hell square, for which this is in all the ways perfect.