The Library at Mount Char

The Library at Mount Char

by Scott Hawkins


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“The work of the newest major talent in fantasy.” Wall Street Journal

“Compulsively readable, with the deep, resonant magic of a world where reality is up for grabs. Unputdownable.” —Boing Boing

Carloyn knows she’s a little bit…odd. But she figures that’s only natural when she’s spent her life locked away in an infinite Library, forced to study at the feet of the man who might be God. She’s seen her share of terrible things in those years, even died a few times herself.

Steve tried hard to be an ordinary guy, and he’s been doing a pretty good job at it—until Carolyn shows up in his life with a tempting offer, a pair of red rubber galoshes, and exactly $327,000. Soon, he finds himself swept up in a war waged on a scale he can barely comprehend, as powerful forces battle for control of the Library and the future of the universe itself.

Brilliantly plotted, blackly funny, truly epic in scope—and featuring a cast of characters that includes a tutu-clad psychopath, a malevolent iceberg, and a lion named after an atomic bomb—The Library at Mount Char is the year’s most ambitious and acclaimed fantasy debut and a ride like none you’ve ever been on before.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553418620
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 03/15/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 62,213
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

SCOTT HAWKINS works as a software engineer for Intel. He and his wife live in Atlanta, where they spend much of their time playing Olympic-caliber fetch with their large pack of foster dogs. THE LIBRARY AT MOUNT CHAR is his first novel.

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The Library at Mount Char 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Better than you think it will be. Strange,different, good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very creative and lots of action. I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend to anyone that likes action, but it not for the faint of heart.
Anonymous 5 days ago
FreeReadAndWrite 24 days ago
As someone who grew up in a religious household, I find the things authors do with religious fantasy to be fascinating. That’s the primary thing I held onto throughout this book, though to dismiss it as only religious fantasy would be to discount the strides it made with horror & philosophy as well. I followed the story fairly well; it does appear at first to jump around, but when you realize it’s more linear than you thought, it all falls into place. Everyone’s a bad guy, and also no one is. Quite a feat in storytelling ability, honestly, & an exciting read. I wish I had physically read this one instead of doing audio. The narrator was great, but my mind wanders more with audio & I feel this is one of those books where the sweet spots were in the details. It may have been a 5 if I’d read the hard copy.
ErynnF 11 months ago
The brief description is deceiving. It appears that it would be a pretty fantastical story set in the modern world, similar to that of Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. However, once you start reading, you find out very quickly it is nothing like that at all. It's gritty, dark, and coarse. Characters die; characters are dragged through a figurative hell; they're tortured in a variety of methods. This book is not, as someone else had commented, for the faint of heart. There's language, violence, action, and sex. This book is a gripping novel and will pull you along for the ride. You can easily spend the entire day reading this book, it latches onto you.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Weird story but too fascinating to put down. Wonder what is she next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it! Just keep your expectations low, it will be over way too soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put down this gory, fantasy novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story with interesting and fun characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scared at first, but once I got into it I loved it.
LydiainJoliet More than 1 year ago
That has to be one of the strangest books that I have ever read, it's like a Neil Gaiman book, yet written for adults. This being said it was a can't put it down book with plenty of surprising twists and turns. Father is missing and the 12 "children" who live with him as his apprentices in the Library have to find him. Although he is cruel and a man who has lived for eons making him oh so wise, it is more frightening to have him missing. The 12 "children" have all been trained in different ways, David is a merciless killer, Michael communicates with animals, Margaret dies, decays and then comes back to life, then we have our main character Carolyn who knows all languages including those known to the other regions of the universe. We add to that a reformed burglar named Steve and my favorite character, Erwin, a veteran who now works for Homeland Security and doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks and we have a great fantasy plot going on. Hawkins character development is outstanding, it made me care what happens to the characters which to me is the sign of a good read, he also explains so much but does it in such a suspenseful way, feeding us small bites until the end. He ended it with the expectation that there will be a sequel, I will be counting the days. And to think it's his first novel! This is a great fantasy/Apocalyptic/horror read, you won't regret reading this one. I gave it 5 stars, not something that I do too often.
19269684 More than 1 year ago
Curiouser and Curiouser... Scott Hawkins, the author of books like Apache and Linus, is known for book of instruction; they feed your mind on How-To's. In my opinion, I think Mr. Hawkins should stick to the informational department. His dive into fiction was well written and heavily thought out, but some of the weirdest stuff I've EVER had the pleasure of reading! I was lost from the very first chapter! From the very first page, you find yourself in a state of confusion. There's no set up to the story, you're just tossed into tumultuous waters, like a father cruelly teaching his child to swim. The story literally left you in a state of wonder till the end. Don't get me wrong, the story does explain some things, but not enough for me to ever say, "Oh wow, yeah... okay!" Nah, I never felt that way. I literally walked away from this book looking like Captain Picard. I don't usually say this, but I didn't care for this one. No offense to the author, he's a great writer, it's just what he wrote didn't suit me. On to the next read! For complete review: **Book provided by Blogging for Books, for an honest review.
MeaganLindsay More than 1 year ago
The Library at Mount Char was weird, and I've read some weird books in my time. I'd put it right on par with the weirdness that is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Somehow, from the description, I was expecting a book about a cult. In my head, I was imagining something like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The Library at Mount Char was not like that at all. What I got instead was a fantastical book that reminded me of something Neil Gaiman would write (think American Gods, or Good Omens). I struggled with the book for the first hundred pages or so, I'll freely admit that it took me at least 5 days to get even that far, and I was afraid that I would have to declare it unfinished. You get thrown into this world of Carolyn and the other children of "god", with little explanation. However, once I reached a certain threshold- right around Part II of the book, I couldn't put it down. I finished the rest of the book in just a few hours. I really identified with Steve, as he's pretty clueless for most of the book. He's a likeable character, as are Erwin and Carolyn. Most of the other characters were almost too grotesque to even think about for too long (mostly Margaret and David). I also have to admit that I didn't think I was going to like the book or give it a good review, right up until the end, after Carolyn's won. However, that last little bit redeemed it all. Everything (or mostly everything) was explained, Carolyn's character finally grew, and Steve saved the day. To sum up- The Library at Mount Char was bizarre, but I'd recommend it to you if you enjoy Neil Gaiman's work, or Ransom Riggs. *I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantasy with a semi-relatable setting. Didn't feel particular attached to any one character, buy I did enjoy the novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure how to summarize this book. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'm not a big Fantasy/Sci-Fi reader, so this one was a bit of a stretch for me, but it sounded interesting. The first chapter started out great. Vague and alluding, creepy and disturbing, it left me wanting more. Then Chapter 2 started, and I didn’t know what the heck was going on for the next 80 pages. Like disjointed images from a dream, it just didn’t make sense to me. Are they kids? Are they animals? Is Father supposed to be “God”? Is this hell? Is Father the devil, and the kids are demons? What is going on here? One minute they are having a conversation, and then they just throw in a jaguar growling, or deer that seem human (or are the humans deer?), and a disgusting guy covered in blood wearing a tutu, digging up graves to raise the dead. What the heck is going here??? There is no disputing that the author is a gifted wordsmith. It isn’t his writing style that I had a problem with, but the storyline and content. I almost gave up on this book by about 50 pages in. I was frustrated, because the author was quite obviously a masterful writer. However it was like being inside of someone’s LSD trip. Just flashes of disjointed scenes that made little sense to me. Maybe this is typical fantasy, and fantasy just isn’t my cup of tea? But I had seen a review that said the first 100 pages didn’t make any sense, but then it turned around. So I hung in there. Sure enough, the first three chapters had me tripping. Then the fourth chapter began, and FINALLY some sanity! I could follow along at last! The pieces began to fall together, the picture began to clear. Carolyn was a tricky character. There wasn't a clear liking or not liking of her. She was a very complex character, very well written. Glimmers of compassion and gentleness amid brilliant detachment and cruelty. The characters of the other children are less well-developed. Carolyn is closest to Michael, who seems gentle and sweet and brave. David is sheer chaos and brutality. Jennifer is like a hippie shaman. Margaret is simply out of her mind. Carolyn seeks out Steve for a job. Steve has made some bad choices in life, but he's been staying clean. He's a bit of a Taoist. Carolyn brings him nothing but trouble, and tests his innate goodness. There is a lot of religious symbolism in the book. Some of it may not be obvious to all, but would be to those more familiar with scripture. Even when things were chaotic, confusing and insane, it was still a little genius. At one moment, there is a conversation about the ancient language of the Atul and a concept that essentially means “the moment when an innocent heart first contemplated the act of murder”. It said to the Atul “the crime itself was secondary to this initial corruption.” And another phrase which is “the moment when the last hope dies”. These concepts alone were brilliant! My final word: I was initially nervous about my choice to read this book, but by chapter four it started to get under my skin. Little by little things came together, and I began to see the big picture. It became more engrossing as time went on, and I was really impressed with the writer's ability to captivate and draw me in. I'll still be hesitant to read fantasy and sci-fi, as I still think it is a shaky genre for me, but this author has definitely won me over!
Reading_With_Cupcakes More than 1 year ago
There really aren't many words that can be used to describe this book. It is all most indescribable. It is weird. It is dark. It is a masterpiece. Our story involves 12 individuals, to be called the librarians, and a man that they refer to as Father. Father adopted all 12 of them when all of their parents mysteriously died one night. They were all around the age of 8 when it happened and they don't recall much of anything about it. All they knew was that Father was giving them a new home in the Library, was going to teach them new things, and that he was to be obeyed. Not obeying Father would result in a fate worse than death itself. Father has each child learn something different, he calls them catalogs. None of the children are to study outside their catalog. Father expressly forbids it. The catalogs are all different. While the catalogs are rather broad categories such as war and death, language, healing, etc there is little to no crossover. The story within The Library at Mount Char takes place a good 20 something years later when the kids are in or around their 30s. The 12 librarians are locked out of the Library. They can't even get any where close to it. Father is missing. They don't know if he is hiding some where, trapped, or dead. They are trying to mix in with the Americans, but they have been separated for so long they barely remember the English language and they don't remember much of what world outside of the Library is like. This story is their journey of trying to find Father and of getting back to the Library. There are three narrators for this story. The first is Carolyn. She is one of the librarians and her catalog is language. She does the majority of the communicating for the rest of her group and does a lot of the interacting with the rest of the world. The second is Steve. Steve is a plumber. He has the unlucky experience of meeting Carolyn in a bar. She asks him to break into a house for her and he reluctantly agrees to do it. He needed the money and it was a lot of money. He had no idea what he was getting into when he agreed to this. The final narrator is Erwin. He is a former military man who now works for homeland security. He hates being recognized for what he has done in his previous career. He is working a connection between Steve's break in and a bank robbery. He really had no idea what he was getting himself into. Now, when I said this book was weird, that was a complete understatement. This book is weird on top of weird on top of weird. Then when you finally get used to the level of weird it has hit, it gets even weirder. Don't worry though, the weird doesn't stop there, it just keeps on coming. The characters themselves add a lot of the weird to the story. You have David who's category is war and death. He wears a purple tutu and does not wash the blood of his victims out of his hair! His hair is caked so thick with the blood that it may as well be a helmet it has gotten so hard and thick. He is virtually indestructible and is the best warrior there is. Find the rest of my review and more here:
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins, is a fabulous fantasy/science fiction novel I didn't want to put down. Hawkins and I have similar backgrounds (grew up in South Carolina, currently living in Atlanta, roughly same generation), so I'm ridiculously jealous that he knocked it out of the park on his fiction debut. (Of course, my inability to write in anything other than legalese probably has something to do with my comparative lack of success.) I wish I could visit the world of Father's Library, with its twelve "catalogs" on every conceivable subject from cooking to murder, although I would not want to go through the training regimen imposed on his twelve apprentices. I particularly liked how Hawkins waited almost until the end of the book to tell us the true events of Adoption Day, as well as the way he conveyed that information through Carolyn's eyes; no boring exposition here! Hawkins's Goodreads author page indicates that he is currently working on a new novel, the Twitter description of which is "Mike Hammer (or some noir detective) investigates a school shooting that may have been perpetrated by Peter Pan." I'll be the first in line at the bookstore when it comes out. I received a free copy of The Library at Mount Char from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
LaurieC3 More than 1 year ago
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins will definitely be on my list of favorite books of 2015. Not only does it have a vast fantasy library as the seat of incredible power, but it also centers around both a seemingly doomed quest and an epic conflict of good and evil for control of the world in which the two sides keep melting confoundingly into one another. I hope there is a sequel in the works for 2016!
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
THE LIBRARY AT MOUNT CHAR is an intensely dark, gothic, unpredictable, and magical fantasy novel. It is confusing at times, crazy at times, but utterly captivating. The intense cruelty and horror unleashed by Father, the man who abducted twelve children after murdering their families, is disturbing. We venture into this alternate universe with the main character, Carolyn, and all of her childhood friends. Carolyn, the librarian of languages, struggles to maintain reality and what is left of her humanity. We ride this roller coaster with her as she wins control of the Father’s library over the dark forces unleashed against her and her allies. The question arises as to who is the true psychopath, Carolyn or Father. This is a fantastic debut of an original work in the genre of Stephen King.
KarenfromDothan More than 1 year ago
Labor day 1977 marked a major turning point in the lives of twelve innocent young American children. That’s the day they lost their families and became the wards of “Father.” Father tells them they are “pelapi” meaning librarian or apprentice. He assigns each one his or her own catalog or specialty. Carolyn Sopaski, aged eight, is given languages. She and her “brothers and sisters” do not have what one would describe as an idyllic childhood with Father. Now, a full-grown woman, Carolyn is on a mission. This is Scott Hawkins’ first novel and it is incredibly good. It’s an amazing story about revenge, finding one’s identity and most important of all their humanity. I think anyone who likes this genre would enjoy reading this book. Action packed, I feel male readers will find it especially compelling. I was blown away, and you will be too!
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
This book was captivating from the very first page. I will admit that I expected this book to be something completely different than it turned out to be but I am thrilled with what it is. This book was completely different than anything else I have read and I enjoyed every single moment of it. This is was very odd but I was engrossed by the story. This is one of those books that if someone had explained the plot to me and told me to read it, I would politely agree while I secretly thought that they would out of their mind. If I were to try to explain this story, I couldn't do it justice. In fact, I don't really want to say too much about this story at all because to do so could very easily spoil the story. This book probably has the most interesting cast of characters that I have ever encountered. Carolyn is one of the librarians and is rather odd but over the course of the story she grew on me. She is really the main focus of the story and drives a lot of the plot. Steve is thrown into the action blindly and really has no idea what is going on. Steve was the most realistic character in the book and I found him to be my favorite. Erwin was around for much of the action and proved to incredibly smart. I must say that I really fell in love with the lions in this story. There is a lot of action and quite a bit of violence. This is definitely a book for adults and there is some rather graphic violence. I was actually surprised by how much action was crammed into this book. The action really kept the story exciting and made the book very hard to put down. There were some really unexpected twist and turns and the overall flow of the story kept me guessing. This was one book that I can honestly say that I had no idea where the story was headed for a large part of the book. I have to admit that I am a little let down the ending which is the only reason that I didn't give it 5 stars. I really liked the style of the writing in this book. I thought that the author did a fantastic job of giving the reader just the right amount of information as they needed it. The parts of the story that told about past events had a greater impact for me because of where they were placed in the story. The pacing of the book was incredible. I read this book within a 24 hours period of time. I would highly recommend this book to readers who like a dark fantasy set in our world. This is a book that I could see myself picking up again in the future. This is the first book by Scott Hawkins and I can't wait to get my hands on his next novel. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Crown Publishing via Blogging for Books for the purpose of providing an honest review.