T. L . Huchu, The Library of the Dead, Tor, 2021.
The Library of the Dead blends skillfully a post-cataclysm world and magic, with a main character you'll enjoy following.
Ropa lives in a caravan in Edinburgh with her grand-mother and her little sister. She earns her life by carrying messages between the dead and the living. One day, she accepts to look for the son of a dead woman. Soon enough, she finds herself a target.
Ropa is a very endearing character and since the novel is written in the first person, it's a good thing. I've loved her snark and her spunk. Her social commentary hits the nail on the head, just as much as her more mundane observations.
I was less fond of the secondary characters which I found a little too quickly drawn for my tastes, but I particularly enjoyed her Gran.
In a sense, Ropa is the character that carries the whole novel on her shoulders, but she can definitely do it.
The world building is an absolute pleasure. Huchu takes us in every corner of his reimagined Edinburgh, and it's easy to picture how the current city could become as it is depicted. There's a great care for the details of what it means to live in a post-cataclysm world, and I look forward to reading the second volume in the hope we will learn more about the history, which is only hinted at here.
One of my gripes is about the library itself. I was expecting it to be a central part of the plot, what it being the title and all. Althoughthe library was the means by which Ropa encountered characters who helped her on her way, I was a bit underwhelmed by how it was used.
The pace is lively with a lot of action, but also some creepy moments. The novel has its moments of surprise and dramatic reveals as Ropa tries to untangle the mystery of the disappearing childrean. It will certainly fill a gap for readers who enjoyed the Rivers of London series, although it's less conservative.
As The Library of the Dead is a self contained story, nothing prevents you from reading it as a stand-alone, in case you'd be wary to add yet another series to your reading list.
The Library of the Dead is a very entertaining read with a great world building and social issues running throughout. I look forward to meeting Ropa and her Gran again in the next volume.
If you've liked The Library of the Dead, you may also enjoy
All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
Comments are closed, having neither time nor the inclination to moderate them.
WHAT IS THE MIDDLE SHELF?
The middle shelf is a science-fiction and fantasy books reviewS blog, bringing you diverse and great stories .
ON THE MIDDLE SHELF
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE MIDDLE SHELF
PLEASE SUPPORT AUTHORS.
IF YOU LIKE IT, BUY IT.