Friday, March 20, 2020

[Book Review] 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.

* * *

tw: suicide, bullying  

"Claire lived by the firm moral philosophy that one could never have too many pockets, too many books, or too much tea."

The Library of the Unwritten kept popping up on my twitter timeline for a few weeks with so many great reviews before I decided it was time to just borrow it from my local library and I am so happy I did! I had almost no idea what to expect, and I was still blown away! 

The characters are absolutely what stole this book for me, which is saying something because the overall premise is so unique and interesting. I loved Claire, Leto, Brevity, and Hero so much for different reasons. I'm all about the found family type of tropes when it come to a big cast of characters and this book absolutely satisfies that love for me. I loved seeing them grow to care about each other as the story progressed. Picking a favorite is almost impossible, because they're all favorites for specific reasons, but I really loved Brevity so much. 

"The best stories are bled."

The story is so unique and captivating. The premise really pulls you in, it's so hard not to because of how interesting and mysterious the synopsis is written. At first I was worried I was going to be a bit confused because you're dropped into the story and things unravel naturally as the reader keeps reading. The Library of the Unwritten was written for readers who love stories and understand how powerful they can be. The characters and dialogue are often comically sarcastic and fun to read but there's also a really great message about the importance of stories and what the author puts into their stories. 

My only con with this book is that sometimes the pacing makes it feel so slow to read. It took some time past the halfway mark for me to start feeling like I was losing myself in the story versus how I felt beforehand, which was a bit of a disconnect that made it hard to focus. Despite how interesting the overall premise was, because there is such a mysterious vibe when it came to the details, it made it hard to focus. What I think kept me reading despite having focus issues is how much I genuinely fell in love with our cast of characters. 

 "Forgiven doesn't mean no regret. We always regret the wrongs we've done. It just means you're not punishing yourself for it."

There are darker themes and topics in this story that I should have expected since one of the settings is in Hell, but there are topics revolving around death and forgiving yourself for things you may have done. I think it's written really well and honestly brings out a lot of growth in these beloved characters, which I loved to see.  I wanted to have this as sort of a content warning along with the ones above, that this story can get dark and these characters are very morally grey. If you love Victoria Schwab books, this is one to pick up!

I absolutely recommend this book to all readers! If you're a lover of stories, this is absolutely a fantasy story to pick up! I cannot wait for the sequel. If you've read this one I'd love to know your thoughts! 

"A lie. A dream. Good stories are both."

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great review! I loved this one too and I can't wait to see more of the characters again. :)

  2. Amazing review! I'm so keen on reading this one. I got a surprise ARC of it forever ago (or what feels like forever ago) and was kind of into it but was so overwhelmed with ARCs that I wasn't really taking on any unsolicited ones, so I set it aside and didn't look into it much. Now I wish I had because it sounds sooo good and I'm seeing so many rave reviews! I'm just glad I have a copy waiting on me and I didn't give it away. 😂

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