The God of Lost Words

Ace: Berkley. (A Novel from Hell’s Library, Bk. 3). Nov. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781984806413. pap. $17. FANTASY
In this final volume of the “Hell’s Library” trilogy (after The Archive of the Forgotten), Claire (former Librarian of the Unwritten Wing) has now taken over the library’s Arcane Wing. With her friends (muse-turned-librarian Brevity, angel Rami, and scoundrel Hero), she deals with the aftermath of discovering that all of the library’s books were made from souls: souls that Hell would do anything to get its infernal hands on. Claire and her group must find a way to save the books from the demon Malphas (who has also learned the truth about the library), and their only chance is to find the collection a new home. The library’s isolated Wings and librarians, a long-ago failed rebellion, and the return of a traitorous ally launch the group on a dangerous, impossible quest, while Hell stays on their heels and complete destruction looms ahead. The emotional arcs between all of the characters, but especially between Rami, Hero, and Claire, are at once joyful and bittersweet, and the well-paced plot speeds towards a passionate and hopeful end. The characters are non-racialized supernatural beings in an ecclesiastical Hell, where Claire is pansexual and a number of other characters are implied to be queer.
VERDICT Hackwith’s poignant, imaginative series sends readers on an amazing journey, with profound prose that will capture hearts and minds.
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