The God of Lost Words
Updated: Feb 3, 2022
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐1/2
"To save the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, former librarian Claire and her allies may have to destroy it first.
Claire, the rakish Hero, the angel Rami, and the muse turned librarian Brevity have accomplished the impossible by discovering the true nature of unwritten books. But now that the secret is out, Hell will be coming for every wing of the library in its quest for power."
The God of Lost Words is the third and final installment in Hell's Library, the fantasy series by A.J. Hackwith.
First and foremost, even though this review is past the release date, I would like to thank NetGalley and Ace for giving me the opportunity to review this title. Please note that this in no way affects my opinions. Also note that what I read was an ARC, and things could have changed for the final release.
Now, after pushing this off for a little while due to a slump, I have finally arrived at the final book in this series. This book confirmed to me that, while the concept is interesting, the series was just okay. My feelings for this series, and this book, mainly come down to the way the story was laid out, and the characters. I was simply left wanting just a bit more.
Let's get into the details.
As always, I found it rather easy to fly through this book. We've got our normal POVs with the reader following Claire, Hero, Rami, and Brevity. The librarian logs are still there at the beginning of each chapter as well, so the consistency is nice.
The story picks up a month after the events of the last book, and like the last one, the story picks up the pace pretty much immediately. While sometimes it is good when authors waste no time getting straight to the story, a little room to breathe would have helped. As for the plot itself, it felt a bit...convenient, like everything that happened, in the end, all came down to plot convenience. What I mean here is that the library was put in a terrible position and saving it was an absolute longshot, but plot convenience occurs.
Following a whole lot of plot convenience, we get to the end of the book which was...something. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it, but it wasn't the kind of ending I was particularly looking forward to, but that is just me. The ending also felt rather abrupt as we were just left hanging there a bit.
There were also some gaps in the story that I either missed, so the fault is on me, or it was just kind of ignored. For example, Poppaea Julia is a former librarian who is heavily mentioned through the log entries at the start of the chapter. In one of the log entries, she referred to the books in the library as resident souls, as was discovered at the end of the last book. My question here is that how did no one realize this? Were her entries burned, or did not one single librarian read her logs? Again though, I could have just missed the explanation...but it is a question that plagues me.
I didn't talk about the world in my last two reviews, but will now as I do have questions about it, and there were things that I would have liked to know. This is the kind of series where I would like to see a spin-off, or at least an appendix, that breaks down how expansive the world is since not many places are mentioned in the series. I want to know what the different wings are and how many have been abandoned.
My feelings for the characters remain unchanged still. Claire and Brevity I am not as fond of, but Hero and Rami are fantastic. Aside from that, I have some minor complaints about the characters, some of which I will section off at the bottom of the review because they contain spoilers. If you do want to read the spoilers, a warning will appear after the conclusion.
Now, my first complaint about the character would be that there is a lack of thinking. When something big occurs, the resulting damage probably could have been lessened if they took a couple of minutes to just pause and reflect. My second complaint would be that the author has a tendency to just throw a new character right in at the beginning without much introduction and context. In the last book, it was Probity, and in this one it is Malphas.
A lot could have been done with a concept like this, but it just didn't go all the way. While I enjoyed myself enough, I would have liked for the story to slow down a bit to give it room to breathe, and I would have liked for the gaps in the world to be filled. Should the author ever come out with a companion novel, or more lore about the world, I would definitely read it though.
WARNING - THIS SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
Alright, you have been warned, so let's get right into it. As we reach the end of the book, we see the return of Leto. If you don't remember who that is, I don't blame you at all because I barely did. Leto was one of the main characters of the first book, who ended up dying at the end. He was subsequently barely mentioned at all until he re-appeared at the end of the last book, and that is exactly one of the complaints I have. I feel like he was just pushed off to the side and forgotten, which I didn't think was a great use of his character.
The only other spoiler complaint that I have about the characters is 100% personal opinion. We get a good amount of interaction between Hero and Rami throughout the book due to the nature of their relationship. To my surprise, although it was hinted at, their duo became a kind of trio with the inclusion of Claire. The first book I have read that not so subtly hints at a poly relationship, and the third leg is a character I didn't really like...