Book Review: The Library of the Unwritten

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: The Library of the Unwritten
Author: A.J. Hackwith
Series: Hell’s Library #1
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Supernatural/Paranormal, Books About Books, LGBTQ+, Pansexual rep
Content Warnings: Violence, discussions about death/afterlife
Goodreads synopsis:

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.

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A book about books?! About unfinished books, and characters manifesting in real life, and heaven and hell? And wow. It’s safe to say that when I read this book’s synopsis, I was already brimming in excitement.

The Library of the Unwritten feels so much like a love letter to authors and book lovers. It’s exciting, it’s poignant, and absolutely wonderful.

My thoughts on The Library of the Unwritten

First of all, let me just say that this book has one of the most beautiful prose I have ever encountered. It’s so beautiful and elegant and poignant, (and I have 162 highlights on my Kindle to prove it!).

When it comes to the characters, I was pleasantly surprised. They were interesting, yes, but they were also full of surprises. As I read through the journey of Claire and her little mismatched gang, I kept finding new details and revelations about them. Claire herself was such a wonderful protagonist for me—level-headed, yet also flawed, but she showed spunk all throughout the book. Hero was also a surprise for me. I was indifferent about him at first, but I believe his character (pun intended?) grows on you.

The plot was entertaining and I love how it was both ominous and unpredictable at the same time. There plot twists were great and they added so much impact to the story. The fantasy and supernatural elements in the book also make it thrilling and exciting. The book referred to different kinds of mythologies, mentioned different kinds of ideologies, and featured magic that’s not quite like other fantasy novels. (And in a way, it has vibes similar to Supernatural and The Good Place.)

I also have to mention how I adored the casual queer representation here. Claire is pansexual, and I think this might be the first time I read a book with pansexual rep! I loved it, and the casualness of it all just made it more delightful.

Stories and writing were obviously a big theme in The Library of the Unwritten. It’s why I firmly believe it’s a love letter to authors and book lovers alike. Throughout the whole book, there were many discussions about being an author, about finding inspiration, about writing, about the characters we write and read about, and so much more. I loved it!

Overall, The Library of the Unwritten spoke to me and moved me in many ways. I am so glad I picked up this book, and it looks like I found myself another adult fantasy series to look out for!

Quotes from the book 

What is a story without want, without desire, without need?

​​That every story, every human, matters. The hard part is convincing ourselves first.

Stay out of politics? Ridiculous! When has a writer ever managed to avoid politics? Every story is political. Tell a soul a story they want to believe, and you can change the world.


Buy The Library of The Unwritten

Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop


Has anyone else read this book? Please tell me I am not alone! And if you haven’t read it yet, go ahead and tell me what you think!

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