My review of Scott Hawkins’s The Library at Mount Char ran today in the Boston Globe.
This one started out promising, with some creepy H.P. Lovecraft/Stephen King vibes, but when you give your characters magic powers and don’t rein them in, or provide any kind of coherent system of boundaries and consequences, a plot can get real sloppy real fast. And while Scott Hawkins has a knack for creating some very imaginative, very macabre imagery, he has a lot of trouble crafting a solid, logical plot to hold it all together.
About a third of the way through the book, things go haywire, with the protagonist, Carolyn, resorting to increasingly irrational and convoluted means of manipulating those around her. And then two-thirds of the way through the book, Carolyn admits that it was all irrational and convoluted, but tries to convince us that it was actually part of a grander, brilliant plan that those around her were just too simple to comprehend. All in all, a real let down, and the review goes into more specifics on what a missed opportunity it is.