Title: The Archive of the Forgotten
Author: A. J . Hackwith
Series: Hell’s Library #2
Release Date: UK 9/2/21
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 43
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Titan ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Library of the Unwritten in Hell was saved from total devastation, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell and from its own librarians.
Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen.
You can read my thoughts on Book 1 HERE
We are back in Hell’s Library and we don’t just get to explore the Unwritten wing this time! Like I said about the previous book it is just so inventive. Not only do we get a little more insight into the Unwritten wing but also more about the Arcane wing, the Unspoken wing and the Forgotten Archive (Dust Wing). We get a glimpse of the land of the muses and explore Elysium. All of them as detailed as book one was. There is just so much gorgeous world building that links into the plot fantastically.
This really is a book for booklovers. Each chapter heading has an entry from the former librarians which muse and pontificate on what books are, what stories mean and if you are a reader, a book lover, a writer of stories, these really will resonate with you. The whole plot really delves into what a book is, what its stories and characters mean to the writer and to the reader. There is something beautiful and lyrical about that subplot that sits behind the adventure. The plot is just as exciting as book 1. It just has a way of sweeping you along. The over arching plot is a little simple, you can see the ‘Villian’ and their motivations a mile off but it is no less entertaining. I enjoyed the almost pantomime feeling I had when characters would fall for the villian’s plans etc.
I do feel this one is a lot more character driven. We delve a lot deeper into the relationships between the characters. The events of book one still heavy on their minds as they deal with the guilt, the grief and try to repair and rebuild what they have lost. We get to examine Claire and Brevity’s friendship as they move from the Mentor/mentee to equals. Claire feelings lost in her own grief for the library. We also get to see the relationship between Claire and Hero as a writer and a character. I loved how much of a role Hero played and Rami too. The hints of romance that we get is just fantastic and sweet and their banter just gives the book its lighter moments.
To me this is an excellent sequel, I really loved the world and realms created here and the characters. its just such a good book for a book lover to curl up with.