**We were gifted an copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
It’s not very often that this early in the year I will stick my neck out and say a book could be my favourite read of the whole year, but The Library of the Dead by T.L Huchu isn’t your average read. This is the first book in a brand new series and from start to finish captivated me leaving me loathe to put it down even to go to work! Today I’m sharing my review of this recently released title and I hope you enjoy it. Thank you to Tor Books and Black Crow for sending me a copy for review.
About The Book
When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .
Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.
She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan . . .) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?
Ropa left school to look after her family, helping to raise money to keep the ‘wolf’ from the door, but her occupation is no ordinary one….. she is a Ghost Stalker. In a post-catastrophe world she spends her evening’s delivering messages to the families of the dead in return for payment, but one evening she meets a newly deceased spirit who turns her ‘comfortable’ routine upside down.
Nicola can’t move on until she finds her missing son and implores Ropa to help even though she is unable to compensate her. Initially dismissive Ropa soon leans that Nicola’s son isn’t the only child to disappear from the streets of Edinburgh and that those who are lucky enough to be found are mysteriously devoid of life and with encouragement from her Gran takes on the case to discover the truth. But will her digging uncover more than Ropa can handle?
I absolutely adored The Library of the Dead and it’s definitely an early contender for my book of the year for 2021! T.L. Huchu’s world building is fantastically detailed which captured my imagination immediately pulling me into what turned out to be a fast-paced and gripping story. Set in a dystopian Edinburgh with regular refences to a King throughout it’s not completely clear if this is a futuristic version of the world we know and love, however I personally felt some of this fictional world could easily become our reality without having to stretch your imagination too much.
I love our protagonist Ropa, an unconventional heroine who leaps headlong into danger with bravery and resilience in bucket loads to help her in any sticky situations she may encounter. Despite only being in her teens Ropa has had to adapt to the world in which she has been brought up in, living day to day and doing anything she can to keep her family safe and well provided for. It’s wonderful to see the relationships she has with her Gran and younger sister and the family bonds that have survived despite the mysterious catastrophe.
There is a real diversity of characters in this book which is always a joy to read and for me The Library of the Dead offers something completely different to any other book I’ve read. It has a complex plot which discusses what happens to your spirit after death that Huchu has written in such a creatively unique way. This book has so much going on with a mixture of action, magic, mystery and family with a handful of witty humour thrown in for good measure; there really is something for everyone! I could talk at length about this story, however I don’t want to give any spoilers so my advice to you is grab a copy for yourself!
The Library of the Dead is the first book in a new series called Edinburgh Nights and it’s burst onto the scene with a gigantic bang and I for one cannot wait to find out what’s next for Ropa when the next book is released. The only problem I have now though is how I’m going to manage to be patient until the next book drops?
About The Author
T.L. Huchu’s work has appeared in Lightspeed, Interzone, AfroSF, The Apex Book of World SF 5, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery weekly, The Year’s Best Crime and Mystery Stories and elsewhere. He is the winner of a Nommo Award for African SFF, and has been shortlisted for the Caine Prize and the Grand prix do @’Imaginaire. He was one of the 2020 judges for the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writer’s Awards.
The Library of the Dead is available to purchase now from Amazon*