Library at Mount Char: urban fantasy that has the magic
Scott Hawkins's debut horror novel, The Library at Mount Char, is a sprawling, epic contemporary fantasy about cruelty and the end of the world, compulsively readable, with the deep, resonant magic of a world where reality is up for grabs.
Carolyn and her 11 adopted siblings live in the Library, a place outside of ordinary reality, where each of them has been dedicated to the study of a different Catalog, learning the dark mysteries of speaking to animals; the practice of total war; and the wandering of the lands of the dead, along with the power to bring the dead back to the living. All these Catalogs were both written and assigned by the man whom they call Father, who has ruled Earth for 60,000 years, and whose cruelty in their training is without limit.
And Father is missing, perhaps dead. With his absence, the ancient powers he defeated at the dawn of the Third Age of Earth are crowding in, threating the unimaginably horrible end of all life -- possibly of the universe. The Librarians -- fractious and murderous -- must find him, or possibly settle the matter of succession, in a contest that recapitulates all the terrors of their training.
This is Hawkins's first book, but he plots like a master, and carries the book into a fourth act that breaks new territory in existential horror. Though this is not without its rough edges, The Library at Mount Char is a first-rate novel, tue-curlingly terrifying in places, un-put-down-able, and filled with a curious and vital compassion for life and its duties.
The Library at Mount Char [Scott Hawkins/Crown]
Steven Brust's "Good Guys," a hardboiled noir urban fantasy, with everything great about Brust on proud display
Steven Brust is a literary treasure and his longrunning Vlad Taltos series, now nearing its final volume, is a good example of where his strengths lie: hardboiled plotting, snappy dialog, weirdly realistic and plausible depictions of magic, and a sensitive eye for power relationships and their depiction, all of which are on display in his latest, outstanding novel, Good Guys, about the minimum-wage sorcerers who investigate magical crimes on behalf of a secret society.
Syndicated strip or graphic novel? Lynn Johnston on doing For Better or For Worse in the internet age
In honor of the Library of American Comics' publication of For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library, Vol. 1 (Volume 2 is out this summer), we are delighted to publish this essay by Lynn Johnston, contemplating the nature of writing a serial for decades and how she might approach her life's work today.
One of my favorite writers has a new book out and was interviewed by The Cut. He talkes about his transition, gender identity, bylines, and the new context of his past work.
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