Ok fine. So I might be biased with this one because it’s set in Edinburgh but hear me out! The Library of the Dead could be the start of new, wonderful series. Here’s why:
✨ My city but make it post-apocalyptic/some sort of chaos that’s caused absolute mayhem and we have a king (long may he reign) now?!
✨ A magical cult. I mean it’s not called out as being a cult but it’s definitely a goddamn cult
✨ Ghosts. A colossal fuck-tonne of them
Ok, I’m sure you’re all like ‘hell yeah Jen this sounds excellent tell me more‘ so it’s only right that I introduce you to the main lady before I get into the story vibes.
Met Ropa. A 14-year-old deado talker with green dreadlocks and black lipstick who’s hellbent on making sure her family keeps a roof over their heads. Her line of work is simple – she’s a messenger. For the dead. Passing on notes to their living relatives. All through the power of a Mbira (of which I’ve now been getting IG ads for 👀) that helps tune the ghost-waves. No idea if that’s what they’re called but I’m rolling with it.
SooooOoOooooOOOo. When Ropa is hounded by the ghost of a missing child’s mother at her usual place of business, it’s definitely unusual for her to take on jobs where payment ain’t guaranteed.
And this is where our story takes off. We see Edinburgh through Ropa’s eyes, cutting through the streets of a very different city trying to find clues about this missing kid and ultimately ending up in the not-a-cult cult Library of the Dead. A place where the elites hang out and quite clearly create yet untold shenanigans.
My ONLY issue with it was the plot – felt like a bastarding rollercoaster sometimes which left my brain feeling a little stretched Armstrong in every direction. It’s a set-up book (the library actually plays a teenie tiny part) and that’s absolutely ok – I just wish some parts had a little more focus. Other than that, I’m genuinely sad it’s over.
Honestly, this book is a delight, but it’s also a bit grim in places. The world-building kept me sucked in (totally helps I live here and, for once, I get the local references) and I’m 100% on board, buckled in etc. etc. with whatever direction this goes in. Oh, and I absolutely need to know how Edinburgh got into that state. GIVE ME MORE!
P.s. I will never look at milk the same way again.
If you’re into dark dystopian fantasies with a smattering of magical abilities, then The Library of the Dead should probably be on your TBR. Grab it here.