2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.
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Book Review: The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith

Oh. My. GOODNESS!!!!!

I don’t normally gush, but you’re going to see more adjectives here – and superlative ones, at that – than normal. The book deserves them all, plain and simple.

I couldn’t imagine how the incredible world-building and characterizations of The Library of the Unwritten could be improved upon, but somehow A.J. Hackwith managed… This second-in-series is brilliant – every bit as original, dramatic, thought-provoking, entertaining, and engaging as the first, but with a marvelous series of additions that spun things in whirlwind directions that made everything just that little bit larger than life.

At the advice of another reviewer, I reread TLotU immediately before beginning this one – that wasn’t exactly a hardship, even if it did delay my digging into this one, because I LOVED the first book. I’m very glad that I did because there was so much that happened in the original story and I’m glad I had all that nuance between characters, motivations, and the unfolding stories of the logbook when I read this one. There is an ingenious unfolding happening here – layer by delicate layer, Hackwith is revealing deceptions (intentional and not), revelations (ditto) and a larger purpose that are phenomenal in their depth and breadth. All the seemingly random, seemingly throwaway bits are building into something majestic and it’s incredible to watch this origami unfold itself.

The characters are gorgeously presented, full of foibles and quirks and human frailties (even when they’re not entirely – or even a little bit – human). The worlds are lushly described, full of the type of minute details that make them jump off the page and inhabit your brain long after you’ve closed the book (or file, as I read it on Kindle).

I love books about books and authors and the process of creating stories. This is one of the best examples of that I’ve seen – with a solid dose of philosophical consideration about the nature of the universe thrown in for good measure. If you’re not familiar with this series, you should be… It is, in a word, superlative. Just like my adjectives…

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

*And just a final word on that cover – HOW FREAKING AMAZING IS THAT?!

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