cover image The God of Lost Words

The God of Lost Words

A.J. Hackwith. Ace, $17 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-984806-41-3

Hackwith brings her Hell’s Library series to a vibrant, satisfying conclusion after the events of the previous volume, The Archive of the Forgotten, revealed to librarian Claire and her friends that stories are made up of souls. As such, they function as a source of power in the infernal realm which hosts but does not govern the Arcane and Unwritten Wings of Hell’s Library. Malphas, general of Hell, “Grandmother of Ghosts,” and chief demon in Lucifer’s absence, wants this soul power and is prepared to use both cunning and force to get it. In the librarian’s log, Claire discovers writings from a previous librarian, Poppaea Julia, who rebelled against Hell and nearly succeeded. While former muse, Brevity, holds down the fort, Claire joins forces with Hero, a character from a destroyed book, and Rami, an angelic Watcher, to follow in Poppaea’s footsteps, seeking out a “realm, a guide, a library, [and] a god” to secure the library’s freedom from Hell forever. As in previous volumes, Hackwith suffuses this story with love in many forms, deep thoughts on reading, and variations on reality. Malphas’s threats, meanwhile, successfully up the stakes. It’s the perfect finish to this inventive saga, highlighting fun, angsty romance and musing on the nature of storytelling. Agent: Caitlin McDonald, Donald Maass Literary. (Nov.)