Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery

The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu

Another book perfect for Halloween 🎃

Themes: urban fantasy, mystery, paranormal, YA, horror

The synopsis

When a child goes missing in Edinburgh’s darkest streets, young Ropa investigates. She’ll need to call on Zimbabwean magic as well as her Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. But as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

When ghosts talk, she will listen…

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker. Now she 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 honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan…), discovering an occult library and a taste for hidden magic. She’ll also experience dark times. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets, and Ropa’s gonna hunt them all down.

The review

I was very surprised by this book because it’s partly a dystopia and I was not aware of it. So, the setting takes place in a future and partially destroyed Edinburgh (one of my favourite places in the world) and is even more spooky that way. As usual, the dystopian element is used as a way to denounce social issues, the main one being poverty here. T.L. Huchu is very skilled in showing inequalities and the challenges poverty brings to people and I have to say that my heart ached for Ropa. It’s one of the wonderful things of reading, making you realise the chance you have to be able to get access to simple things such as education or books. I really liked the fact that even the writing was representing the social background of the characters even though it slowed me down a bit in my reading.

After a slow beginning, the action suddenly takes place and I clearly wasn’t prepared for the degree of horror present in this book! It was spooky as I have wished it to be and my regret is that the house part was too short, I would have liked to have more scenes in it. Fortunately for me who isn’t very used to these genres, the horror and gore elements were debunked by the humour of the characters and the grotesque of the scenes.

The main criticism I have for this book is the mystery which was really of a low level. I usually have no clue about what’s going on but here I knew the kidnapper from its first appearance in the book… There were no surprise or suspense and I was just upset about Ropa who wasn’t able to see what was going on while it was very obvious from the beginning.

In brief: if you’re here for a good mystery this book is clearly not what you’re looking for. However, it’s an easy horror book to pass time during Halloween.

My rating: 3/5

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