Book: The Library of the Dead (Edinburgh Nights 1) by T.L. Huchu
Release Date: February 4th 2021
Tags: Young Adult | Fantasy | Mystery | Paranormal | Ghosts | Family
Trigger/Content Warnings: Racism | Slavery | Child Abuse | Grief | Police Brutality | Kidnapping | Captivity | Death of a Child | Death of a Parent
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 Library of the Dead is a very different kind of book than I was expecting. I conciously did not look up reviews for this book so I really had no idea the actual library wasn’t quite as big of a part of the story as I thought it would. The Library of the Dead is not a bad book but expectations and a few other things stopped me from loving this story.
We follow Ropa, a ghosttalker who is just trying to make some money to keep paying the rent the place she lives with her grandmother and her sister. She sends messages between ghosts and their living relatives. Its a hard but simple life. But when ghost mother contacts her to find out what happened to her son she gets thrown in all kind of holes of Edinburgh she had no idea about yet.
Ropa has a very distinct voice which I think is a great thing. But I have to be honest and say that it took me very long to really get into it. Everytime I picked it back up I needed to get back into it again and that took some of the flow out of the story for me. I also had a bit of a bone to pick with how some of the magic was explained through Ropa reading passages of books. That was pretty dry.
When it comes to the world building the actual idea of the setting and the magic is really interesting. I think we got a good idea of what was important to the story but there is still a lot left to be discovered in other books. I loved that Ropa had to work a bit for the magic by figuring out what would work for her.
I did find it annoying that there was a reference to an incident in the past which is what shaped Edinburgh to what it is today. Yet there is never a good explanation of that.
With a title like The Library of the Dead I really thought we would be having more time with the library. Instead it is just something that is used in the background. I guess I was dissapointed by that. It doesn’t seem like such an awesome place with those grumpy people in there.
I did like the addition of Priya and the Zimbabwean roots we see shining through.