Book Review: The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Title: The Library of the Unwritten

Author: A. J. Hackwith

Series: Hell’s Library #1

Page Count: 382

Publish Date: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Ace

Buy The Library of the Unwritten at Amazon.


Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.

The Library of the Unwritten

The post may contain affiliate links. This means that should you make a purchase after following one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

My Review:

I listened to the audiobook and found myself sucked in immediately. That first scene had me asking so many questions about the world, Claire, and the other characters present that I had to keep listening to find the answers.

I loved the idea of a library where unfinished stories are stored, maintained, and controlled. It honestly makes me feel bad for all of my own unfinished stories.

This story holds quite a few characters that each add a unique element to the story.

Claire is stern, unwavering, and oftentimes intimidating but also has moments of weakness. She is the head librarian and takes her job very seriously.

However, her past can be a hindrance at times and yet also adds interesting elements to the story, especially in the second half of the book.

She’s not afraid to do whatever must be done to protect the library and its books, though at times she forges ahead without thinking and has to be stopped by someone else who will explain to her the dangers of her intended actions.

Brevity is her assistance and is much her opposite. Her compassion runs counter to Claire’s no-nonsense approach and can be as helpful as it is a barrier at times.

Even so, these two work well together and their differences tend to feed off each other, leading to a strong team dynamic.

Leto was different. He doesn’t seem like much to start with, a nervous demon on a task, yet he quickly becomes an integral part of Claire’s team as they work to fix some mistakes.

There are a few other key characters from Hell that play vital roles in Claire’s mission but the one who stands out the most is Hero. He was my least favorite character and yet is a key contributor to the story and I can’t imagine how any of it would work out without him.

I suppose he does grow on me with time but when the truth about him is revealed, I did find myself reassessing my opinion of him.

As they traversed the various worlds and mythologies while attempting to doge Heaven’s angels and others who would stand in their way, I found myself fully immersed in everything. I loved how these different mythologies and their equivalents of Heaven and Hell played key roles in the story.

The interactions with some of the denizens of these realms, and especially with Bjorn the Bard added a lot to the story. As well, the little journal snippets from previous head librarians at the beginning of each chapter added to the depth of everything.

The history of the library was quite interesting, and I loved that the books within that library are characters themselves, each unique and at times bothersome.

The pace of the story is good, we have bursts of actions scattered throughout. Even when we are learning about the various characters and their backgrounds, especially Claire’s, I was engrossed in the story.

There are a number of twists and turns throughout and it made the story all that more interesting. A few of these I had an inkling were coming and others caught me by surprise.

The ending was not entirely unexpected yet did a good job of tying up some of the storylines while dangling interesting tidbits for the readers to be lured by and eager to pick up the next book.

The narrator, Lisa Flanagan, did a good job of giving each character a unique voice and breathing life into the world. While I feel like I would have enjoyed the story had I read the physical book, sometimes, listening to books is the way to go and I think it’s the best route for this one.

Overall, this was a fantastic start to the series. The characters are an interesting bunch, and the mix of action and slower times helps to bring the story together well. Plus a book about unwritten books and how they need to be dealt with in Hell is an intriguing idea.

Throw in all of the different mythological references and you have quite a fantastical adventure. I have since added the second book, The Archive of the Forgotten, to my TBR and hope to get to it soon.

I hope you enjoyed my review of The Library of the Unwritten. Have you read this book?

Buy The Library of the Unwritten at Amazon.


  1. This is a great book indeed! I’ve always seen librarians as strict and no fun but being able to read your review about the book changes everything. Great post indeed!

  2. I am always looking for new books to read. I have not heard of the The Library of the Unwritten. This sounds interesting and I may check out. Thanks for the great review.

  3. What an interesting premise! I just added this to my TBR list because of your review. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to read it.

  4. You e convinced me. It’s on my to read list now!

  5. I love the title of this book. It sounds very intriguing. Thank you for review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *