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.
I picked up The Library of the Unwritten because a few people I follow on social media were saying such good things about it. I am so glad that I trusted them and pick this one up because it just might be a new favorite fantasy series. There’s just something that I love about books that are about books.
Claire is the Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing. This is a library that’s located in Hell filled with all of the unfinished books that exist. Her job is to make sure these books don’t manifest. So, of course, the story opens with a book character manifesting from their story and Claire has to hunt them down with her Librarian Apprentice, Brevity, and Leto, the demon who was sent to inform Claire that a manifestation had escaped to Earth. The three travel to Earth to bring this manifestation, eventually named Hero, but what is supposed to be an easy enough job turns into a quest for something much more important. I really liked Claire. She’s not perfect, kind of cold, but soft underneath. I’m really excited to learn more about her in the second book. I would have liked to have more of my questions answered. Claire has many books of her own in the Unwritten Library, and there is some history there. She has secrets and I’m interested to see how or if those secrets come to light in the next book. I completely adored Brevity. She’s a former muse and I loved everything about her. Leto was an interesting character because there was so much to his story and I’m wondering whether or not we will see him in the next book or not. Hero was also interesting because we’re led to make assumptions about his character because of how Claire classifies him, but as we learn more about him, we learn that our assumptions aren’t quite right.
Their mission changes when they run into Ramiel, an angel on a mission to find The Devil’s Bible. He’s been working what’s essentially the front desk at the gates of Heaven hoping to work his way back into the Creator’s good graces so he can go back home. But the Creator is nowhere to be found and Uriel is the one in charge. Ramiel was a complex character because at first, he jumps at the chance to complete this mission and be welcomed home. But when he realizes that Uriel might not be telling him the whole truth with his mission, he isn’t sure that being welcomed back into Heaven is actually what he wants anymore. I really liked the complexity of Ramiel’s story. His character and the choices he made were fascinating.
Overall, I loved this story. I love books that are about books. The concept of the Unwritten Library was such a great one (but made me sad because I’m a writer with lots of unfinished books). I also am very interested by the Arcane wing of the library. I am very excited to read the next book.
“How much easier it would be if everyone knew their role: the hero, the sidekick, the villain. Our books would be neater and our souls less frayed. But whether you have blood or ink, no one’s story is that simple.”
“The trouble with reading is it goes to your head. Read too many books and you get savvy. You begin to think you know which kind of story you’re in. Then some stupid git with a cosmic quill fucks you over.”
“We think stories are contained things, but they’re not. Ask the muses. Humans, stories, tragedies, and wishes—everything leaves ripples in the world. Nothing we do is not felt; that’s a comfort. Nothing we do is not felt; that’s a curse.
“Stories are, at the most basic level, how we make sense of the world. It doesn’t do to forget that sometimes heroes fail you when you need them the most. Sometimes you throw your lot in with villains.”
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.