For advice on world building consult J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K. Rowling

The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins

Have you ever read a book and felt like you came in at the middle? Or maybe that there was a prequel that you somehow didn't know about? If you answered yes to either one of these questions then you know how I felt while reading The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. I felt thrust into a set of characters and a story that was already in full swing without any kind of reference point. It was only toward the end that some of these questions were resolved and annoyingly the book ended in such a way that smacks of 'sequel in the making'. Now this might leave you with the impression that I didn't enjoy this book. Wrong, I did like it. However, I never felt fully connected to the characters because of that feeling of 'Have I missed something here? What is happening?!". The story is basically about a group of children who are taken in by a man they call Father (yes, it's weird) and are trained in completely different fields (languages, military tactics, animals, etc) in order to become experts in those fields. The story begins with the main character named Carolyn who is for lack of a more appropriate term dissatisfied with the status quo. I can't decide if this is a book about magic or just a world in which fantastical things can happen just because. There are definitely fantastical elements such as resurrection, the ability to talk with animals, and the like but Carolyn maintains that 'magic isn't real'. Like I said, I liked the book but it's not one that I would reread and if there was a sequel I'm not entirely sure that I'd be first in line to read it because it just didn't stick with me. I would like to warn any of you that are sensitive to violence and/or coarse language because this book is chock full of both. I don't dislike deconstructing worlds by getting little pieces from the start of the book but there was something missing from this one. Sorry that this review is all over the place but honestly that's how I felt pretty much the whole time I was reading it so it's appropriate. :-P