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Sixth Sense meets Stranger Things in T. L. Huchu's The Library of the Dead, a sharp contemporary fantasy following a precocious and cynical teen as she explores the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh. 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 hun Sixth Sense meets Stranger Things in T. L. Huchu's The Library of the Dead, a sharp contemporary fantasy following a precocious and cynical teen as she explores the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh. 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.


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Sixth Sense meets Stranger Things in T. L. Huchu's The Library of the Dead, a sharp contemporary fantasy following a precocious and cynical teen as she explores the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh. 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 hun Sixth Sense meets Stranger Things in T. L. Huchu's The Library of the Dead, a sharp contemporary fantasy following a precocious and cynical teen as she explores the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh. 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.

30 review for The Library of the Dead

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    TL Huchu writes a scintillating beginning to the Edinburgh Nights series, set in a post-catastrophe city which upended peoples lives, with the wealthy going up the East coast after the chaos and anarchy that materialised. It is ruled over by a King, with people greeting each other with the spiel of 'God save the king' and 'Long may he reign', the world building is terrific, the rich descriptions giving us a picture of the desperate poverty, a diverse set of colourful and vibrant characters, prob TL Huchu writes a scintillating beginning to the Edinburgh Nights series, set in a post-catastrophe city which upended peoples lives, with the wealthy going up the East coast after the chaos and anarchy that materialised. It is ruled over by a King, with people greeting each other with the spiel of 'God save the king' and 'Long may he reign', the world building is terrific, the rich descriptions giving us a picture of the desperate poverty, a diverse set of colourful and vibrant characters, probing Edinburgh's criminal and magical underbelly. The storyline is dark with its echoes of the Grimm fairytales, alleviated with comic touches of humour, with a brash, bright, cynical, in your face, 14 year old Ropa Moya, our protagonist of Zimbabwean descent, who just oozes charisma, living in a caravan in the Hermiston slums area. She makes a living operating as a ghost stalker, a go between between the dead and the living, utilising her mbira, an ancient African musical instrument, having left school early to provide for and look after her wise and warm Gran, and her younger sister, Izwi. Ropa sports green dreadlocks and black lipstick, often accompanied by her cool vulpine companion, focusing on making money to pay the rent which is in arrears, so when the recently dead mother, Nicola, desperately worried about her missing son, Ollie, asks her to find him, she initially refuses. However, she doesn't hold out for long, resulting in her entering macabre, dangerous and life threatening territory. Her friend, Jomo, helps her access the secret Library of the Dead, a repository for magical texts, becoming a member with an ear for a library card, given a scarf by the Secretary, Sir Callandar. It is here she meets her soon to be bestie, the wheelchair bound, adrenaline junkie and healer, Priya Kapoor, the two working together to find Ollie. When she visits the hotbed of criminality that is tent city, ironically named Camelot, where she once lived, she learns that other children have gone missing too. In a narrative in which Ropa intends to save the taken children, she finds herself in a evil and cursed house, astrally visiting the terrors of the dead zone that is everyThere, with its Voykers, the demon guardians, encounters the midnight milkman, struggling to successfully practice the magical creation of fire before having to engage in the fight of her life in the thrilling finale. This was a joy to read, I loved the mix of Zimbabwean and Scottish magic and culture, the alternative Edinburgh is both recognisable and alien in equal measure and the offbeat characters are a delight, none more so than the unforgettable, brave and fearless Ropa, old before her years with all the burdens she carries. A hugely entertaining and engaging read that I recommend highly. I look forward with great anticipation to the next in the series. Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Such a splendid story takes place in dreamy Edinburgh, take you to an action packed, mind spinning, riveting journey as magic and spiritual entities waltz at the streets and an occult library with dark secret passages! Ropa who leaves her life, last chance of getting proper education behind to be a ghosttalker: when they whisper to her, she can hear them to help their unfinished businesses. She’s handsomely paid by the families who recently lost the loved ones to connect with them which helps he Such a splendid story takes place in dreamy Edinburgh, take you to an action packed, mind spinning, riveting journey as magic and spiritual entities waltz at the streets and an occult library with dark secret passages! Ropa who leaves her life, last chance of getting proper education behind to be a ghosttalker: when they whisper to her, she can hear them to help their unfinished businesses. She’s handsomely paid by the families who recently lost the loved ones to connect with them which helps her to make ends meet. She has every trait as a badass heroine, bold, quick witted, sarcastic, smart but also kind hearted, generous. Her lovely grandma and her sweet, independent, stubborn sister, her clever and intimidating bestie Priya are remarkable supporting character and reading the relationship dynamics between them is also quite fun! Complex world building makes you questioning your whereabouts: post apocalyptic future or sometime in the past Scotland chose to be at the wrong side of the war and the kingdom is struggling to gather its power to rise from its ashes! So far I had amazing time with creative world building, layered, well crafted characters, impressive concoction of magic and spirits’ universe at the underground life of Edinburg and the blood freezing, claustrophobic atmosphere were hooking elements make you addicted to the story! The conclusion is foreseeable from miles away but the result is still satisfying! I’m giving my four paranormal, surprising, entertaining, magical, fast pacing, Scottish stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan/ Tor- Forge for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    "Curiosity's killed cats, but they never mentioned kids." Although it took me about 100 pages to really start caring about the story and where it was about to go, once I was hooked it was a blast. This book is a bit of a weirdo at first, but then you get to know nit a little better and come to like all the things that make it weird. It's your friend now, quirks and all, and you want to protect it at all costs. Or that's how I felt about the characters anyway. Really, they're a lovely bunch and th "Curiosity's killed cats, but they never mentioned kids." Although it took me about 100 pages to really start caring about the story and where it was about to go, once I was hooked it was a blast. This book is a bit of a weirdo at first, but then you get to know nit a little better and come to like all the things that make it weird. It's your friend now, quirks and all, and you want to protect it at all costs. Or that's how I felt about the characters anyway. Really, they're a lovely bunch and the beating heart of this book. There's our big-hearted, no-bullshit heroine who had to grow up way too quickly. There's her gran who is honestly the best and the stubborn but cute little sister. And then there's her new friend, Priya, who has got the looks and the brains and also scares me a little. And I'm getting strong queer vibes from her as well as the main character. I was also absolutely here for the impromptu ghost bake-off with the cute gay couple. 20% ridiculous and 80% sweet. Now I also fell in love with this book because it's set in one of my favourite places in the world: Edinburgh. I miss this city so much and I could imagine it all play out so well because I've walked the same streets as our main character. Nostalgia alert. The author is also pretty talented at explaining abstract concepts and even manages to make them sound fun. It's a mix of science and magic and I'm seriously impressed by the author's creativity, because I could never. But the magical system seems very well constructed and did great things for the world-building. One of the book's weaker points is its predictability but I honestly wasn't bothered by that. I feel like the real essence of the book lies in its writing and characters and it takes the pressure off the plot somewhat. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy the plot, because I really did, but I immediately clocked the villain. It was seriously exciting despite that and this might as well be my favourite car/wheelchair chase ever. I can't believe that I now have to wait a year or more to read the sequel and I hope there will be many of those. Cause this is some Terry Pratchett/Ben Aaronovitch shit. Find more of my books on Instagram

  4. 4 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Library of the Dead in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to T.L. Huchu and Tor Books. The Library of the Dead is the first entry in the Edinburgh Nights series. Throughout the book, we follow a 14-year-old dreadlocked punkish youth called Ropa. Ropa works as a ghostalker, using her unique skills and her mbira (an African musical instrument) to converse with the many deceased of this alternative Edinburgh. Passing messages from the dead to the liv I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Library of the Dead in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to T.L. Huchu and Tor Books. The Library of the Dead is the first entry in the Edinburgh Nights series. Throughout the book, we follow a 14-year-old dreadlocked punkish youth called Ropa. Ropa works as a ghostalker, using her unique skills and her mbira (an African musical instrument) to converse with the many deceased of this alternative Edinburgh. Passing messages from the dead to the living and banishing unruly spectres are just a few of the tasks that would appear on a professional ghostalker's CV. She has to get paid for such duties after all as her caravan's rent, where she lives with her gran, sister and her pet fox, doesn't come cheap. I was particularly impressed with Ropa's voice as the MC. Her thoughts and feelings are expressed in the first person present tense and, although it took me a little while to get used to this style, I found it kooky and a joy to read. Ropa's a witty and likeable protagonist who often uses Scottish dialect and slang in a similar way to the style that charmed me as a youth when I would read Oor Wullie comics. Ropa being young, energetic and using some youth-speak makes her an endearing lead to follow. The Library of the Dead features dark themes, gruesome happenings, otherworldly monsters, and supernatural horrors yet, because of Ropa; I believe that it could be enjoyed by both adult and YA readers alike. The action takes place in an alternate Edinburgh that features slums, violence, poverty, and magic. It is set after an event known as the catastrophe and although it is hinted at that this could be slightly in the future, the whole atmosphere has an almost 80's vibe to it, but with mobile phones. With the paranormal, the unknown, and magic lurking within the novel, there are also other planes of existence that can be frequented by those with the necessary skillset. One of these is known as the EveryThere which has a definite Stranger Things' Upside Down feel to it. There are some moments that take place there that stood out in my mind but I am hoping to see more of it in future books. It's a distorted and stifling place where time and gravity don't exist and it is full of shuffling forlorn spirits and guardian demons know as Voykors. Another standout section in this well-crafted and sometimes warped world is later on in the novel. It's a great segment that has trippy modern-day Grimm fairy tale feel to it and introduces the incredibly creepy sounding Midnight Milkman. The titular Library of the Dead is pretty intriguing too and in the next books, I want to find out more regarding what happens there and the exclusive individuals who frequent the establishment. My reading experience with The Library of the Dead was mostly positive. After I got used to the writing style I found that I really enjoyed the tale's feel. One minor criticism I have is that I found some of the chapters at the beginning, when the novel's groundwork was being set, to be a bit stuttering and plodding and I wasn't completely "all in" until the 90-page mark. To conclude, I'll say that The Library of the Dead is an enjoyable dark urban fantasy tale that is set in a nicely depicted alternate Edinburgh, with a great lead character and a vibrant supporting cast. To say that this is a debut release though means that a lot of plaudits should go to Huchu here for what he's accomplished. There are many great elements to this novel which I've mentioned throughout the review but it doesn't quite live up to the lofty heights of the concept and what the blurb presents the book as. The Library of the Dead works perfectly as a standalone with everything wrapping up expertly with enough intriguing hints and ideas of what is to come in the follow-up. Will I continue reading this series? Yes, probably. Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would as I give it a well-earned 7/10 rating.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    Fourteen year old Ropa lives with her Gran and younger sister, Izwi. She’s got green dreadlocks, black lipstick and a sizeable chip on her shoulder. She’s also a ghostalker. Me personally, I find the whole haunting business a bit pathetic. But a girl’s got to pay the bills, so Ropa delivers messages from ghosts to their loved ones. Things have gotten a bit complicated recently because a particular ghost refuses to play by the terms and conditions. Their son is missing and they can’t move on un Fourteen year old Ropa lives with her Gran and younger sister, Izwi. She’s got green dreadlocks, black lipstick and a sizeable chip on her shoulder. She’s also a ghostalker. Me personally, I find the whole haunting business a bit pathetic. But a girl’s got to pay the bills, so Ropa delivers messages from ghosts to their loved ones. Things have gotten a bit complicated recently because a particular ghost refuses to play by the terms and conditions. Their son is missing and they can’t move on until they know he’s okay. The problem is, this ghost doesn’t have any money and Ropa isn’t in the business of handing out charity. I had trouble connecting with Ropa when I first met her. She is both book and street smart, but her book smarts can appear at odds with the slang and crass language she uses at times. Life hasn’t been easy for Ropa and as a result she’s built a fairly impenetrable wall around her. She softens when she’s around her family and you get to see another side of her when she’s with her friends but in the beginning she came across as someone I didn’t think I’d be able to get to know. ‘Meh. Tough world, get with the program.’ This book has ghosts, magic and a mysterious library, which is a pretty happy trifecta in my eyes. I met plenty of ghosts and got a taste of the magic that exists in Ropa’s Edinburgh but the reality of this book diverged from my expectations at times. I had hoped to spend a great deal more time in the library. Hopefully it will be given more page time as the series progresses. The mystery was more prominent than I’d expected but I got sucked into it quite quickly. Although my expectations didn’t entirely line up with reality, I ended up really enjoying this read (once I got used to Ropa’s abrasiveness). There are some characters I took to immediately and others that I don’t feel I know well enough to be able to form a strong opinion about yet. I loved Gran and look forward to getting to know her more as the series progresses. She’s someone who brings warmth and wisdom. ‘It’s in the most trying times, when we ourselves have nothing, that we mustn’t forget there are higher virtues like compassion, kindness and solidarity. Doing something when it is hard, because it is the right thing to do, matters more than doing it when it’s easy.’ However, I didn’t get much of a sense of Izwi’s personality. I’m fairly certain Jomo will begin to feel like more than a means to an end in future books but so far he hasn’t made a huge impression on me. Making up for him was Priya, who’s fearless and fantastic. I can’t wait to hang out with her again. Ropa’s world is quite dark and there’s hints about the “catastrophe” that shook things up, but I anticipate there is a lot more information to come. I wondered if pop culture no longer exists here as many of the references aren’t current, even now. The mystery of this book is solved but there’s a lot more this world has to offer. I’m hoping future books will allow me to spend more time in the library, teach me more of its magic, introduce me to many more ghosts and give me a lot more Gran and Priya time. Quote of the book: ‘I’m just getting to like you; don’t die stupidly on me now.’ Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, for the opportunity to read this book. Blog - https://schizanthusnerd.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The Library of the dead is the first book in the series of Edinburgh nights by T. L. Huchu, The story set in apocalyptic Edinburgh follows 14-year-old dreadlocked Ropa Moyo a ghost talker that lives with her blind grandmother and her sister Izwi in a caravan. She goes out at night and earns money delivering messages from the dead to their loved ones. Money to pay the rent keeping the landlord away from the door. When she asked by one of the dead Nicola who has recently be deceased to find her son The Library of the dead is the first book in the series of Edinburgh nights by T. L. Huchu, The story set in apocalyptic Edinburgh follows 14-year-old dreadlocked Ropa Moyo a ghost talker that lives with her blind grandmother and her sister Izwi in a caravan. She goes out at night and earns money delivering messages from the dead to their loved ones. Money to pay the rent keeping the landlord away from the door. When she asked by one of the dead Nicola who has recently be deceased to find her son Oliver who has been missing. Ropa’s friend Jomo had got has got a job in The Library of the dead. He is supposed to sworn to secrecy, but he shows Ropa the library in the deep underground of the city where Ropa is introduced to Magic. I really finding it hard to describe this book. It’s different to anything that I have read before in a good way. It’s quite mad. Ropa is a confident girl that knows her own mind. She is also family orientated and will do anything for her family. She is brave and good in what she does. I quite enjoyed this first book in the series and am curious to see how it will develop.

  7. 5 out of 5

    S A M | The Book in Hand

    As usual this review an be foundHERE and all of my other reviews an be found HERE. Here are a few things you can expect from this book: An main character with a HUGE personality and a wee bit of a potty mouth; A fun adventure read; A truly fascinating world; and dark happenings you didn’t quite expect. On to the full review… The Library of the Dead was such a fun and wild ride, Ropa is the bread and butter of this story. She such an interested kid with so much charisma and personality you cant help but As usual this review an be foundHERE and all of my other reviews an be found HERE. Here are a few things you can expect from this book: An main character with a HUGE personality and a wee bit of a potty mouth; A fun adventure read; A truly fascinating world; and dark happenings you didn’t quite expect. On to the full review… The Library of the Dead was such a fun and wild ride, Ropa is the bread and butter of this story. She such an interested kid with so much charisma and personality you cant help but love her spunk! I can’t lie, I do like the whole reluctant hero from time to time, and Ropa was such a fresh take on it. It was the same old trope but because Ropa is such a character and the people that surround her are just as great it didn’t feel repetitive. I love that Ropa was this quirky and clever girl, her situation is not to great and she makes do with what she can in a world which doesn’t give you anything, so seeing that despite her struggles she still had a heart of gold was endearing to say the least. The Library of the Dead also has some quite dark moments, despite its almost joyous feel the world is dark, bad things happen and it does not shy from bloody violence when the story requires it. I think the decrepit world that Huchu has created is great, it was fun imagining this world and all the ghosts that fill it. It has dystopia feels and you can tell that the Scotland of this story is not in a good place, it has unjust and scummy police, gangs and clans and so much more. It is a truly fascinating world Huchu has created. Then infuse that with magic and the paranormal it becomes quite a unique setting. It was fun to see the way the Scottish people live and work in this world, and how the dead still have their roles to play, although some encounters really didn’t feel necessary for the story they were a good tell of what the world was like and how it operated. Which leads me to what I think is the main weakness of this book. Its plot. It is quite uneven at times, and as I said has full sections of unnecessary encounters, while they are still fun to read because Ropa is amazing they just weren’t necessary. Though this book is definitely a character driven book it isn’t my typical character driven book, you can feel the youth of Ropa and her cynicism is fun too but it isn’t a deep and complex character story. However, she is a young 14 year old lass and her character and its development was amazing and appropriate to that. I quite liked the magic within this story too, I didn’t really expect it to be so scientific or structured, when dealing with the ghosts and ghouls is felt quite soft and easy, a little whimsical but this is not the case as we find out when Ropa begins learning it in more depth. Overall, this was such a fun read set in a unique world, it is a clear page turner and will have you laughing, cursing and even feeling all warm and fuzzy! Ropa is a distinctive and utterly brilliant main character, she was a joy to read as she is just the right amount of bad mouthed, kookiness you will no doubt love. THE RANKS: BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE I would pick this up in either audiobook or the eBook for this book, it is a great debut and worth a read, especially in the spooky season. The audiobook is fab and really adds to Ropa's already distinct voice. ORDER HERE: Audible | Hardcover | Kindle | Bookshop.org You can also find Book Recaps and Bookish Lists over at my blog The Book in Hand

  8. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    The Library of the Dead is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series, and I guarantee that if you read this book, you will be dying to read the next! Fourteen-year-old, Ropa sees dead people! No, she is not that kid from The Sixth Sense, she is a ghostalker. What!?! Yes, she does not just see them, she communicates with them as well. Ropa has dropped out of school and speaks to the dead of Edinburgh with the help of her Mbira (African Musical Instrument). She carries their messages to their l The Library of the Dead is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series, and I guarantee that if you read this book, you will be dying to read the next! Fourteen-year-old, Ropa sees dead people! No, she is not that kid from The Sixth Sense, she is a ghostalker. What!?! Yes, she does not just see them, she communicates with them as well. Ropa has dropped out of school and speaks to the dead of Edinburgh with the help of her Mbira (African Musical Instrument). She carries their messages to their living relatives who pay her for her services. Sounds easy enough right? Wrong, there are obstacles in her way and she often has to leave her physical body behind to travel to other realms.... How!?! You will need to read to find out more! Why drop out of school to become a ghostalker? Why not? No, seriously, rent is expensive, and bills must be paid! Ropa pays for the caravan that she, her Gran and younger sister live in. When the dead begin to whisper about someone taking children on her turf, Ropa feels obligated to investigate. If you think this is going to be an easy feat - THINK AGAIN! Along the way she will journey deeper into Edinburgh’s underbelly, visit an occult library, rely on Zimbabwean magic, and rely on her courage. She will come up against things that will make dementors look docile. She is on the hunt for answers but along the way will the hunter become the hunted. This was such an immersive and fun book. If you read the synopsis and think that this might not be your cup of tea, please stop and reconsider this book. Ropa is such a spunky, tough, sarcastic, funny and street-smart character. She thinks fast on her feet, shows bravery and warmth. This book is also full of interesting and quirky characters -including her Gram, her fox (YES!), her friends and even the not so pleasant characters. The Author builds mounting tension at the same time building alternative realms. This book is atmospheric and dark, yet not too dark. It will please both YA and Adult readers. This book is interesting, and I could not quite figure out when it takes place, is this an alternate Edinburgh or Edinburgh set sometime in the future after a catastrophe. Either way, when Ropa mentions old movies it is hilarious. Her sarcasm and whit really bring some light and fun to this darker book. Another plus of this book is how the Author was able to create the location and other realm without being too wordy or losing me in the process. I could imagine just what the author was describing in chilling detail. I read most of this book in one day as I did not want to put this book down. It is a little bit different, who am I kidding, it is a lot different, and I loved turning out my world to enter this one. Imaginative, creative, dark, creepy and sinister. What a great start to a new series! I cannot wait to see the main characters of this book again! If you don’t want to start a series, this book does work as a standalone. It's magical! This book was highly entertaining and pray you do not get lost in the alternate worlds as you leave your world behind to enter The Library of the Dead! Thank you to Macmillan - Tor and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fabienne Schwizer

    Now, the most important thing to note about The Library of the Dead is that it’s more on the YA side of things than the blurb lets on. Ropa is fourteen, something that I had to keep reminding myself throughout the course of the story, as her character felt older to me – if I hadn’t had the age on the page I would have placed her in her late teens to early twenties. But she is a wonderful main character. Jaded, fearless and immortal as only teenagers are. She is also smart, pragmatic and creative Now, the most important thing to note about The Library of the Dead is that it’s more on the YA side of things than the blurb lets on. Ropa is fourteen, something that I had to keep reminding myself throughout the course of the story, as her character felt older to me – if I hadn’t had the age on the page I would have placed her in her late teens to early twenties. But she is a wonderful main character. Jaded, fearless and immortal as only teenagers are. She is also smart, pragmatic and creative. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story from her perspective. The Library of the Dead is full of interesting characters – aside from Ropa, I loved Priya, a wheel-chair bound young woman whom she meets in the eponymous library, Rob, the leader of a band of criminals, or Wilson, henchman supreme. There are layers to all of them, and the brand of urban fantasy found in The Library of the Dead is a far cry from the bland fare often associated with the genre. This series is a breath of fresh air combining Zimbabwean magic (a culture which I don’t think I’ve seen represented before) with a Scottish setting and a wonderful library. I am looking forward to reading more of this series, and finding out how Ropa’s story continues after the mystery of The Library of the Dead is solved. My favourite part of this volume was the setting, so I am intrigued to find out more about the library and the knowledge contained therein, although Ropa, her grandmother, and their brand of ghost talking are just as interesting for future stories.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    We’re on the home stretch of Bingo, and I needed something with a ghost. So when I saw that the protagonist of this book could talk to ghosts, I made the logical leap that the book probably featured ghosts, so off I went. Thanks to Tor for the ARC. Unfortunately, a bingo square is probably the most I’m getting out of this. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it didn’t interest me enough that I want to read book 2. Ropa is a ghost talker, who (since she dropped out of school) makes her living relaying messa We’re on the home stretch of Bingo, and I needed something with a ghost. So when I saw that the protagonist of this book could talk to ghosts, I made the logical leap that the book probably featured ghosts, so off I went. Thanks to Tor for the ARC. Unfortunately, a bingo square is probably the most I’m getting out of this. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it didn’t interest me enough that I want to read book 2. Ropa is a ghost talker, who (since she dropped out of school) makes her living relaying messages from the deceased. Sometimes this involves finding out what is necessary to make a ghost stop haunting a place, sometimes it involves dealing with the classical “unfinished business,” sometimes it involves passing on a departed grandmother’s recipe for Battenberg. Ropa taking a job always involves her giving the ghost the legally required disclaimer about the fee-for-services, and it’s generally up to the recipient of the message to pay Ropa’s fee. The plot is centered on one ghost who keeps pestering Ropa about her missing son, despite Ropa telling her repeatedly that she’s not delivering a message if no one is going to pay for it. I don’t consider it a spoiler that eventually Ropa does take the case on pro bono. It’s a classic setup for a story (I firmly believe there’s no such thing as cliches, only boring authors), and Ropa is a lot of fun. She reminds me a lot of Teagan Frost from The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford, which is a good thing. She’s cynical, sarcastic, and takes absolutely no shit from anyone. She’s hugely devoted to her little sister and grandmother. All in all, she’s really easy to like. Other points of interest in the story: ghosttalking is apparently a government licensed profession. Ropa at one point finds her way into Edinburgh’s secret Library of the Dead and starts learning magic. A few decades before the story, there was some kind of catastrophe that left Edinburgh as the capital of a greatly reduced Britain ruled by a true (and somewhat tyrannical) King, not just a figurehead. It’s not quite a dystopia, but it’s close. And there is set-up for an overarching story, only tangentially related to the missing kids mystery. If that sounds like a lot of things filed under “other points of interest,” it’s because it is. This book suffers from a bad case of Worldbuilder’s Syndrome, which is my term for a book where the author had a bunch of cool ideas and couldn’t bear to leave them out. Many of the elements of this book could have been lifted straight out with no changes required to the story, and that’s something of a problem. It is well-written, but a comparison to the early Dresden Files doesn’t seem inappropriate. If I hear a few books down the line that the series has found its feet I might pick it up again, but for the present I’m not going to worry about it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    With bright green dreadlocks and black lipstick, 14 year old Ropa Moyo is no ordinary teenage girl. With a mouth on her like a sailor and a fox for a pet I straight away knew that we were going to get along nicely! Set in Edinburgh but not the city we know and love, a city that has suffered a catastrophe that has turned it into a shadow of its former glory. Ropa lives with her grandmother and younger sister, she roams the streets at night talking to the departed. She earns her keep carrying messa With bright green dreadlocks and black lipstick, 14 year old Ropa Moyo is no ordinary teenage girl. With a mouth on her like a sailor and a fox for a pet I straight away knew that we were going to get along nicely! Set in Edinburgh but not the city we know and love, a city that has suffered a catastrophe that has turned it into a shadow of its former glory. Ropa lives with her grandmother and younger sister, she roams the streets at night talking to the departed. She earns her keep carrying messages from the dead to the living. This is how she meets Nicola. Nicola is recently dead however how very much alive son Ollie has went missing, despite some initial concerns Ropa decides to help her leading her to the discovery of children with the life practically sucked out off them. Their youthful faces a husk of their former youthful selves. She may only be 14 but she is determined to get to the bottom of this but this also leads her to another strange discovery. Her friend Jomo has a new job, a job that he is sworn to secrecy about and of course being a teenager he sneaks Ropa in. To her surprise she finds out he works in the most bonkers magical occult library hidden deep underground and she starts to discover that along with talking to ghosts her next talent could be magic. This book is bonkers but in a good way, Ropa is the kind of friend you want, she is loyal and determined. Her journey across Edinburgh leads her from haunted houses to my absolute favourite scene. Ropa is chased along with her wheelchair bound friend Priya through the steep streets of Edinburgh by a milk float, an electric milk float helmed by a crazed milkman! Its terrific stuff and as someone who has traversed the cities steep streets it did make me laugh at the thought of this chase down some of the steepest steps in the city. It was brilliant. I also loved the joining of her Scottish ways with the more mystical Zimbabwean side of her. The Library of the Dead has certainly set the scene for the next book in the series, there are a lot of unanswered questions such as I’d like to know more about why Edinburgh is a shadow of its former self which I hope will be answered in books to come. I think fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Jasper Fforde and Terry Pratchett will enjoy this, it was a perfect, fantastical romp through Auld Reekie. Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    About an Edinburgh ghost talker, ooh

  13. 5 out of 5

    Missy (myweereads)

    “Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.” T. L. Huchu invites the reader into this magical realm for risky adventure. Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now 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 honour-bound to “Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.” T. L. Huchu invites the reader into this magical realm for risky adventure. Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now 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 honour-bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world. This novel is being described as a cross between Rivers of London and Stranger Things. It definitely carried similarities but this first novel in the Edinburgh Nights series delivers a story which will keep you hooked. It was impossible to put down because of the very familiar setting to me and also the characters. The relationships between them and their strength to cope with everything they are dealt with by keeping in mind their traditions was fascinating to read. A brilliant concept told in a way that will leave you wanting more.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    https://thecaffeinatedreader.com/2021... First off, it did take me a few chapters to realize this was a dystopia setting, but once realizing that I was pretty happy about that lol. The protagonist has a wonderfully distinctive voice, you will not ever not know when she is speaking or who she is in the book. Edinburgh is very different in this dystopia future and as a one-time resident of there and of Scotland for a while, it was still fun to see what things Huchu kept and what they changed. While t https://thecaffeinatedreader.com/2021... First off, it did take me a few chapters to realize this was a dystopia setting, but once realizing that I was pretty happy about that lol. The protagonist has a wonderfully distinctive voice, you will not ever not know when she is speaking or who she is in the book. Edinburgh is very different in this dystopia future and as a one-time resident of there and of Scotland for a while, it was still fun to see what things Huchu kept and what they changed. While there was this great vibrancy to our MC, Ropa, and a super creative dystopia look at Edinburgh, I did find myself easily distracted by trying to figure out how things worked out in this dystopia. Because it took me so long to figure it out (which is probably a me problem and not the Author’s problem lol) I was a bit confused and while that confusion lessened, I was still left with feeling that this was not ready yet to be a developed world. The magic was the most developed and best part of it in my opinion and I loved Ropa’s family and her personality so much. The plot was intriguing but took a really long time to get some steam to it but I was still interested. I wanted answers, just like Ropa! I think this shows a lot of promise and could be a pretty good series/trilogy/duology whatever it is Huchu intends it to be. 3.5/5 cups of coffee from me. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shijia

    I don't even know where to begin with this book! This story follows Ropa, a fourteen-year-old girl who leaves school to become a ghost talker so she can support her little sister and grandmother. It's set in a dystopian Edinburgh, that is just so well-written and the cold, wintery vibes were just so present that I instantly fell in love with this book. Firstly, the plot was just so good! It gave me Stranger Things, Scooby Doo gang and a dash of dark academia vibes, which made for a highly enjoyabl I don't even know where to begin with this book! This story follows Ropa, a fourteen-year-old girl who leaves school to become a ghost talker so she can support her little sister and grandmother. It's set in a dystopian Edinburgh, that is just so well-written and the cold, wintery vibes were just so present that I instantly fell in love with this book. Firstly, the plot was just so good! It gave me Stranger Things, Scooby Doo gang and a dash of dark academia vibes, which made for a highly enjoyable story. There is a mysterious entity involved, a haunted house/farm, a creepy library where EARS are used as 'library cards'- YES EARS! HOW FRIKIN' COOL IS THAT?? Also, this book is NOT MIDDLE-GRADE despite the young protagonist. Ropa is fierce, brave and is not afraid to fight back. She uses an 'mbira' (which is a musical instrument) to talk to ghosts and pass on messages to the living. She's so sassy- i love it. But she is also a morally grey character which is literally the best thing ever, because her actions in the story are both questionable as well as honourable? I just love her so much and I need to find some fan-art because green dreadlocks and black lipstick?? my girl truly has it all figured out :') There are also other characters that I fell instantly in love with. We have Priya, who is also a member of the library and is a wheelchair user who may or may not be bisexual and I am HERE FOR IT, plus Jomo, a former classmate of Ropa's, who I think is a little bit in love with her, maybe? And don't even get me started on the action. Like ZIMBABWEAN MAGIC ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? TRIPS TO THE AFTERLIFE?? I need more of this world ASAP because I am well and truly addicted :D The only thing that lacked was the actual library of the dead in question. But I honestly don't mind because this is going to be a series, so there is definitely more time for it to be in the next books!!!!! PLEASE GO READ THIS I SWEAR YOU WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME

  16. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    The thing about the dead is that you can never bring them back. On my blog. Actual rating 3.5 Rep: Scottish Zimbabwean mc and side characters, Scottish Tanzanian side characters, Scottish Indian wheelchair user side character, gay side characters Galley provided by publisher I first heard about this book from Ben Aaronovitch and, because Rivers of London is one of my favourite series, and this sounded very much in a similar vein, of course I had to pick it up. And, really, if you like urban p The thing about the dead is that you can never bring them back. On my blog. Actual rating 3.5 Rep: Scottish Zimbabwean mc and side characters, Scottish Tanzanian side characters, Scottish Indian wheelchair user side character, gay side characters Galley provided by publisher I first heard about this book from Ben Aaronovitch and, because Rivers of London is one of my favourite series, and this sounded very much in a similar vein, of course I had to pick it up. And, really, if you like urban paranormal fantasy, then this book is going to be it for you. It is, in turns, a brilliantly compelling mystery, laugh out loud funny, and absolutely terrifying (although this last may be because I am very easily scared). The Library of the Dead follows Ropa, a ghosttalker, who is asked to investigate the disappearance of a boy by his mother’s ghost. In doing so, she finds that someone in Edinburgh is bewitching children, for some unknown reason, and that she is the only person who cares enough to find out why. What hooks you first off with this book is the voice of the narrator. Ropa has such a distinct and fun narration style you won’t want to put the book down. But it’s not just her voice that catches you — she is just an excellent protagonist all round. You know exactly what drives her and why, and you can’t help but sympathise with her so easily. And that distinctness is also present in the surrounding cast, enhanced by Ropa’s — often irreverent — commentary. Each dynamic presents something new, and there are some, which you only get hints of in this book, that you just need to know more about (Ropa and Callander for one. I’m a massive fan of the reluctant mentor trope). On top of this, you have a fast, action-packed plot (read it for the milk float chase scene!!) that twists and turns and keeps you on your toes. It is, to be honest, the perfect book for me (if a little gorier than I was anticipating). And, when it’s over, it leaves you with a burning desire to know just what happens next, because there’s still more questions to be answered. All of which to say, of course, that if you don’t pick this book up when it comes out in 2021, you’re really going to be missing out.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Williams

    3.5 of 5 stars Mixed Feelings for this one - I enjoyed it but also had a few issues 3.5 of 5 stars https://lynns-books.com/2021/02/08/th... The Library of the Dead – I want to hug you and slap you. In some respects I think this is just great, in other respects, I have questions and issues. Let’s look at the plot first. So, this feels like a near future urban fantasy. There has been an event known as the ‘Catastrophe’ but I can’t really speak with confidence about what this really involved. Based in E 3.5 of 5 stars Mixed Feelings for this one - I enjoyed it but also had a few issues 3.5 of 5 stars https://lynns-books.com/2021/02/08/th... The Library of the Dead – I want to hug you and slap you. In some respects I think this is just great, in other respects, I have questions and issues. Let’s look at the plot first. So, this feels like a near future urban fantasy. There has been an event known as the ‘Catastrophe’ but I can’t really speak with confidence about what this really involved. Based in Edinburgh we follow a character called Ropa. A young woman who, well, ‘sees dead people’. She also talks to them and relays messages to their living relatives or loved ones, providing her fee is met. Ropa is stalked by ‘others’. They’re all on her case to pass on messages, the dead are just as bad as the living sometimes in that they’re trying to pull a fast one so Ropa has learned to harden her shell a little. However, when she is repeatedly approached by a spirit worried about her son’s disappearance, payment or not, she is eventually cajoled into delving deeper, at which point it appears that more children are disappearing mysteriously, sometimes returning, but never without terrible outcomes. Okay, firstly the good. The writing is excellent. It took me a little time to get into the dialect but I loved it regardless. I loved being in the City of Edinburgh. I confess this is a city that I would love to visit and so spending time here through the pages of a book is most welcome. I liked Ropa. This is a character that I can definitely develop an attachment to, she is basically responsible, unselfish and tough. She’s not some sort of badass character but she has learnt her lessons on the streets from an early age and she is tough enough. The likable. I liked the magic. The supporting cast of characters. I loved Ropa’s background and her grandmom’s magical teachings. I really enjoyed that she speaks to spirits by using a musical instrument. I liked the juxtaposition of two different magic strategies. An almost earth style magic practiced by Ropa which feels very natural and elemental compared to a very book learned magic taught at the library that does feel a little more rigid – although both work. I liked the supporting cast of characters. Priya and Jomo are definitely characters that I can see myself liking. I also love the way this story is just so easily inclusive, this is definitely the sort of writing and plotting that I can get behind because it’s effortless and natural – or at least that’s the way it appeared to me. The perplexing. Not sure what the ‘catastrophe’ is. This book is earning the monica of ‘dystopian’ but it doesn’t feel like that to me to be honest. Yes, this is a city of extremes. Some people living in abject poverty, gang crime being prevalent. Perhaps the event mentioned is what led to the magic and spirits, not to mention different ‘planes’ being released upon the population. Also, this has a YA theme to it in some respects. Ropa is a young teenager with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Look, some people have a tough call in life so I can get on board with Ropa being only 14 or so, but at the same time it does take a little getting used to – well in that in my head I was reading her as a slightly older character. The grim. The theme here is a bit grim without doubt. In fact I can’t deny that I found it shocking in parts. This is centred around young children being stolen away for quite horrible purposes. It is shocking without doubt. In the same respect – the ‘Milkman’ – I think this author may have come up with a truly hideous antagonist to give most a run for their money and it makes me want to read more to see what happens next. The criticisms. Well, firstly, I just have to mention the use of Library of the Dead for the title. I can’t deny that this gave me a completely different expectation than was actually the reality. Okay, I’m going to address the elephant in the room. There seems to be a trend of chucking the word ‘library’ into a title because it will appeal to bibliophiles, and it does. It really does. Put ‘library’ into the title and you pretty much have my attention. At the same time though – I want that library to deliver on the promise The library here, as interesting as it is – is not where the dead are rushing around and in fact this is much more a city wide investigation. This is a library of magic and the occult, and there are things to be learnt here (duh, library) but it’s not where the majority of the story takes place and it is definitely not where the dead make their appearances (although this does have a ‘safe place’ type of feel which I do appreciate and understand). Secondly, I think that some of the themes here are quite adult, and yet at the same time this has a YA feel. Personally speaking, I don’t think this is YA – at the same time it gives me pause for thought about why have a 14 year old pov character. I can only deduce that we’re going to grow into this story and character as the series progresses. On the whole. I think this had a slightly slow start, but was interesting and snappy enough in other ways to keep my attention. Plus, I always give new series a little leeway as they have to deliver a certain amount of information whilst remaining entertaining. I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion. I would rate this 7 out of 10 or 3.5 of 5 and this would be on the higher side so in terms of Goodreads this would work out at 4 of 5.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bertie (LuminosityLibrary)

    The Library of the Dead was an incredibly wild ride. There are so many things to love about this book, but the pacing was sometimes strange and left me feeling a little bit lost. First of all, the characters are so much fun. I loved Ropa, her friends, and her family. They all feel like complex people with larger-than-life personalities it's easy to adore. The writing style was also a lot of fun, it threw in Ropa's dialect without being overwhelming, and added a lot to her characterisation and th The Library of the Dead was an incredibly wild ride. There are so many things to love about this book, but the pacing was sometimes strange and left me feeling a little bit lost. First of all, the characters are so much fun. I loved Ropa, her friends, and her family. They all feel like complex people with larger-than-life personalities it's easy to adore. The writing style was also a lot of fun, it threw in Ropa's dialect without being overwhelming, and added a lot to her characterisation and the overall feel of the story. Although this book follows a teenager it's not young adult. The Library of the Dead was a lot darker than I was first expecting. The author manages to pack in a ton of heavy-hitting themes, and Ropa's life is anything but easy. I'm very appreciative that it's also filled with lighter moments to stop the darkness becoming suffocating. What stopped me from fully enjoying this book was the shift in pacing. The beginning was very slow, and I thought I understood where the story was going. The second half blew that all out of the water and was filled with lots of strange and entertaining reveals, but it happened so quickly I could barely keep a grasp on it. I'm also a little sad the library mentioned in the title doesn't play a larger part! Regardless, I enjoyed the journey this book took me on and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. CW: Violence, Death, Kidnapping, Drug Use, Drugs, Police Brutality, Addiction, Poverty. Thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan/Tor for giving me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you enjoy diverse sci-fi, fantasy and horror you should check out my Blog! You could also follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    First off, it did take me a few chapters to realize this was a dystopia setting, but once realizing that I was pretty happy about that lol. The protagonist has a wonderfully distinctive voice, you will not ever not know when she is speaking or who she is in the book. Edinburgh is very different in this dystopia future and as a one-time resident of there and of Scotland for a while, it was still fun to see what things Huchu kept and what they changed. While there was this great vibrancy to our MC, First off, it did take me a few chapters to realize this was a dystopia setting, but once realizing that I was pretty happy about that lol. The protagonist has a wonderfully distinctive voice, you will not ever not know when she is speaking or who she is in the book. Edinburgh is very different in this dystopia future and as a one-time resident of there and of Scotland for a while, it was still fun to see what things Huchu kept and what they changed. While there was this great vibrancy to our MC, Ropa, and a super creative dystopia look at Edinburgh, I did find myself easily distracted by trying to figure out how things worked out in this dystopia. Because it took me so long to figure it out (which is probably a me problem and not the Author's problem lol) I was a bit confused and while that confusion lessened, I was still left with feeling that this was not ready yet to be a developed world. The magic was the most developed and best part of it in my opinion and I loved Ropa's family and her personality so much. The plot was intriguing but took a really long time to get some steam to it but I was still interested. I wanted answers, just like Ropa! I think this shows a lot of promise and could be a pretty good series/trilogy/duology whatever it is Huchu intends it to be. 3.5/5 cups of coffee from me. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    The Library of the Dead is such a fun adventure, perfect for the autumn season with ghosts and spooky hijinks abound. We follow Ropa, a young girl with a huge personality who works as a go between for ghosts and their loved ones and insists she is only in it for the money. Ropa relucantly gets pulled into helping search for some missing children, who keep vanishing and then showing up with aged heads but normal bodies. This book is a wild ride, the ghost aspects are really cool leading to some su The Library of the Dead is such a fun adventure, perfect for the autumn season with ghosts and spooky hijinks abound. We follow Ropa, a young girl with a huge personality who works as a go between for ghosts and their loved ones and insists she is only in it for the money. Ropa relucantly gets pulled into helping search for some missing children, who keep vanishing and then showing up with aged heads but normal bodies. This book is a wild ride, the ghost aspects are really cool leading to some surprisingly wholesome moments as well as an exciting plot with the missing children as well as a mysterious drug appearing on the market. Ropa is such an interetsing main character, she has a lot of spunk but obviously has a secret heart of gold, deeply caring about her grandmother and little sister. Her situation is also quite sad, as she is in charge of getting the money for their landlord, which I think explains why she is so out for herself and just wants the 'green' as she calls it. Ropa also has some great friends that she teams up with, who help mae the story more enjoyable. Overall I thought this was a decent book, I think at some places the writing was not as strong as it could have been and I think this lessened my enjoyment somewhat as well as a slightly basic/predictable plot, however it was still so much fun to read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was initially really intrigued to read this book, libraries and the dead - I thought, great here we go, however, this book flopped for me. The first 13% was really confusing, and I did not understand, then it picked up a bit and we had a mystery, and then we were introduced to The Library of the Dead, but it was at this point that this book felt like re-hashed ideas from other books about libraries, think The Dark Vault and Th Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was initially really intrigued to read this book, libraries and the dead - I thought, great here we go, however, this book flopped for me. The first 13% was really confusing, and I did not understand, then it picked up a bit and we had a mystery, and then we were introduced to The Library of the Dead, but it was at this point that this book felt like re-hashed ideas from other books about libraries, think The Dark Vault and The Library of the Unwritten. Sadly, I think too many people are now trying to do library related books, and this just didn't work. The characters, were boring, and the main character, was rude and also very crude too. It all of a sudden became very New Adult out of nowhere. The ending was really confusing, made no sense, and I was super bored. Unfortunately, I think this book had real potential, but was let down by trying to be too many things. I won't be picking up anymore books by this author. https://katherinereads776459251.wordp...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arie

    Hovering between 3 & 4 stars, because it truly is excellent fun with characters you want to stay with longer, and an intriguing near-future Edinburgh that promises to unravel its secrets slowly over (possibly? hopefully?) many more stories. Settled for the three stars in the end though because in many ways this one does suffer from that first-in-a-series thing, with a little too much build-up and not quite enough fleshing out yet - especially around the titular library. Still, it's a promising b Hovering between 3 & 4 stars, because it truly is excellent fun with characters you want to stay with longer, and an intriguing near-future Edinburgh that promises to unravel its secrets slowly over (possibly? hopefully?) many more stories. Settled for the three stars in the end though because in many ways this one does suffer from that first-in-a-series thing, with a little too much build-up and not quite enough fleshing out yet - especially around the titular library. Still, it's a promising beginning, and I can definitely see why Ben Aaronovitch gives the cover blurb - it's not hard to imagine Ropa crossing paths with Peter Grant in an alternate universe (and wow that would be a fun/wild time for us readers), though the Edinburgh Nights world has plenty of its own quirks.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Mills

    An Edinburgh setting is always a way to make me pick up a book and this one was fantastic. I loved the atmospheric dystopian Edinburgh the author created and the urban fantasy aspect felt very fresh. Ropa was a brilliant main character and so likeable. I'm already looking forward to the next book. An Edinburgh setting is always a way to make me pick up a book and this one was fantastic. I loved the atmospheric dystopian Edinburgh the author created and the urban fantasy aspect felt very fresh. Ropa was a brilliant main character and so likeable. I'm already looking forward to the next book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leonie Hinch

    DNF - This wasn’t really what I was expecting, a lot darker than my usual taste and also dystopian which I wasn’t expecting. Sadly dystopia is not my favourite genre and this made it hard for me to get on with. When it said the setting was modern Edinburgh and the dead I was thinking along the lines of gothic or something like VE Schwab’s City of Bones but for adults, rather than a dystopian sorry this wasn’t for me!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Moray Teale

    I really enjoyed this funny and imaginative fantasy by Huchu. It leans towards other works of urban fantasy, the classics such as Neverwhere but with a sharp contemporary edge largely created by Ropa the 15 year old Scottish Zimbabwean narrator who is chock-full of opinions and wit. Ropa is a ghost-talker trying to keep her gran and younger sister warm and fed and sheltered in a threatening Edinburgh where the city-centre is a no-go area and the city is rife with slums, energy-shortages and gang I really enjoyed this funny and imaginative fantasy by Huchu. It leans towards other works of urban fantasy, the classics such as Neverwhere but with a sharp contemporary edge largely created by Ropa the 15 year old Scottish Zimbabwean narrator who is chock-full of opinions and wit. Ropa is a ghost-talker trying to keep her gran and younger sister warm and fed and sheltered in a threatening Edinburgh where the city-centre is a no-go area and the city is rife with slums, energy-shortages and gangs. Not to mention missing children, dark magic and secret societies. Ropa is brassy, bold and brilliant and her Edinburgh is both alien and recognisable in a post-catastrophe where an unwelcome? tyrannous? king is on the British throne. The question-marks are indicative of the drip-feed nature of Huchu's world-building. Exposition is minimal leaving the reader to try to piece together chance details to understand the background. It could easily be infuriating but it really just made me keen to discover more in the coming books. It's in large part due to the action-packed plot and bold characters that the mystery around the "catastrophe" remains tantalising rather than frustrating. Ropa is ably supported by a cast of supporting characters (almost) as vivdly-drawn as she is from childhood friends, to aloof mentors and ruthless enemies. I'm looking forward to more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    rebecca

    4.5 stars, rounded up Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing a copy of this arc in exchange for an honest review. elevator pitch: In a post-'catastrophe' Edinburgh, Ropa, a Scottish-Zimbabwean teenager, is makes her living passing messages to the living on behalf of the dead, but she's barely scraping by. She becomes embroiled in something much bigger and darker when she starts to look into a missing boy. review: I loved this, but off the bat I'll say it won't be for everyone. The 4.5 stars, rounded up Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing a copy of this arc in exchange for an honest review. elevator pitch: In a post-'catastrophe' Edinburgh, Ropa, a Scottish-Zimbabwean teenager, is makes her living passing messages to the living on behalf of the dead, but she's barely scraping by. She becomes embroiled in something much bigger and darker when she starts to look into a missing boy. review: I loved this, but off the bat I'll say it won't be for everyone. The writing style is very stream-of-conscious, and to me as a Scot, read as very Scottish. I imagine the writing will be off-putting to some - however, I found it very easy to engage with and enjoyable to read. The Zimbabwean and Scottish parts of Ropa's culture are interweaved nicely. I did want more details on the 'catastrophe' that has occurred, the society they live in is not dystopian but nor is it modern day Edinburgh as I expected. It probably falls more under speculative, than dystopian fiction. There's an underground, magical library which gave me some dark academia vibes, though it isn't the focus of the book. Huchu excelled at writing the creepier elements, some of the descriptions had my skin crawling. Overall, I loved Ropa and what we got of the worldbuilding, Huchu has set up a lot of fascinating concepts to play with in the future. Last note: though Ropa is very young, to me the writing skews far more to Adult Fantasy than YA Fantasy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rach A.

    I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Library of the Dead is the start of a fascinating new fantasy series set in a dystopian Edinburgh (my home city, kind of…) and inspired by Zimbabwean magic. It has a really interesting world, but there just wasn’t enough time spent with the most interesting parts for me to love this one. The Library of the Dead follows Ropa, a teen living in a caravan village with her grandmother and sister. Ropa earns money for r I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Library of the Dead is the start of a fascinating new fantasy series set in a dystopian Edinburgh (my home city, kind of…) and inspired by Zimbabwean magic. It has a really interesting world, but there just wasn’t enough time spent with the most interesting parts for me to love this one. The Library of the Dead follows Ropa, a teen living in a caravan village with her grandmother and sister. Ropa earns money for rent by ghosttalking: she delivers messages from ghosts to living people. But when one ghost asks her to find her missing son, Ropa is drawn into a huge conspiracy that is kidnapping children and milking them for youth. The book is definitely on the stranger side. It’s written in a very young (young as in teen/hip/cool) style, and is absolutely full of Scottish slang, Scottish idioms, Scottish ways of saying things. It is set in Edinburgh which is the closest city to where I grew up (I lived in the middle of nowhere) so I loved getting to see all this Scottish history, speech and places. Huchu has done an absolutely brilliant job of writing from the POV of a young Scottish teen: it was hugely reminiscent of my childhood, and of pretty much every single conversation I have with everyone back home whenever I talk to them. Unfortunately, I have come to the realisation that the way we Scottish people talk is INFURIATING. How do people put up with us using the word like every two sentences?! Look, Huchu did such a great job getting it sound so realistic, but I just didn’t really get on board with it because it kept annoying me. I think a lot of the annoyance possibly came from the stream of consciousness style first person POV. This is obviously just not a style I jig with, it felt like so much unecessary and random commentary on events. But whether it was the Scottish style of talk or the stream of consciousness that annoyed me most, I now plan to change literally everything about the way I talk because I don’t know how people put up with me if this is what I talk like (and it definitely is, I recognised so many things I say!!) In saying this, I think this POV/style really helps you discover more about Ropa, who is one of the best things about this book. She is such a brilliant person: so full of spunk and quirkiness and fierceness and anger at the injustice in the world. She’s so full of energy that she really burns off the page and eclipses what’s actually happening. You kind of just want to keep reading just to know what ridiculous thing she’s going to think next – I was snorting with laughter the whole way through. But this did also have the downside of really taking you out of what should be a horrific, gruesome, dark world. Nothing ever felt really serious because of how Ropa reacted to situations. I do also think Priya was written very well (and I love seeing a disabled character in a wheelchair in such an action packed fantasy!!) She was so much fun (hello green hair?! She is definitely my people) and I loved her energy for life and danger. What I also loved was this world. There are so many fantastic elements. For starters, the magic! Ropa’s ghosttalking uses a mbira (a Zimbabwean musical instrument used for communing with the dead) to help tether ghosts to the human world where she can talk with them. Some of the passages describing the music/mbira as Ropa used it were absolutely beautiful and were some of my favourite passages in the book. I also really liked the magic that requires training aspect: it’s involved lots of science and philosophy as Ropa tried to learn magic, that put a different spin on magic than a lot of other fantasy novels do. But there just wasn’t enough of this! The mbira disappears after the first 20% of the book and I just longed for it to return because that magic was so cool. Some of my favourite scenes are Ropa’s ghosttalking deliveries (particularly the gay baking scene!!) But they also just disappesred fairly early because of the main quest of finding the missing children. I also loved the very interesting The Library of the Dead, the book’s namesake, a library for Scottish magic built in a tomb! The worlds of the ghosts, such as the EveryThere, were also really fascinating, with the terrifying creatures stalking anyone alive who reaches the place. But as with above, these excellent worldbuilding details barely featured. I would have thought The Library of the Dead especially would have had a more important role in the story, given it’s what the book is named after. The later half of the book kind of goes back and forth between some really interesting, almost-creepy moments that are weird and darker and you don’t really know what the fuck is going on which is great (like the house with the Brounie!) Or they go slightly too far and verge more into this-doesn’t-make-huge-amounts-of-sense and has come out of nowhere (e.g. Who the actual villain is. A person named only once is the villain? What?!) So all in all this book was a very conflicting read for me! There are things I absolutely loved and things I really didn’t. But I definitely encourage you to read this one, particularly if you enjoy the stream of consciousness style of writing/first person POV, as I think that was the main thing I struggled with. The world is fascinating and Ropa is such a fierce and gutsy character, so full of life she leaps of the pages.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stuggie (Mainlyfantasy)

    "Once you start panicking, you stop thinking, and you’ve lost the fight already" The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series. I was delightfully surprised when I received this book as the Goldsboro SFF book of the month. Partly because the fantastic cover and sprayed edges, but more importantly... is there anything more important than sprayed edges? Okay back to my original thought... I had been at a Ben Aaronovitch book signing in Edinburgh, where he w "Once you start panicking, you stop thinking, and you’ve lost the fight already" The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series. I was delightfully surprised when I received this book as the Goldsboro SFF book of the month. Partly because the fantastic cover and sprayed edges, but more importantly... is there anything more important than sprayed edges? Okay back to my original thought... I had been at a Ben Aaronovitch book signing in Edinburgh, where he was interviewed by Huchu. And during the course of the interview Huchu mentioned his own projects and I thought "I must check his book out" but then sadly forgot about it... so I was excited when I looked at the author bio and see a face I recognised. The second reason I may be a bit bias for this book is that I live close to Edinburgh (where the book is set) and therefore the places mentioned are places I recognise and many I have visited. So what did I think about the book? Huchu has created a unique world, an Edinburgh which has elements that show that it is set in the near future but something has happened (which is alluded to in the book but never explained... hopefully we will get that in future books). This is a dystopia Edinburgh, where something has caused the rich to move away from the city centre, big businesses areas like the Gyle have been abandoned, while hospitals and schools still exist, and most of the poor live in temporary accommodation or squat in disused buildings, but you can still pick up a decent coffee or ice cream in the city centre. Our main character, Ropa, is a 14yr old girl of Zimbabwe heritage, who has inherited her gran's talents of being able to talk to ghosts. And a girl need to put food on the table, so she drops out of school to become a ghostwhisper, taking messages from the dead to their living relatives... for a fee... obviously. This leads her down into a paranormal mystery where she tries to help a distraught dead mother find out what happened to her son... and that's when the adventure really begins with Ropa's and her friends starting their own investigation which leads them deeper and deeper into the darker side of magic. My enjoyment of Huchu's writing came initially out in his representation of a dystopian Edinburgh, leaving little easter eggs for those who know the city. However, as I read the book I really began to root for Ropa, this sassy, foolhardy teenager who speaks to everyone with an open but attitude-filled candour, but who really had a soft caring heart which we see mainly in her interactions with her gran and sister in their little caravan they call home. My only small gripe, is that it I was worried that it had what I call the "Famous Five" or it you want to modernise it "Stranger Things" vibe. Where you have teenagers dealing with situations which an adult would find difficult to deal with. However, in this case, I think that through Huchu's excellent introduction of Ropa in the first few chapters of the book, we quickly realise that Ropa is confident, tougher, smarter and braver than most of us (she had read The Art of War... twice), who dropped out of school to care for her family... and nothing is going to stop her from putting food on the table and getting home to care for them. If you are into dark urban fantasy or like stories with some original magic then this is the book for you! I mentioned at the start, I first seen Huchu when he was interviewing Ben Aaronvitch and I would suggest that this book is similar to the Rivers of London series but has more than enough to be original rather than a copy, with Huchu pulling some of the magic systems from his own Zimbabwe heritage but placing it in a Scottish urban setting. This great start to a new series! Although it could be read as a standalone, I think that there is so much left unanswered, I want to find out more about the Library and those who work there, what caused the catastrophe, I want to know more about her family and friends, I want to go on more adventures with Ropa... I just want the next book!

  29. 5 out of 5

    (Ellie) ReadtoRamble

    4.5 STARS The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series, which is urban fantasy mixed with dystopia, and lots of elements of very cool magic and Zimbabwean heritage. One of the things I liked the most about this book was the setting. It was absolutely incredible and I loved walking around all parts of Edinburgh with the characters. I’ve not had the chance to visit Edinburgh yet, so this was my first little visit to the city, and I loved it. The characters w 4.5 STARS The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series, which is urban fantasy mixed with dystopia, and lots of elements of very cool magic and Zimbabwean heritage. One of the things I liked the most about this book was the setting. It was absolutely incredible and I loved walking around all parts of Edinburgh with the characters. I’ve not had the chance to visit Edinburgh yet, so this was my first little visit to the city, and I loved it. The characters were just *chef’s kiss*. My favourite was Ropa, our main character, who is sassy, determined, she is only trying to protect and help her Gran and her little sister Izwi, she works long hours and gets into quite a few scrapes, but she has such a big heart. This is something that you wouldn’t expect from this setting and time period (you get the idea that it is a futuristic dystopian version of Edinburgh) because of how harsh the world seems, but Ropa never loses empathy, compassion and caring for people. This is what I loved about her, she is human, she has her faults, but she never stops caring. I also really liked the ghosttalking that Ropa does thanks to her mbira. This is an instrument used by the Shona people of Zimbabwe and I loved how the author weaved in little bits of this culture into the book, it made it so much more multi-faceted and interesting. I have read books with ghosts before, but this was such a unique take on it and I loved it from the minute I started this book. Ropa also learns a different type of magic during her experiences and this is liked to the “Library of the Dead” which was such a cool place, I could literally spend all day there. The writing style and pacing were also really good. I think the author has done a great job of inserting themselves and their personality in the book. You can definitely feel them behind the words and this is something that I love feeling when I read. This book, the writing style, the wit, the prose, the characters, the plot and the setting are all larger than life and I think that T. L. Huchu did a fantastic job of bringing them all to life. I loved the writing style as it was just so fresh and fun! I felt immersed and I think that is down to just how great, engaging, fun and quick the writing style is. You feel Ropa as such a palpable, believable and great character, I loved reading about her, her personality jumps off of the page and I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, especially when such wild things happen to her. I gave this book 4.5 stars. I would recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy, darker fantasy, bigger than life characters, a complex and unique plot, an intricate and interesting magic system, the mix of cultures, and a dystopian world. I will definitely be continuing this series. You can find the full review on my blog here: https://readtoramble.com/book-review-...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen (shitbookreviews.com)

    Ok fine. So I might be biased with this one because it’s set in Edinburgh but hear me out! The Library of the Dead could be the start of new, wonderful series. Here’s why: ✨ My city but make it post-apocalyptic/some sort of chaos that’s caused absolute mayhem and we have a king (long may he reign) now?! ✨ A magical cult. I mean it’s not called out as being a cult but it’s definitely a goddamn cult ✨ Ghosts. A colossal fuck-tonne of them Ok, I’m sure you’re all like ‘hell yeah Jen this sounds excelle Ok fine. So I might be biased with this one because it’s set in Edinburgh but hear me out! The Library of the Dead could be the start of new, wonderful series. Here’s why: ✨ My city but make it post-apocalyptic/some sort of chaos that’s caused absolute mayhem and we have a king (long may he reign) now?! ✨ A magical cult. I mean it’s not called out as being a cult but it’s definitely a goddamn cult ✨ Ghosts. A colossal fuck-tonne of them Ok, I’m sure you’re all like ‘hell yeah Jen this sounds excellent tell me more‘ so it’s only right that I introduce you to the main lady before I get into the story vibes. Met Ropa. A 14-year-old deado talker with green dreadlocks and black lipstick who’s hellbent on making sure her family keeps a roof over their heads. Her line of work is simple – she’s a messenger. For the dead. Passing on notes to their living relatives. All through the power of a Mbira (of which I’ve now been getting IG ads for 👀) that helps tune the ghost-waves. No idea if that’s what they’re called but I’m rolling with it. SooooOoOooooOOOo. When Ropa is hounded by the ghost of a missing child’s mother at her usual place of business, it’s definitely unusual for her to take on jobs where payment ain’t guaranteed. And this is where our story takes off. We see Edinburgh through Ropa’s eyes, cutting through the streets of a very different city trying to find clues about this missing kid and ultimately ending up in the not-a-cult cult Library of the Dead. A place where the elites hang out and quite clearly create yet untold shenanigans. My ONLY issue with it was the plot – felt like a bastarding rollercoaster sometimes which left my brain feeling a little stretched Armstrong in every direction. It’s a set-up book (the library actually plays a teenie tiny part) and that’s absolutely ok – I just wish some parts had a little more focus. Other than that, I’m genuinely sad it’s over. Honestly, this book is a delight, but it’s also a bit grim in places. The world-building kept me sucked in (totally helps I live here and, for once, I get the local references) and I’m 100% on board, buckled in etc. etc. with whatever direction this goes in. Oh, and I absolutely need to know how Edinburgh got into that state. GIVE ME MORE! P.s. I will never look at milk the same way again. If you’re into dark dystopian fantasies with a smattering of magical abilities, then The Library of the Dead should probably be on your TBR pile.

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