Cover Image: The Archive of the Forgotten

The Archive of the Forgotten

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When a puddle of ink mysteriously appears in the Arcane Wing, Arcanist Claire, Librarian Brevity, book character Hero, and fallen angel Ramiel attempt to solve the puzzle separately only to discover they might actually need each other.

I loved the first book, The Library of the Unwritten, so much and really couldn't wait to dive into the next book. I was approved for this months ago, but had so many other books to read it was almost like sitting on pins and needles every time I saw it on my Kindle. All the little quibbles I had with the first book, with how it started off kind of slow and the characters felt a little too living, were gone. The Archive of the Forgotten kind of just dumps you into the story and, since most of it takes place in Hell, it's easier to remember the human Claire is, in fact, dead. Overall, a worthy follow up to the first book, and I now can't wait for the third book.

The Plot: The Puzzling Ink

Since the events of The Library of the Unwritten, Claire has been installed as the new curator of the Arcane Wing and Brevity has become the librarian in the Unwritten Wing. But their relationship has been tenuous at best, with both women avoiding the other. The same doesn't hold true for their assistants Rami and Hero, respectively. Nor for one damsel from the Unwritten Wing.

When Claire discovers damsel Rosia, yet again, in the Arcane Wing, it brings Claire and Brevity back together, but on shaky ground that doesn't improve when Rosia vanishes and a well of ink forms in the Arcane Wing. The Arcanist believes it's her problem to solve since it's in her Wing, but the Librarian argues it's the blood of the books that were burned during Andras's coup attempt. As they stubbornly diverge to do their own testing, it's up to Ramiel and Hero to leave Hell and ask questions. Only for things to get a lot worse and potentially leave the Library in terrible danger.

Where The Library of the Unwritten felt massive and far flung as the characters tumbled from one death realm to another, The Archive of the Forgotten shrinks the world down almost to a dot. After a crazy journey in the first book, the second book feels almost grounded and focused, allowing the characters to breathe, grow, and find their footing with each other now that their roles have shifted. As much as I loved exploring all the death realms in the first book, it also made me want to just sit still and enjoy a quieter story. The Archive of the Forgotten absolutely delivered on that front, though there was a point where I felt like it would be more of the same.

The Archive of the Forgotten is a beautiful follow-up to the first book. The problem starts very early on and the story goes on to brilliantly explore the natures of Claire and Brevity as they work independently. It's not really plot heavy, but the problem is absolutely a wonderful device to help the characters along their paths. The story is simple, but the characters are not, and that's where all the fun is.

The Characters: An Unlikely Family

The Archive of the Forgotten focuses on the characters instead of the story and world building. After a crazy journey in the first book that beautifully set up the world, I like that the second book focused on the characters and more fully explored them as individuals and as a strange and unlikely family.

Claire, Brevity, Hero, and Rami were all wonderful in the first book and somehow became even better in the second book. Claire is still unbending and unyielding. Brevity is still a little too bright and hopeful, and maybe even a little too nice, for Hell. Hero is still smug and annoying as a hero-villain. Rami is still the lost angel who sticks to right and wrong. But, as the story progressed, they lost a little bit of their outer coatings. They started to grow in different ways, but somehow also closer together. It hurt a little to see them crack, but it made them stronger together. They became something of a family as they tried to solve their problem in their own ways and avoid each other. They became softly blurred from the rigidity they bore in the first book and their relationships changed and were further defined while also leaving room for more growth and closer bonds. It was beautiful watching them snip at each other while also genuinely caring about each other.

The Archive of the Forgotten also introduces one major new character. Probity is one of Brevity's sister muses, someone who grew up alongside Brevity and who has her own ideas of what the muses can and should be capable of doing. Her ideas aren't too different from Brevity's, but it's her manner and the way she so steadfastly believes she's right that sets her off. I liked and hated her in turns, but she pushed Brevity to really come into her own, so it's also hard to not like her just for that.

The Setting: It's Hell

Unlike the first book, The Archive of the Forgotten is set mostly in Hell. After exploring so many different death realms, I wasn't sure what to expect in this book: more death realms or something more settled. I was pleased that it presented a delightful blend of both. There's some death realm exploring, which was fun and very different while also exploring other mythologies a bit, but most of the story is grounded in Hell.

It was lovely to return to the Unwritten Wing and have the opportunity to explore the Arcane Wing, which, frankly, scares me a bit. We also get to explore a new part of the Library, which was mostly unsettling, but leaves me curious to know more about it. As well as what else the Library has been hiding. I loved that this book hinted at further questions about what the Library is, so I'm hoping there's even more world building as the series progresses. I love how Hackwith balanced the development of the story, world, and characters so it's never too much and only helps drive the story forward.

Overall: A Worthy Sequel, Albeit a Bit Different

The Archive of the Forgotten is a lovely follow up to the first book. I loved how different it was in that the characters weren't tumbling around between Earth and the death realms, but were able to catch their breath, so to speak, and learn more about each other and themselves. It felt like a nice respite both for them and the reader, one where the focus can shift a little and add an anchor to the overall story. A wonderful contrast. I do wonder if the next book will be just as breathlessly active as the first or if it'll strike a nice balance, but I really loved how grounded this novel felt. The characters were just as wonderful, and then became even better. I loved watching them pull and push at each other and can't wait to see them again.

Thank you to Netgalley and Ace-Berkley Publishing Group for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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I loved the first and this one follows just as well. Through a delightful and ridiculous band of characters on literary disasters in protection of hells Library. 

An absolute must read
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The Archive of The Forgotten is the second instalment in AJ Hackwith's Hell's Library trilogy. If you haven't read the first, The Library of The Unwritten, then you'll want to read that one first! If you have a love of books, and enjoy fantasies, myths, the underworld, and thoughtful stories, then I highly recommend this imaginative new series.

The Archive of The Forgotten picks up where The Library of The Unwritten ended. It deals with the consequences of the battle to protect the library, whilst facing a new threat. Whilst the two books both contain their own main plot, The Archive of The Forgotten moves past the events of the previous book and it focuses on the new balance of relationships between the characters, and what the changes mean for them. I think I found the first part of the book slower than its predecessor because I spent some time picking up the pieces, but it soon ramped up. It was really good to spend more time with the characters that I'd come to know, and A.J Hackwith's writing is just as beautiful as before. The Archive of The Forgotten still has the inventive worlds and wonderful prose that make it just as captivating as before.

“They burn them first, the stories. Humans always come for the stories first. It’s their warm-up, before they start burning other humans. It’s their first form of control, to burn the libraries, to burn the books, to burn the archives of a culture. Humans are the stories they tell."

After the battle saw books destroyed and burnt, Claire is no longer the librarian in charge of the unwritten wing with all of its potential stories. Instead, she is moved to the arcane wing, and takes the title of the arcanist, in charge of objects that represent humanities darker side. This means the role of Librarian lies with former muse Brevity, and Hero is now her assistant. One of the remaining books starts to leak a mysterious ink, and Brevity and Claire have different ideas of how best to approach this. The book sees the two wings experimenting, researching, and trying to understand what this ink means, and the reader learns along with them. A muse from Brevity's past named Probity arrives, and she has her own motive. She believes she has found a way for muses to create their own stories without a need for humans - a big no no!

"Humans were ridiculous creatures, in Hero’s expert opinion. They always saw what they wanted to see and ignored the rest. No creature edited its own reality so viciously as a human."

The reader also gets to see more of Hell's Library, such as the Dust Wing, where the books that humanity has forgotten end up, and the Unsaid Wing, full of letters and confessions that were never sent. I think the idea of these different wings are so imaginative, and it makes me excited to see where else we might get to explore in the next book. Through exploring the different wings of the Library, and seeing them through Hero's eyes, we go on a journey with him. Remember, Hero is a character out of his own book, he is trying to find out where he fits in. There are a number of wonderful quotes about humanity in both of these books.

Like The Library of The Unwritten, this book has multiple points of view but it is written in the third person, and the chapters are from either Claire, Hero, Rami, or Brevity's perspective. There is a distinction between them and I found Hero's chapters more fun to read as they held his humour, whereas Claire's chapters had a more serious feel to them. Rami might have to be my favourite character though. He's lived for hundreds (thousands?) of years and blesses us with pearls of wisdom like this: "I think the weight of a man’s life lies in what he does with it. Reasons and heart are important, but it’s your actions that have long-reaching effects.”

The guy might be a fallen angel, but he has the patience of a saint to try and crack Claire's tough exterior and put up with Hero's flighty character. He is finding his family and I am HERE FOR IT.

"Ramiel kept Claire standing, and Hero kept her on her toes."

Ah, relationships. Throughout The Archive of The Forgotten, I felt like one of the characters was maybe starting to feel a little more than feelings of friendship towards another. There were also a few hints of attraction between characters too. There is a kiss! However, I will not reveal who it was between. I do feel curious as to where Hackwith is going to take the romantic direction of this pairing. I feel the dynamic between Rami, Claire, and Hero has more to meet the eye, perhaps we may even see the start of a poly relationship? I might be wrong, but I would like to see where the three will go, as I think feelings are going to start getting complicated.

The Archive of The Forgotten is a strong sequel, whilst it addresses events of the previous book (the damage to the library), it also has its own storyline which does get more or less resolved, but also leaves points to be addressed in the next book. The characters get plenty of development too, for example, we can see this in Claire's attitude towards those around her, caring for others and showing vulnerability and asking for help. Brevity starts to gain more confidence working within the library and speaking for herself too. By the end of The Archive of The Forgotten, I definitely felt much more connected with the characters and invested in their relationships with each other. I am very keen to see what journey  A.J  Hackwith decides to take us on next!
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"In the second installment of this richly imagined fantasy adventure series, a new threat from within the Library could destroy those who depend upon it the most.

The Library of the Unwritten in Hell was saved from total devastation, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell - and from its own librarians.

Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen."

A slightly more literary Thursday Next.
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Is this a trilogy? Because this book felt like the second book in a trilogy.

There is a mystical ink that appears in the Arcane Wing. No one can agree with how to handle the ink. It doesn't help that Brevity's sister Muse arrives to judge Claire's work as a librarian. 

Nothing really happens. It has a lot of characters being thick headed and constantly not communicating with each other. Yet, I found this book compelling. The characters do finally grow. A villain is introduced at the end. There is a better understand of why the library exists. We might be getting a polyamorous couple. Maybe. I'm basing that one on the author's tweet about love triangles.. Even if we're not, I'm still looking forward to the next book.

This review is based on an advanced copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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Pitch perfect sequel to The Library of the Unwritten. We pick up where we left off with Claire and while it's a bit slow, I loved how Hackwith eased us back into the world while also opening it up. I thought I loved Claire and Brevity before but this book made me also fall in love with Hero and Rami, who definitely got more screen time. All in all, a great follow up and continuation of the story. I can't wait for the third book!
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About a year ago, I read the absolutely delightful novel, The Library of the Unwritten, by A.J. Hackwith. That novel seemed written just for me with it’s eternal library of unwritten novels, nestled in an array of tetchy paradises, hells, and purgatories. The sequel, The Archive of the Forgotten, is a wonderful follow up that dives even more deeply into the mysteries and power of stories. All my favorite characters are back: Claire the prickly former librarian, Rami the ex-angel, Hero the ex-character, and the overwhelmed Brevity—all of whom have no guidance on how to handle the latest existential threat.

At the end of The Library of the Unwritten, Claire was demoted from Librarian and re-assigned to the Archive. Instead of books and characters, Claire has to deal with history’s mystical objects, magical bits and bobs, and snatches of supernatural materials. All this dangerous detritus is a piece of cake to manage compared to Claire’s grief over what happened to the Library. She hasn’t come to terms with the loss of her position either, an emotional hangup that makes things even worse when she and the new librarian, Brevity, find themselves at loggerheads over the appearance of a strange pool of weirdly aggressive ink. Claire claims the ink because it’s in the middle of her Archive. Brevity claims the ink because ink is clearly part of books. Neither of them wants to give way for reasons that take the entire book to work out. Meanwhile, Rami and Hero head over to the Greek and Zoroastrian afterlives (Elysium and Chinvat) to try and find answers.

There’s a lot of action in The Archive of the Forgotten, but it’s a more emotional book than The Library of the Unwritten. This isn’t at all surprising given that so much happened and so much was lost in that book. In other fantasy novels—especially that older generation of doorstoppers—emotions don’t seem to be processed so much as they are shoved aside so that the protagonists can go on to bigger adventures. This book would have been a lot shorter if the characters had access to a therapist, but I really appreciated seeing Claire and Brevity work through their issues even as they try to save the Library; the Archive; and kick some spooky, supernatural butt.

What I liked most about The Archive of the Forgotten, however, was the deeper mystery that Claire et al. have stumbled into. Claire and many of the other characters have wondered about the nature of the Library. Why is there a library of the world’s unwritten literature in a corner of Hell, anyway? Where do the books come from? Why can characters occasionally pop out of them to have new, unscripted journeys? And what’s up with the Muse Corps? I might not be a staffer at a post-vital library, but I’ve often wondered about what makes some stories immortal and others a flash in the pan or how authors can managed to capture deep truths in ink and paper. And I really, really like the idea that characters are alive on the other side of the page.
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The whole misfit crew of librarians is back for another adventure through the libraries and archives of Hell trying to repair the damage done to each other in The Library of the Unwritten.  I love the world and the characters that Hackwith has created. Claire and Brevity and Hero and Rami. Hackwith understands what draws readers to books and why writers are driven to write them. I will follow Hackwith through the depths of hell and back; I love her stories so much.
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The Archive of the Forgotten, by A. J. Hackwith, picks up after the events of The Library of the Unwritten. Still unsure in their new roles heading the Arcane Wing and the Library of the Unwritten respectively, Claire and Brevity’s tenuous status quo is upended by the appearance of a pool of ink in the Arcane Wing that may be the remains of the hundreds of unwritten stories destroyed in Andras’ failed coup. Claire doesn’t know how it got there, only that it may be dangerous and needs to be contained. Brevity, spurred on by a visiting muse, is sure that the ink could be used to either resurrect the destroyed stories or fuel new creation. With the Arcane Wing and Library at odds, Ramiel and Hero’s investigation into the origins of the ink takes them to new worlds and sets them on a path that may lead them to the secret at the heart of Hell’s Library, one integral to its very existence and carefully hidden from its custodians.

The Archive of the Forgotten is a great follow up to The Library of the Unwritten. As in the first book, short chapters switching perspectives among the characters build tension, create cliffhangers, and make for a fast-paced narrative, although the beginning felt a bit slow. The mythology aspect is fun, taking the characters to new afterlives while further expanding the understanding of Hell’s Library and the different forms of the wings in other worlds. While I still love Claire, Hero takes center stage in this book and it works really well. As assistant librarian and a story who cannot return to his book, Hero is left in a limbo where he doesn’t really fit anywhere. His search to understand his own existence and carve out a life on his own terms, plus his growing relationship with Ramiel, is easily my favorite part of the book. 

Takeaway: The Archive of the Forgotten delivers a satisfying blend of existing mythology and excellent original world building, with characters that reach out and grab your heart. The story stands well as an addition to the series, building on the events of the first book and leaving room for a sequel while telling distinct, interesting story.
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The first book in the Hell’s Library series, The Library of the Unwritten, was probably one of the most imaginative, unique fantasy books I read last year. Imagne a library in hell, full of books that were never completed and a librarian in charge of keeping them in order and their characters from escaping. And then one does escape… It was quite the adventure.

Book two starts out slow and I will admit it took me quite a bit to really become engaged. Thankfully I was familiar with the characters so I kept reading. Claire is now the Archivist in the Arcane Wing and Brevity is the new librarian. They become embroiled in a mystery when a huge pool of ink suddenly appears and it seems to be dangerous. Brevity and Claire are at odds on how to deal with the problem, and it doesn’t take readers long to figure out that there is more going on between them than just this issue.

I was very happy to see Hero and Rami get more page time. They are a huge part of why I ended up enjoying myself as much as I did after the slow start. Especially after being introduced to the new “villain” of this book. Whew, but she was awful.

I did end up enjoying this new adventure and was once again surprised by the ending. I did not see it coming. There is a blossoming relationship (I won’t say between who), but it makes me happy and I hope to see more in the finale to this trilogy.
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Thank you Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!

A solid sequel, The Archive of the Forgotten delves into new aspects of the world that A. J. Hackwith created in The Library of the Unknown. It felt marvelous to return to the beloved characters, and just like the first book, this is a book you can cozily curl up and immerse yourself in a The Good Place meets Good Omens premise. The first half of the book seems a little slow but the final half of the book seems a little rushed, but overall this book is an excellent second installment to an amazing trilogy thus far. 

The full review will be published one week prior to Publication Date on September 30th at
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I absolutely loved A.J. Hackwith’s The Library of the Unwritten published last year and have been waiting for its sequel since!
I’m thrilled that The Archive of the Forgotten is a solid sequel following Hell’s former and current librarians, Claire and Brevity. Readers witness the aftermath of the loss of hundreds of stories that happened at the end of book one and the struggle of Claire and Brevity awkwardly adjusting to their new roles in the Library and Arcane Wing.

When Claire is “infected” with a strange leaking ink, she realizes the Library has secrets its kept from its librarians and even Hell may not know.
The relationship between Claire and Brevity is already strained under their new roles and the emotional upheaval of the Library’s losses. It’s further tested when they cannot agree on how to deal with the powerful ink. The muse Probity arrives to advise Brevity while the angel Rami and the mischievous character Hero seek answers on behalf of Claire by traveling to other realms.

I adore the log entries from former librarians throughout history; they are thoughtful and often humorous with insight into the past that readers are eager to learn more about. Another good vs. evil story, we are one step closer to understanding the true purpose of the Library and the fate of its occupants!

I recommend this highly original series to readers who enjoy sci-fi / fantasy and books about books. (Definitely read the series in order; if you jump in anywhere else than the beginning you won’t understand what’s happening)

Thanks to Ace Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Archive of the Forgotten is scheduled for release on October 6, 2020.
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In this second installment of the Hell’s Library series, we find Claire and Brevity uneasily settling into their new roles as arcanist and librarian, respectively, with Ramiel and Hero to assist them. They are disrupted by two appearances: a fellow muse comes to visit Brevity with an unclear agenda, and a mysteriously insidious pool of ink is discovered in the Arcane Wing. 

Tensions mount as they try to figure out just what the ink is and how big a threat to the library it might be. The quest also gives each character time to reflect on how they define themselves in this new underworld order.

This is a beautifully constructed fantasy series, and as a librarian whose patrons very much missed being able to borrow ink and paper books recently, reading about print books was a pleasure. I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for access to the review copy.
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What I Loved:

The main characters. Coming back to the dynamic foursome of Claire, ex librarian and current Archivist, Brevity, ex assistant and current Librarian, Ramiel the ex watcher angel and current Archivist assistant, and Hero the wandering book character and current Librarian’s assistant felt so good. Hackwith wrote amazing characters that are all deeply flawed but complementing each other, who all have a common goal of saving the Library’s books from the denizens of Hell. Claire is gruff and at times cold because she has no way of expressing how she feels, but she is working on it; Brevit is full of color and light but can at times be too bold in her decisions and conversely insecure about her new position as Librarian; Ramiel is an angel with no heaven whose stoic calming presence helps everyone’s way; while Hero is a book with no book to get back to, a villain who is not a villain. Hero and Ramiel got some well-deserved page time in this book, which was a little lacking in the first one. Even when the pacing is odd and the story drags a bit (see below), these four keep the reader engaged. And the budding romances (no spoilers here) are too adorable not to root for.

The other realms. In Library of the Unwritten, we were treated with Valhalla, and here, we get to see Elysium. I love how Hackwith incorporated all of these great mythological elements into what could have been a very Judeo-Christian premise (Heaven and Hell centric), and the descriptions are absolutely delightful. The premise that the Library has wings in all of the various realms, complete with their own Librarian, is also well executed and a fun concept. Elysium’s Unsaid Wing is brilliant.

The Librarian ledger. Throughout both Unwritten and Forgotten are chapter header quotes pulled from the ledger that all Unwritten Wing Librarians write in. While sometimes chapter headers seem ancillary or just for fun, these quotes are integral to the reader solving the mystery in this book. I love the timeline continuity as you read writings from Librarians centuries prior, all the way up to Claire, Brevity, and Hero. Hackwith wrote a story within a story.

What I Didn’t Love:

The Pacing. I think that this comment is going to be fairly universal with anyone who reads this: The first half of Archive of the Forgotten dragged, while the second half flew by. The first half introduced a new character, muse Probity (more on her below) and dealt with a lot of simmering resentments, particularly between Claire and Brevity, left over from the first book. The second half dives headlong into the overarching mystery, takes us to new realms and wings, and gives us a hasty beginning of a beautiful relationship. While it was worth reading through, the first half didn’t deliver the promise that the first book gave readers.

Probity the muse. Every story needs some conflict, I appreciate that, but sometimes the conflict comes in the form of a deranged flash of color who upsets the balance of a story and really doesn’t provide anything other than doubt to one of your favorite main characters (ahem). Probity embodies the archetype of a little sister who has hero worship for her older sister, but misunderstands that in trying to follow her older sister’s footsteps, she loses her own way. She is a wrecking ball, and Brevity, Claire, and gang don’t need more going on – they have their own demons (ha!) to fight. Probity’s character felt like a sledgehammer for the plot.


This was a solid sequel to Library of the Unwritten, if not as strong as the first book. I loved seeing our favorite foursome grow and being realizing their potential towards the end, and the new realism and worldbuild were very well executed. The pacing is uneven, but it was still worth the read. Four stars out of five!
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Aaaahhhhh! This was a PERFECT sequel to an amazing series. I love this series SO MUCH; it's possibly the best magical library fiction since Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series. And speaking of "Thursday Next," if you love that series because of it's bookish witticisms, it's snarky sass, and it's adventure, then THIS book will be right up your alley. A. J. Hackwith creates such a compelling story with characters the reader truly comes to care for. They have depth, growth, feel heartbreak, pain, love - everything you need in an excellently written character. These characters set in this wildly creative afterworld/alternate world realm of Hell AND OTHER LIBRARY REALMS (O.M.G.) just makes me so incredibly happy.

In this sequel, we begin in Hell's Library with Brevity, the new muse librarian, after the Library rejected Claire. Claire takes up the mantle as Archanist of the Arcane Wing, where artifacts and relics want nothing more than to lash out at all around them. Both Brevity and Claire nurse hurt and pain from what happened in their attempts to defend the Library of the Unwritten from the traitorous demon Arcanist Andras, who tries to take over the Library of Hell. A fellow muse, Probity, wants to reclaim stories from the destruction of humans and wield book powers for their own, which can only end badly. Then Claire stumbles upon a well of dark ink in the Arcane Wing, which threatens to unravel all it touches. In an effort to find answers to this mysterious ink, we travel, alongside fallen angel Rami and book character Hero, to the paradise realm of Elysium where we meet Echo in the Library of the Unsaid. One of my favorite characters is Walter, the unfathomable Death who wields great insights into the universe and experiences time in an entirely other dimension, who also holds such philosophical musings and truths about life and how everything experiences it. We also visit the dark Dust Wing of Hell's Library, a veritable bone desert of books never to be read again; forgotten, destroyed, and fading stories piled in mounds of mildewed, burned, torn tomes of the past. These afterlife worlds lead to greater questions about the "life" of a book and all it contains - does it contain emotions? fiction? truth? simply words? the soul of a living thing?

A. J. Hackwith's "The Archive of the Forgotten," and the series of "Hell's Library," is truly an ode to loving books, loving reading, loving libraries, and loving the stories that fill our souls.
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I seriously adore this series! I love everything about it and recommend it to everyone. I ordered a couple copies for the library after recommending the first book to all my patrons. Thank you so much!
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I found this installment distinctly more enjoyable than the first. Possibly this is due to all of the world building being done so there is more space for story, but it's at least more likely that the story became the world building. I can't explain that, you'll have to read it yourself.
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If you loved the first book in this series, Library of the Unknown you will this sequel. Your favorite characters are back and this is a creative premise for them to play in.
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First off you really should read book one before reading this if you haven’t already read it.  This series is set in a library at the edge of Hell so the setting will be a little confusing without the background of book one.
Since it’s set outside of reality any version of the afterlife humans have ever dreamed of exists in this universe and the characters flow between them.  
The characters have recovered somewhat from the events of the first book and are trying to settle into their new roles when a new crisis hits.  It’s an interesting ride watching them try to fix it.  There’s obviously going to be a book three and it’ll be fun to see where the author takes us next.
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I absolutely loved Archive of the Forgotten! I was really into the first story about Hell's Library, and I am so happy that the sequel holds up to the first. The cast of characters is essentially the same, but each of them experiences real growth throughout the book and come out the other side changed. 

I loved the new settings that we got to visit, there was just enough "new" to make the familiar characters step up and show more of themselves. This is definitely going to be one of those series that I revisit down the road and continue to enjoy.

Early on in the book I spotted a ship, and was so hoping that it would set sail. And without saying who was on that ship, I will just say that my ship dreams came true. And I'm very annoyed that I have to wait until the book's release for fanart. But such is the curse of ARCs.
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