Cover Image: The God of Lost Words

The God of Lost Words

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The God of Lost Words by A. J. Hackwith is a satisfying end to the very clever Hell's Library series. This series is nothing but an ode to stories, but I believe Ms. Hackwith uses the series finale to celebrate not just stories but also all authors, characters, readers, listeners, and anyone or anything else that either tells a story or keeps those stories safe. She does this while bringing to a close the arcs of her quirky cast of characters, all of whom we have come to love.

As is the case in many a finale, The God of Lost Words becomes a bit of a feel-good story. After all, Claire and her friends just so happen to find the elements they need to defeat Hell's machinations to take over the Library.  Readers get closure for their favorite characters at the same time as the main story comes to a happy ending. At the same time that all this closure is occurring, there is so much love for stories in all forms and so much adoration for the readers and listeners who absorb those stories that it feels like one big love fest.

The ending of The God of Lost Words may be happy and satisfying but it is also a bit bittersweet because not all of the characters get their happily ever after. The ends of each character's arc all make sense and stay true to each individual's personality and backstory. Still, there is one relationship in particular that I wish would have had a different ending, even though I recognize that is the romantic in me wishing something that is not meant to be.

As with the other two books in the series, for a story that occurs in Hell, The God of Lost Words is religion-free. This series finale doubles down on the idea that there are as many different afterlife locations as there are belief systems. What's more, no one afterlife domain is better or worse than the other. Believe in fairies? There's a place for you. Believe in Valhalla? There's a place for you. I adore this approach to belief systems and religion in general and find it so much more palatable than anything that spouts strictly religious ideology.

From the very first, the Hell's Library series surprised me with its charm, its mystery, and its characters. Muses and fairies, demons and angels, characters and humans, Ms. Hackwith uses her eclectic cast to not only tell an interesting story but also to express a love of stories in any form. The God of Lost Words ends this fabulous series with the same level of commitment to her quirky characters, to her intriguing and complicated story, and her ode to stories. I highly recommend this entire series for anyone who loves a good story.
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Ah. These characters are really magical. After absolutely loving the first book in this series, I was really disappointed when the second book was difficult to get through, and I was wary about this finale. I stuck it out solely because I love these characters so much, but I found that the plot for this book was hard to really latch onto. 

There were definite highlights in terms of character development and seeing things come to fruition that I’ve been waiting for since the first book. Reunions, long awaited kisses, love confessions, all so great! But I found myself skimming a lot and the storyline was just too much for me to fully understand. 

I’m rarely a fan of bittersweet endings and this book proved that yet again. I suspect I will eventually reread the first book in the future because I loved it a lot, but I don’t expect I’ll be rushing to reread these last two books. I still love the overall message and it’s a really sweet notion, but I care more about the characters’ fate and I just can’t fully enjoy all of their endings.
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This was a spectacular ending for a series. I understand so much more of this world that I want to go back and reread the other books. I never fully understood these books until this one. Everything came together. The ending made me sad to say goodbye to this afterlife. 

All of the characters have grown to create a strong group built on friendship and love. They came together to save their part of the afterlife for each other, no matter how much it was going to hurt. And it does hurt. I almost cried when I read the epilogue.

Review based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing an advance copy in exchange for a review.

The God of Lost Words by A. J. Hackwith closes out the Hell’s Library trilogy as Claire, Brevity, Rami, Hero and their allies attempt to preserve the Library and free it from Hell’s grasp forever. In the wake of revelations about the true contents of the library, Hell’s armies are massing under the devious general Malphas, a demon who knows or guesses the Unwritten Wing’s secret. To survive, the Library will have to unite, confronting its purpose and rewriting its future.

The God of Lost Words is a bittersweet end to the story that began in The Library of the Unwritten. After falling in love with these characters and investing in their stories, it’s both satisfying to see how they have grown and the way their relationships have strengthened, and difficult to accept where the story leaves them. I’m happy I read it and happy to have seen the conclusion Hackwith was building towards, but there’s a part of me that wishes for a happier ending than we get here. That said, this story delves further into the underlying structure of the world(s) Hackwith introduced to the narrative and I am a sucker for clever world building. As a librarian, I especially appreciated the fact that this felt like the most meta of the trilogy so far, going farther into the importance of stories, the roles of librarians, and the purposes of libraries. The end is not what I was expecting and the experience of getting there was more dreamlike and surreal than anticipated, but I sincerely enjoyed the ride.
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Beginning with higher stakes, which Hackwith established in the previous book, The God of the Lost Words immediately takes off. In many ways, The God of the Lost Words reminds me why I love this series. Because while Claire can be prickly sometimes, I love certain phrases from Claire that seem so in character. With the exception of Brevity, all of these characters seem so distinct, so nuanced and quirky. While there is plenty of grand plot action, I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to see more of the library wings.
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What a sincerely wonderful trilogy. It's hard to review a third book in a series without spoiling the other ones, but at it's core, this book is about a library, in hell, and in a really lovely way it's about finding where you belong. 

I think what I love most about this series is that it includes so many belief systems, and while you see themes in the book the books always go in really wonderful surprising directions - and this one is no exception. Hackwith is also an absolute master at both character & world building, and their writing is absolutely top notch. What a perfect ending to this series with this book - I'm sad to see the series end, and I can't wait to see what comes up for it next. 

The whole series is such an enjoyable, fun, and interesting read - I can't recommend it enough. Go grab this book, you won't be disappointed!

ARC received for an honest review from NetGalley.
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I have truly loved this trilogy with these messy, amazing polyamorous dumbasses that deserve all the hugs. I will miss this series a lot, especially my son Remiel.
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This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group - Ace in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

A.J. Hackwith saved the best for last (at least I really hope not). I could not stop reading, I did not want to take my eyes off the pages and was extremely disappointed when I finished the book. I admire Claire and her passion for being the Librarian of the Unwritten and I can imagine her heart dropping when the secrets are revealed and the library of the unwritten is at risk and it's up to her to save it which might mean destroying it and rebuild it. There were so many twists and turns that it kept the storyline alive and exciting. As a librarian myself, I appreciate the hard work, passion, and dedication Claire demonstrated not only through this book but, for the entire series thus far. The series has been doing very well in our library and I can't wait to share The God of Lost Words with everyone.

We will consider adding this title to our Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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Regardless of what you believe of the afterlife, isn't it nice to pretend a moment that there is a place where forgotten stories go to be reread and the art that you started and never finished still exists in a lovely wood paneled room? 

The God of Lost Words dances around several (all?) belief systems about death and the afterlife without necessarily committing to any of them, meaning you can recognize some familiar themes within the story but have no guarantee about the direction any of them will take. It makes for a clever and inventive story. 

An attempt to explain the plot without spoiling the previous two books:

Claire is a denizen of Hell's Library - a library of unfinished and unwritten stories that exists in hell's realm, but is not necessarily part of hell. (Imagine them as just renting space.) She works with a motley crew of fantastical peers who keep the library in order and the books repaired. 

As a result of the events of books one and two, hell is now hostile to the library, and Claire and her companions must find a new realm for it before hell succeeds in destroying them all.

Overall, a fun and satisfying mythological adventure with a hint of romance that does not overwhelm.
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Oh this ending. It was bittersweet because I just loved being in Hell's Library. I am sad to see all the characters go but it was a beautiful ending.
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I fell in love with this trilogy from pretty much the first word. I didn't expect to. It's not quite within my normal genres, but some stories just reach in and latch onto your soul. For me this is one of them. 
That love did not abate in the slightest with this final book. If anything it grew. It grew in the joy and in the heartbreak and in the final moments when I could barely see the screen of my kindle through the tears. This one is going to give me book hangover for a while. I just know it.
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The God of Lost Words by A.J. Hackwith a good ending to this trilogy. If you haven't already started this series put it on your TBR!
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