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NetGalley Review: The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu

Hey all, Dani here.

Well, all right, I am here with a review. It’s been a long while since I’ve had a review up here, so this should be fun.

Speaking of fun, here’s a fun fact: I printed out my spreadsheet with all of the NetGalley books I’ve been approved for and that still need to be reviewed and wow…I think I could post up reviews for like three months straight of nothing but NetGalley reads…if they were all completed, anyway. As it stands right now I think I have like 20 of them that I have read and need to review, so I’m mostly focusing on them for the moment, but I’m also trying to read some more.

My NetGalley rating is pretty bad right now…I think it’s in the low 60% range, and they like you to be up around 80%. So if I can get back into the swing of things with posting up these reviews, then I should be able to get my review ratio back up where it needs to be. I certainly hope so anyway.

Okay, well today’s review is actually for a book that came out recently…like last month, I believe. So let’s go ahead and jump into it.

“An absolute delight . . . kept me totally hooked.” – Genevieve Cogman, bestselling author of The Invisible Library

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.


Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and they sure do love to talk. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to those they left behind. 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 strength. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will rock her world.

Ropa will dice with death as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. And although underground Edinburgh hides a wealth of dark secrets, she also discovers an occult library, a magical mentor and some unexpected allies.

Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

“A fast-moving and entertaining tale, beautifully written.” – Ben Aaronovitch, bestselling author of Rivers of London

My Thoughts:

Rating: 4 stars

I loved the voice of this story so much. Ropa just had a voice that I could actually hear as I was reading this. Could this be because I watch a whole lot of BBC shows? Maybe.

Anyway, I was interested in this story because of ghosts and Scotland and the whole occult library concept, but I got drawn into the story by Ropa and her life and her story.

Okay, but I do feel the need to go ahead and say that the summary above describes this as a contemporary fantasy set in modern Edinburgh…and that is not entirely true. This is sort of an alternate universe/dystopian future Edinburgh. But it is still an immensely worthwhile story, and I was sucked into it so quickly.

There was an interesting group of characters to follow. I loved the haunted atmosphere of Scotland in this story. The pace was pretty quick and I definitely flew through the pages. It’s not a super long fantasy book, not quite 350 pages long, and with the tension and mystery and such, I think most will probably read it pretty quickly.

Oh, and the summary is also misleading because it mentions Ropa getting pulled into this mystery because the dead are whispering of children being bewitched and being left as husks bereft of joy…but one ghost hassles Ropa about finding her missing son, and Ropa ends up looking into that, and while looking for the missing boy, she finds another child who is a husk, and that leads her deeper into the mystery of how this is happening and why.

I also wish we had been able to spend more time with the occult library and learning more about the magic and stuff like that. This book definitely feels like the first of a series, one just starting to set up the outline of the world and the magic and the characters. Hopefully future books will help expand upon everything in a deeper and richer way.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad that I read it.

All righty then, that is all from me for today, but I will be back soon with more geeky content.

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