Edinburgh Nights: Book 1
By T. L. Huchu
The Library of the Undead is not a book for everyone. It has a unique cadence, which suits the main character, Ropa. It is not the easiest style to fall into, but once you submerse yourself into this post-apocalyptic Scotland, the narration flows by. Ropa isn’t necessarily the head of her little family, but she works hard, pays the rent, and makes sure her little sister goes to school and does her homework. Their blind gran is the center of their world, their conscience, and their refuge. Ropa needs her moral support more than most children – and Ropa is a child at only fourteen years of age – because she pays the rent by talking to the dead.
T. L. Huchu has an amazing way with words, and so many of the detailed descriptions in this book made me pause in admiration. The way he describes music, in particular, is entrancing. For example: “…the sound of the music is now falling cherry blossoms blowing in the wind through a courtyard, curved multi-layer pagodas, and courtiers scurrying about in silken garments.” The imagery is tangible.
Ropa is a no-nonsense girl who stumbles upon the Library of the Dead, and its Society of snobbish magicians and scholars. Her skill at ghostalking – or practical necromancy – isn’t enough to admit her as a member, but she is granted “associate membership with limited privileges” because one such scholar sees her untapped potential. She doesn’t have the luxury of enrolling in one of the four schools and learning magic properly, so she studies books in her limited free time and reaches for that potential on her own.
She’s used to doing things on her own, but when one ghost’s plea to find her missing son shoves Ropa into the midst of a magical mystery, she realizes she’s in over her head.
You can read a free extended preview of The Library of the Undead here.
Volume 2 of Edinburgh Nights, Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, is currently slated for publication in March of 2022.
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Advance Reading Copy provided by Macmillan-Tor/Forge via Netgalley at my request.