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Review of ‘The Archive of the Forgotten’

by Cyn's Workshop 2 years ago in literature
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The Archive of the Forgotten is the latest installment the Hell's Library series that gives readers an insightful and mesmerizing read.


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.


An excellent sequel, The Archive of the Forgotten delves deeper into the mysteries of Hells Library.

A Good Story Fueled by Excellent Characters

The Archive of the Forgotten takes place shortly after The Library of the Unwritten and the demon Andras’ failed coup. Still reeling from the events and consequences of their adventures in the previous novel, the character dynamics have changed. Brevity, the muse who stole inspiration and Claire’s former apprentice, is now the Head Librarian while Claire has been removed and made the Arcanist.

Hackwith jumps right into her storytelling as she picks up the pieces of the previous novel and explores the tension between them. Hero, formerly of a book, is now Brevity’s assistant, and the fallen angel Ramiel who had been working to earn his place in Heaven, is now Claire’s assistant in Hell. This shows the reader just how much the previous novel changed them and how they continue to grow in this novel.

The tension between the characters leaks off the pages and into the reader, much like the novel’s ink. It pulls the reader in, allowing the reader to connect to the characters. There are times when the characters, notably Brevity and Claire, are unlikeable, but the reader understands them. There is a struggle between the characters and pain between them as they try to understand this new balance between them and their new situation.

Hackwith does an excellent job of bringing these characters to life because the reader feels their pain, guilt, rage, sorrow, and compassion. The emotions flow from the story and into the reader beautifully.

Excellent Expansion

Much like its predecessor, The Archive of the Forgotten continues to take readers on a magical journey. In the first novel, these characters go to Earth and Valhalla. Now they are on their way to Elysium, another expansion of the library.

It is incredible how Hackwith has expanded the scope of the library in Hell. There is the Dust Wing, and the Unsaid Wing heralded by Echo. Following these characters as they embark on a journey to discover the secrets of unwritten books and ink gives the story more range and more magic. Bringing in characters from Greek Mythology gives the story even more dimension as it builds up this library in Hell and its purpose there.

Final Thoughts

Indeed a brilliant sequel, The Archive of the Forgotten, is a captivating novel. It explores the characters’ depth and emotional range, evolving them as their journey continues and gives the reader a story to match its ending. It is both magical and emotional and will make the reader hunger for another.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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About the Author

Cynthia Bujnicki graduated from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has always loved to read since she was a child. A contributing writer for YA Fantasy Addicts, she is also the Editor-in-Chief for Cyn's Workshop. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband and son and their two cats, Mr. J the Kitten and Nyx.


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