Book Review: The God of Lost Words by A.J. Hackwith

book review the god of lost words aj hackwith
the god of lost words aj hackwith

Title: The God of Lost Words (Hell’s Library #3)

Author: A.J. Hackwith

Publisher: Ace

Publication date: November 2, 2021

Genre: Fantasy

One Sentence Summary: When Malphas, one of Hell’s demons, starts seriously eyeing the Unwritten Wing and what it might contain, Claire and her friends and all of the librarians will need to come together to save the Library.


The God of Lost Words is the beautiful ending to the Hell’s Library trilogy. It really brought the characters into the own and gave the Library a perfect ending and beginning. I did feel the romance was a bit weird and the demon presence much less than expected, but it did feel like a lovely softened story with just enough thorns. Kind of like how I tend to think of what Claire is like. As a reader, it really touched my soul and made me fall in love with books again. I wish the other wings had been explored more, but this is really about the Unwritten Wing, and it wrapped up in just about the most perfect way, even if it made my heart break a little.

Extended Thoughts

Change is in the air for the Unwritten Wing as the events of the last book, The Archive of the Forgotten, haven’t gotten past one of Hell’s leading demons, Malphas, and the librarians of the Unsaid Wing from Elysium are seeking asylum. But things get worse when Malphas attacks the Library and Claire, Brevity, Rami, and Hero are forced to protect the Unwritten and Unsaid Wings. Guided by a story of one of the previous librarians in an attempt to protect and save the Library, they seek to bring all wings of the Library together and attempt the impossible.

First of all, I’m so sad this is the last book in the trilogy. It’s been so incredible to jump through different death realms, check out different wings of the Library, get to know Claire and her new family, and watch that push and pull between the Library and Hell. But, really, I felt like this whole series, and especially this whole book, was something of an homage to books and readers everywhere. So much of it just hit me and made me fall in love with books all over again.

As an ending to the series, it was beautiful and perfect. The characters stepped up and grew in the best possible ways, especially Brevity, which was quite beautiful. The story reached the climax I didn’t realize it was reaching for, but now can’t not see. It felt very much like an ending, but I’m hoping there will still be more stories about the Library. It really wrapped up in the best possible way. The Library was pulled together in an unexpected way and they faced their future together. Looking back, I think I wish more of the wings had been explored in the first two books, but this really is the story of Claire, Brevity, Hero, and Rami.

Found family is one of the sweetest and warmest tropes out there. While the found family in Hell’s Library has been a really prickly one, no thanks to Claire, it really is beautiful and I really loved how it made the love between them spark just that much more brighter. It also made the ending that much more bittersweet. I loved the way they were always there for each other, always calling each other out. They did feel much like a dysfunctional family, but I suppose that will happen when your family happens to be a deceased mortal, a fallen angel, an exiled muse, and a book character without his book. I loved the way they stood with each other, the way they argued, but mostly the way they loved each other and were there for each other even when it was tough.

I think the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the twist of romance. I think it was lovely, but felt a little out of left field. The second book set me up for something different that I was hoping to see progress, but then The God of Lost Words decided to drop something else in as well and, well, I was a little thrown. I also felt like I didn’t have enough time with it to really understand and process it, but I suppose it highlights the complicated ways in which this family loves each other.

My favorite part, though, was the way the Library unexpectedly rallied together. From Claire and her family to the other librarians to the damsels, they all fought together. Even if there were some arguments and disagreements. It was a lot of fun to see more of the other librarians and get to know what was in the other wings. But what I loved the most was them figuring out what a library really is and what it means. Having everything turned on its head was a lot of fun, and unexpectedly heartwarming to me as a reader. I do wish I could have seen more of the wings, but the story focused more on how to save the Library, particularly our beloved Unwritten Wing. It was wonderful to see Claire and her family get to know what the other wings held and what, put together, it all meant.

I did find Malphas to be my least favorite part. She was set up to be something of a demonic force, but I found her to be a bit lacking throughout the story. Of course, it is focused on the librarians and the Library, but I felt Malphas was there to provide the tension, the time limit, and the overall need the librarians feel, but, by the end, the Library itself felt like it provided the most exciting tension. Malphas was more of something to get events rolling, but I found her to be quite fascinating, so really wanted more of her in the book.

The God of Lost Words is an incredible end to an incredible trilogy. It touched my heart as a reader and made me love books and libraries all the more. The characters grew and really came into their own throughout the book and made me love them even more. They were incredible together and the story just wound them up together even more. Overall, a lovely albeit bittersweet end to a fantastic cast of characters and story.

How many cups of tea will you need?

4 cups

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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