In a future time, all the world’s knowledge is at risk. The books that hold the mysteries of the ancients are slowly being purposely burned, and Haly and her fellow clerks are unable to stop it. Those who work at the Libyrinth, like Haly, hate the Eradicants who come to feed the flames with the texts that line the winding shelves. Haly, however, not only is able to read the words — she hears the words. The written word speaks its sentences into her mind and when she hears words that reveal a treacherous plot, she finds herself on a journey that will place her among those who want nothing more than to eradicate all that she holds dear.
This book has incredible potential. The plot is intricate — three different societies with their own rites and religions, folklore and legends. The conflict and its resolution are intriguing, and there were two specific, rather integral, subplots of science fiction tossed in with the more post-apocalyptic tone of the rest of the book. I dug all that. I really liked the sprinkling of quotes from different books that wound their way into the story; in that way it’s almost a love song to the power of reading.
What I did not like was the author’s tendency to throw in colloquialisms that completely threw me out of the groove of the text. Words like “crap” or random 21st-century cuss words really only served to distract from the flow of the rest of the book, which felt far more polished. That and a few instances of glossed-over homosexual innuendo felt as if they were thrown in as an afterthought to please the modern teenager (if that’s what modern teens want) instead of actually fitting in with the story.
On the whole: awesome idea, 85% awesome execution, and it wouldn’t have taken much to make it completely awesome. Probably still worth trying if you are a bookie and a young adult lit fan; just be prepared to be annoyed sometimes.
Rating: Moderate: one “f” word, one “sh” word and several lesser expletives as well as an admission to homosexual desires and some discussion of female body parts.