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The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith (2019)

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Published in 2019
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In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren't finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Many years ago, Claire is a Magic Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil's Bible. The text of the Devil's Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell ... and Earth.

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Sequel: The Archive of the Forgotten(2020)

Warning for spoilers.


The Library of the Unwritten contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown Claire and Leto (in mortal form) are frequently described as having brown skin and curly hair.
  • And I Must Scream Andras gets trapped in his own sword for eternity. Gregor gets "killed" by Claire. Possibly also any god of a forgotten realm, such the crocodile/water god.
  • Animated Tattoo Brevity's tattoos are the symbols of imagination that she can wield.
  • AnythingThatMoves Claire and Hero are both pansexual.
  • Childhood Friends Hero and Owen. Leto and Darren. This troper suspects each might have been Childhood Friend Romance cases too.
  • Driven to Suicide Leto when he was a human and his friend Darren
  • Fantastic Catholicism
  • FiveManBand
    • The Leader Claire Hadley, the current Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing
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    • The Lancer Mostly Brevity, the fallen muse and Claire's direct assistant. Hero or Andras fill the role when Brevity covers the library.
    • The Smart Guy Andras a demon in charge of the Arcane Wing and provides most of the research before they leave Hell, before his FaceHeelTurn.
    • The Big Guy Hero, an escaped character whose actually the villain in his story & provides most of the firepower/sword fighting.
    • The Chick Leto, a teenage demon courier who starts out as a symbol of innocence. Although Brevity's cheerfulness could fit here too.
    • Sixth Ranger Ramiel, a Watcher and former Fallen Angel, after he rescues Leto.
  • Implied Love Interest Claire and Beatrice in the past. Claire and Hero in the future.
  • Inverted Trope Sort of the premise of the whole story.
    • Hero is not actually the hero (of both his unfinished book & this actual story) and the irony is actually pointed out.
    • Damsel in Distress The "Damsel Suite" is actually for escaped characters of any gender and character trope/type. Most of them also volunteered to defend the library when it was under attack.
    • The angels aren't exactly angelic and the people in Hell, both demons and nondemons, are not that evil.
  • Magical Library This starts in a library in hell which houses unwritten books. The Magic Librarians are damned souls that could have been great authors but never fulfilled their potential. They are charged with making sure that the unwritten stories don’t escape the collective unconsciousness and enter reality.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard Andras and Gregor
  • More Than Meets the Eye
  • Resurrective Immortality Most of the cast is already dead so they can't die again. Except when it comes to the forbidden words.
    • Escaped characters also don't die- they just need to make sure their unfinished book is intact.
  • Ship Tease Hero and Owen. Leto and Darren. Maybe even Claire & Brevity.
  • Treacherous Advisor Andras
  • Words Can Break My Bones In the trial battle between Byord and Claire while they're in Valhalla- the duel is conducted via shouting literary quotes at each other, that physically hurt them.
  • Working with the Ex Claire and Beatrice in Malta.
  • Writer's Block If the Unwritten library shuts down, that means everyone in the real world goes through writer's block.

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