Book Review: Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu

When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghost talker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan . . .) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

I really enjoyed this book, set in a dystopian style future Edinburgh where its obvious something catastrophic happened in the past although its never specified what or how long ago. This Edinburgh also has magic users and a lot of ghosts wandering around that people like our protagonist Ropa who are Ghostalkers can see and interact with.

To make a living Ropa takes messages from the recently deceased to their families who then pay her for the service (like making a reserve charges phone call with Ropa acting as the phone).

The real story starts when Ropa meets a recently deceased ghost who’s son is missing and she reluctantly agrees to help find him. This drags her into the path of a dark underground network that will test her and her new friend Priya and old school friend Jomo to the limits.

I liked Ropa a lot. She was tough, savvy and looked out for those she loved or had committed to help. My only minor issue was that she read as older than she was supposed to be. Described as 14 at the start of the book, without that I would have placed her at 16 at the youngest, probably more like 18-20.

I loved the library ( always a sucker for a magical library) and I hope we get to see more of it and learn more of its secrets as the series progresses.

A great start to a new series and I look forward to reading more of Ropa’s adventures in future.