Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Book Review Club - Evil Librarian

Evil Librarian
Michelle Knudsen

The jacket to Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen is just too cool. I had to share an image of front and back up, which, incidentally, will be educational for young audiences. Hey Kids, this is what a library book used to look like. It came with a card, and the card got stamped with a date. That's how libraries worked before computers took over.

Or demons. 

In Evil Librarian, Cynthia Rotschild must save her high school, but most importantly, her best friend from the evil scheming of a demon who has come to our world to wreak havoc, but run a very efficient library, complete with informative lecture on the Dewey Decimal system. When said demon takes Annie back to the demon world to be his bride, Cyn sacrifices the love of her live, Ryan, to follow and fight for Annie, all while also heading up the crew for the school's musical, Sweeney Todd

This is an action-packed story that nevertheless delves so adeptly into the emotional ups and downs of its main protagonist with a healthy and delightful dose of humor and self-awareness. And it's not so scary I couldn't sleep at night. I am horrible with horror. This is horror done in a way that doesn't scar me. Whew. 

At times, Cyn gets a little carried away with emotional description and waxing on. I found myself spacing now and again, but these moments are short-lived and do not throw the otherwise exceptionally well-balanced piece off kilter. And perhaps, ultimately, are truer to teenage angst and drama than anything else. 

From a craft perspective, I enjoyed how Knudsen both builds suspense and keeps the reader on the edge of her seat. I don't think I ever realized before how much heavy lifting the present continuous can do in that respect. A great example of just how the verb can work for you is on page 321 (if you are still reading those archaic printed books :-): "He's coming, coming closer, and I'm waiting, and everything else just falls away. I'm listening for the call in my headset, waiting for the conductor's baton to drop and I'm ready. And the moment comes." And here is where the text changes to present simple, as well as short, jabbing sentences, that accent the fight scene. It's really a paragraph worth studying for style and craft. Verbs are it!

For more great reads, mosey on over to Barrie Summy's website. She's serving them up hot and tasty!


Bee said...

Rarely do librarians (even in demon form) get to play protagonist -- or antagonist, in this case! Sounds like a fun read with an enjoyable amount of horror. (I'm not "good" with horror, either.)

As postscript: I've always thought that designing book jackets would be a great job to have if you are creatively inclined.

Ellen Booraem said...

This sounds really fun, Stacy! Interesting comment about the tenses--seems no matter what approach you choose, eventually it's going to demand that you work your brain. No easy answers!

Cloudbuster said...

Oh, I love Mikki's books so much and this one is straight up my alley! Yay, for horror and evil librarians! Thanks so much for reviewing this. It's already on my TBR pile, but now it's risen to the very top. Excellent review (as always) and especially psyched to read your thoughts on present continuous, which I sometimes struggle with as a reader.

Lyndi Lamont said...

I'm not good with horror either, but as a librarian, I don't think I'll be able to resist this one. Librarians almost never get to play villain! And I love, love, love that cover! Too cool.

Linda, former librarian

Sarah Laurence said...

I'm no good on horror either but I love that cover and the concept of an evil librarian. I remember the excitement of being the first to stamp out a new library book as a kid. Best of all, I enjoyed the sample with keen literary analysis. You learn from reading and I learn from reading your reviews. Thanks for sharing!