The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith is the second installment of the Hell’s Library series. As one would expect of a sequel, there are a few answers, more questions, and a new crisis our heroes must resolve. This time around, we not only learn more about the Library, but we also get some time with Brevity and Hero as well as Claire.
As The Archive of the Forgotten starts out a few months after the end of The Library of the Unwritten, there is always a danger that an author will either not recap the previous story or will spend too much time doing so, to the detriment of the current one. Thankfully, Ms. Hackwith does an excellent job balancing the refresher with building the mystery for this new adventure.
In fact, one of the main plot points of The Archive of the Forgotten is the aftermath of that first story. For Hero, Brevity, and Claire, there is no such thing as moving on with their lives (or afterlives). The emotional and psychological traumas of the battle among all of the characters play a significant role in the sequel, as it should. It shows that Ms. Hackwith intends for each story within the series to build upon the other one, which is always something you want in any series.
Within The Archive of the Forgotten, we get to see yet another afterlife dimension even though Heaven does not make an appearance this time. We do learn more about the Library, especially its importance within the universe. However, Ms. Hackwith is careful to leave certain questions about the Library without answers to give us something to anticipate in future novels.
The Archive of the Forgotten is the second novel in an enjoyable series that focuses less on the comical and more on the poignant. Ms. Hackwith seeks to redefine what a story is in a way that will strike an avid reader as profound. In addition, she makes you ruminate on the relationship between an author and his or her story. With many a sentence that hits you with all the emotions, I am most definitely a fan and cannot wait to see what happens next!