The God of Lost Words by A. J. Hackwith is a satisfying end to the very clever Hell’s Library series. This series is nothing but an ode to stories, but I believe Ms. Hackwith uses the series finale to celebrate not just stories but also all authors, characters, readers, listeners, and anyone or anything else that either tells a story or keeps those stories safe. She does this while bringing to a close the arcs of her quirky cast of characters, all of whom we have come to love.
As is the case in many a finale, The God of Lost Words becomes a bit of a feel-good story. After all, Claire and her friends just so happen to find the elements they need to defeat Hell’s machinations to take over the Library. Readers get closure for their favorite characters at the same time as the main story comes to a happy ending. At the same time that all this closure is occurring, there is so much love for stories in all forms and so much adoration for the readers and listeners who absorb those stories that it feels like one big love fest.
The ending of The God of Lost Words may be happy and satisfying but it is also a bit bittersweet because not all of the characters get their happily ever after. The ends of each character’s arc all make sense and stay true to each individual’s personality and backstory. Still, there is one relationship in particular that I wish would have had a different ending, even though I recognize that is the romantic in me wishing something that is not meant to be.
As with the other two books in the series, for a story that occurs in Hell, The God of Lost Words is religion-free. This series finale doubles down on the idea that there are as many different afterlife locations as there are belief systems. What’s more, no one afterlife domain is better or worse than the other. Believe in fairies? There’s a place for you. Believe in Valhalla? There’s a place for you. I adore this approach to belief systems and religion in general and find it so much more palatable than anything that spouts strictly religious ideology.
From the very first, the Hell’s Library series surprised me with its charm, its mystery, and its characters. Muses and fairies, demons and angels, characters and humans, Ms. Hackwith uses her eclectic cast to not only tell an interesting story but also to express a love of stories in any form. The God of Lost Words ends this fabulous series with the same level of commitment to her quirky characters, to her intriguing and complicated story, and her ode to stories. I highly recommend this entire series for anyone who loves a good story.