Book Review | The Library of the Dead by T L Huchu

Title: The Library of the Dead (Edinburgh Nights #1)

Author: T L Huchu

Publisher: Pan MacMillan/Tor Books

Release Date: 18th March 2021

Source: NetGalley 

Buy: Amazon UK

When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – 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?

Opening up a world of magic and adventure, The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series.

With bright green dreadlocks and black lipstick, 14 year old Ropa Moyo is no ordinary teenage girl.  With a mouth on her like a sailor and a fox for a pet I straight away knew that we were going to get along nicely!

Set in Edinburgh but not the city we know and love, a city that has suffered a catastrophe that has turned it into a shadow of its former glory.  Ropa lives with her grandmother and younger sister, she roams the streets at night talking to the departed.  She earns her keep carrying messages from the dead to the living.  This is how she meets Nicola.

Nicola is recently dead however how very much alive son Ollie has went missing, despite some initial concerns Ropa decides to help her leading her to the discovery of children with the life practically sucked out off them.  Their youthful faces a husk of their former youthful selves.  She may only be 14 but she is determined to get to the bottom of this but this also leads her to another strange discovery.

Her friend Jomo has a new job, a job that he is sworn to secrecy about and of course being a teenager he sneaks Ropa in.  To her surprise she finds out he works in the most bonkers magical occult library hidden deep underground and she starts to discover that along with talking to ghosts her next talent could be magic.  

This book is bonkers but in a good way, Ropa is the kind of friend you want, she is loyal and determined.  Her journey across Edinburgh leads her from haunted houses to my absolute favourite scene.   Ropa is chased along with her wheelchair bound friend Priya through the steep streets of Edinburgh by a milk float, an electric milk float helmed by a crazed milkman! Its terrific stuff and as someone who has traversed the cities steep streets it did make me laugh at the thought of this chase down some of the steepest steps in the city.  It was brilliant.  I also loved the joining of her Scottish ways with the more mystical Zimbabwean side of her.  

The Library of the Dead has certainly set the scene for the next book in the series, there are a lot of unanswered questions such as I’d like to know more about why Edinburgh is a shadow of its former self which I hope will be answered in books to come.

I think fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Jasper Fforde and Terry Pratchett will enjoy this, it was a perfect, fantastical romp through Auld Reekie.

Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Wow, this sounds amazing! I want to read it just for the scene with the milkman😁

  2. It sounds quite unique, thanks for sharing your thoughts

  3. The author's name is funny, makes me think of Cthulhu :) It looks great and the title is irresistible !

  4. I really want to read this book! I love when books are completely bonkers! The haunted house scene definitely sounds wild.

    1. It was bonkers, it’s not often Zimbabwe and Scotland come together!

  5. Oh wow the character alone is a big sell for me. She sounds spunky!

  6. Ghost-talking, magic and a shadowy Edinburgh are all things that really make me want to read this one! Love your review. :D

  7. This is on my wish list, and I'm even more excited now. I love how you said it's "bonkers but in the best way." I'm down for that.


    1. It was, it was so quirky and I love how Edinburgh looked in it.

  8. Definitely a series that I will continue reading. I love the setting and that Milkman *chills*
    Lynn :D

  9. It certainly sounds a bit different! I hope Scotland is actually shown in a decent light for once as most of the ones I've read make us sound like a country full of rude idiots where it never stops raining!!!

  10. I love books that are bonkers in a good way. Thanks for letting me know about this one.

  11. Ghost talker sounds interesting as a job. I love any books with ghosts and will add it to my reading list. you may like 'Lake of Dead Languages.'


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