Recipe & Review: The Archive of the Forgotten, A. J. Hackwith

Book Review: The Archive of the ForgottenHell’s Library Book 2, A. J. Hackwith

 

archive-of-the-forgotten

Book Review: The Archive of the ForgottenHell’s Library Book 2, A. J. Hackwith

 

Claire and Brevity have saved the Unwritten Library, but at enormous cost. Thousands of books were sacrificed and the remaining books have cast out Claire as librarian. In her new role curating the arcane objects collection of Hell, she’s just down the hall from the library…but it is no longer hers.

 

Brevity is now librarian, but she does not feel ready for the role. She still struggles to avoid calling Claire “boss.” Although they remain friends, their friendship is wounded by the secrets that were revealed, by the losses they endured, and the hurt that Claire feels at the library’s rejection.

 

The tensions between them come into sharp focus when a mysterious pool of ink appears in the Arcane Wing. Discovering it was ink spilled from the books that died in the previous battle, Claire and Brevity disagree who should test the ink and how it should be tested. It is from the library, so is Brevity in charge? It is in the arcane wing, so is Claire in charge? The dispute becomes more significant when Claire accidentally touches the ink and it begins to take over her body. Now, discovering the root cause and determining how to deal with it becomes a life and death race against time.

 

Hell’s Library has quickly worked its way into our hearts. A.J. Hackwith has created a found family of quirky and charming characters that live in a terrific amalgam of afterlives. In the last book we visited Valhalla. Elysium is on the itinerary this time, including a brief (and unfortunate) visit with a Muse. The character Hero–literally, a book character with the name Hero–finds he is much more than his author intended. The former angel Rami provides a gravitas born from millennia of life experience, but finds he too can learn and grow. And Brevity and Claire both discover new aspects of themselves which provide unknown strength and unwelcome pain.

 

It’s fair to assume that any book set in Hell will probably attract the attention of people without imagination or humor. I would ask that those people set aside their judgment and give the books a chance. Their “theology” (or cosmology or mythology or any other “ology”) is certainly not orthodox in any sense of the word. But these are not meant to convert or sway or persuade anyone of any view of eternity. These books are meant to celebrate found families, to rejoice with strong women and odd characters, and to proclaim a love for the written word. The ultimate discovery revealed by the ink is something all of us readers and writers have either long known or suspected. And it is one that both thrills the heart and sets the stage for the next volume to be added to Hell’s Library.

 

Strawberry Tarts: One Sweet and the Other Savory

 

The Damsels of the Damsels of Distress Suite in the Unwritten Library apparently bake treats for Brevity their current Librarian and Claire their former Librarian and now the Arcanist of the Archive of the Forgotten. Although not actually described, I visualized a sweet strawberry tart that would go well with Brevity’s fruity herbal teas. Likewise, I am sure that the more established Damsels would be able to provide a savory strawberry tart that would provide Claire and Brevity more sustenance prior to their next library emergency.

Savory Strawberry Tarts

This small open faced tea sandwich is basically a variation of avocado toast and is tasty anytime of the day.

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury)

1 medium ripe avocado (finely diced)

1 cup strawberries (finely diced)

4 ounces feta cheese crumbles

Balsamic Glaze (not vinegar, this is a sweet syrup condiment)

 

Preheat the oven 375 degrees. Free the log of dough from the tube, but do not unroll. Slice the dough log into rounds approx 1/2 inch thick, you should get 14-16 circles. Press a circle of dough into the bottom of a cupcake pan and about a quarter of the way up the cup sides. Lightly dock the dough with a fork. Bake for approximately 9 minutes. Remove the tart shells from the pan and let cool to the touch.

 

Layer the tarts shells with equal amounts of first the diced avocado and then the diced strawberries. Sprinkle with the feta cheese crumbles and then add a swirl of the Balsamic Glaze.

 

Sweet Strawberry Tarts

This simple tart is easy to put together and is also tasty any time of the day.

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury)

1 cup strawberries (finely diced)

8 ounces/one box cream cheese

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 TBS powdered sugar

1/2 cup strawberry jelly

Basil chiffonade (stack and roll basil leaves, then cut into ribbons with kitchen shears or sharp knife)

 

Preheat the oven 375 degrees. Free the log of dough from the tube, but do not unroll. Slice the dough log into rounds approx 1/2 inch thick, you should get 14-16 circles. Press a circle of dough into the bottom of a cupcake pan and about a quarter of the way up the cup sides. Lightly dock the dough with a fork. Bake for approximately 9 minutes. Remove the tart shells from the pan and let cool to the touch.

 

In a stand mixer, whip together the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar till light and spreadable like a frosting. Divide the cheese equally between all tart shells and coat the bottom of each shell. Then layer the diced strawberries over the cheese. In a microwave safe bowl/measuring cup heat the jelly for about 44 seconds till the jelly takes on a syrupy consistency. Spoon the jelly glaze over the strawberries. Garnish with a pinch of the basil ribbons.

 

Also see:

Recipe & Review: The Library of the Unwritten, A. J. Hackwith

 

archive-of-the-forgotten

Book Review: The Archive of the ForgottenHell’s Library Book 2, A. J. Hackwith

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