“Musical theater can save you, even if only for two or three hours at a time.” – Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
This book is perfection. It’s strange, because I had originally dismissed it as “not my cup of tea.” After all, it’s horror of the demon-hunting variety, and it’s campy, and it’s compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer which I LOVE but do not necessarily want to read. I agreed to read it for work, and I am so very glad I did. Why did I think that I wouldn’t want to read Buffy-esque book? I don’t even know now, after reading this.
This book’s no-nonsense protagonist is Cynthia Rothschild: fan of musical theatre and stage design, best friend of Annie, and possessor of one superb sense of humour. She had a huge crush on Ryan, star of the school musical. Annie teased her a lot about it, so she was initially gleeful when Annie herself seemed to be harbouring a crush – but then that crush turned out to be Mr. Gabriel, their new librarian. Cyn couldn’t help but think that Mr. Gabriel was creepy, especially when he asked Annie to be a library monitor. At first she thought that she might have been just a little jealous, but then she realised that he was a demon. Of the usual soul-sucking, evil variety (was there any other kind?) So of course, Cyn had to find a way to free her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian – with the help of Ryan!
Things I loved about this book:
– Cyn. She’s amazing. She’s not flawless, but I loved how snarky she is, and how passionate she is about stage design, and how loyal she is to Annie.
– Mr. Gabriel. Is it strange that I love the villain of the story so much? But I DO. Mr. Gabriel is just as funny as Cyn, and I loved how he could be this evil demon planning to snack on the entire school, and yet he still worked at being a good librarian.
– It really is rather Whedonesque, not just in the sense that it’s a campy, smart, funny horror story, but also in the sense that it has interesting twists to typical horror movie tropes.
– The romance. Cyn and Ryan started out as people who kind of knew each other, and slowly became friends who might want to be more, and I liked that. I liked that they became friends FIRST, and I liked that they had their priorities straight – they were interested in each other, but they knew that saving the school and their friends came first.
– Sweeney Todd. I love the inclusion of this musical, and how! I find it hilarious that the demons love Sweeny Todd so, and I love how appropriate it is for this book.
– The fact that all the other characters were interesting to read about. ALL of them. I’d elaborate, but I don’t want to give anything away. But yes, I liked the heroine and the villain and everyone in between.
I can’t think of anything I dislike about this book. While there is a sequel (which is just as awesome), Evil Librarian works well as a standalone, so you can still read it even if you’re not looking into starting a new series.
Note: I received my copy from Pansing Malaysia for work (we had an event featuring this title last year.)