So I indulged a little and stayed up way too late just to read this book all in one go.
The Midnight Library is about Nora Seed, a woman with depression who finds herself in between life and death — in the Midnight Library. She is given an infinite number of books, each a life she could have lived, choices she made differently, and she now has the chance to choose the one she likes most. She is given a do-over. However, her time is limited, and she has to settle down in one before it’s too late.
This book is a bit shorter than the last book I read, and it ends up being the perfect length. The prose is less poetic than the last book I read — V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue — it is more succinct and everyday, which suits the tone of the story. However, within the narration lie many gems of wisdom and quiet truths that had me contemplating my own existence by the end of the novel. The Midnight Library contained many complex themes and messages, but was never pretentious.
The premise of the story is enthralling. I was hooked from reading the blurb. And the idea of a between-life mechanism to allow you to choose a different life gives Haig a way to create a fun story as well as a thought-provoking one. The question of how our lives may be different if we had changed one thing is always a riveting one. It is always difficult to convey these philosophical questions through writing, but Haig does it wonderfully. The pacing was perfect throughout for me; the story always felt like it was moving along, but not too quickly, and Haig indulges in just the right amount of other lives to make it satisfying but not overdone.
I don’t really have much to say; it was a fantastic book, one deserving of the Goodreads Best Fiction award I found it through, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It will not feel as breathless and whimsical as Addie LaRue, but will feel instead like a comfort, an old friend or mentor with some gentle advice if you’d like to hear it. And it was overall a very entertaining read.