Book Review

Review: Smoke and Iron (The Great Library #4) by Rachel Caine

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult, violence, a kiss or two, very little language
Length: 430 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY: 

To save the Great Library, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill put themselves in danger in the next thrilling adventure in the New York Timesbestselling series.

The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making…if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies.

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HOT DANG, THAT WAS A GOOD BOOK.

I’m so glad I’ve been continuing to read this series, this installment was the best one yet! I mean, heartbreaking and anger fueled, but really good.

I love Jess. He is such a great character. I can’t get enough of his sarcastic self. And all of his wielding and dealings keep me on my toes. His relationship with Morgan is still a toss-up in my mind. The amount of time they’ve spent together is real minuscule compared to the feelings they have for each other.

On the other hand, Wolfe and Santi have allllll my love. They are so precious. And getting Wolfe’s POV just added to it!! I love how fiercely loyal they are to each other and how that makes their relationship even stronger. I hope they at least come out at the end of the series actually having a chance for some quiet time and to be together.

 Also, also, KHALILA. A strong, diverse, genuinely kind woman This whole book is filled with diverse characters of all backgrounds. I feel like Caine did such a good job combining everyone together. There’s different religions, races, appearances, etc. It creates a truly universal book.

We got the chance to hear this from Jess, Morgan, Wolfe and Khalila (plus a few others in the last chapter). This increased the amount of action and the pacing. I thought it went a lot smoother than the other books because of this. The squad was broken up into different locations and this kept plot holes from being a mile wide.

My heart definitely shattered with the ending. I have no idea where this will take us in what [I think] is the last book. Can’t wait!

Overall audiences notes:
— Young adult sci-fi/dystopian
— Very little language
— Violence (guns, torture, physical, knives)
— Some declarations of love, and a handful of kisses

Book Review

Review: Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine

Ash and Quill

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult, no language, some violence, kiss scenes
Length: 338 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Words can kill.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

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YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME.

The Great Library focus is on the powerful friendships that can change the world. It’s great, it’s different than my normal reads and I’m always riveted by the end. The camaraderie between Jess, Thomas, Khalila, Dario, Glain, Morgan, Wolfe, Santi and even Brendan (I think I got them all?) is so fun to watch. Inter-relationships pull each other in ways where you’re not quite sure what side of the line they’ll end up on.

Jess is a well-rounded protagonist. He’s strong and dynamic and follows his own moral compass of guidelines. It leads him to be occasionally an unreliable narrator, leaving you missing just enough pieces to start to form the chess game he’s already started in his mind.

Wolfe and Santi’s relationship is precious. They’ve literally been through hell and back and are such fierce protectors of each other. I love the small, soft moments they get where we get to see their walls down.

On the other hand, I’m still struggling with Morgan and Jess’s relationship. I feel like they meet, kiss, and then don’t speak again til they decide to kiss again. I’m not sure what kind of relationship that is. It did get better in the second-half of the book when Jess started letting her in on plans. They were actually speaking and developing a secondary dialogue other than heated kisses in hallways.

EVERYONE NEEDS A FRIEND LIKE THOMAS. That man is struggling so much over-coming his torture within the Library and is still thinking of others first, every time. It’s great and his “goody-good” persona (he does have his dark moments, don’t worry) gives a good balance to Jess.

Y’all, I got Brendan a lot more in this book too!! I think he’s a great antagonist. The Ying to Jess’s Yang. Them coming together in the end gave a magnificent plot-twist cliff-hanger ending that will play out in ways that I’m not even sure of. I love not being sure of things!

I was also struggling with the continual…leave this location, become prisoners, escape, go to next location, repeat. I’m slowly getting real weary of it, but I believe the way this book finishes sets up for a different kind of prison. Jess, at least, is finally on the offensive. I can only imagine the dramatics that will ensue with the next installment, can’t wait!

Overall audience notes:
– Young adult dystopian/fantasy
– No language
– Some violence (blood, guns, physical)
– Kiss scenes are slightly passionate with one scene where more could be implied

Book Review

Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult fantasy/dystopian, no language, little kissing, some violence
Length: 354 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: New American Library
Release Date: July 5th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Let the world burn.

With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion and, in the name of the greater good, forbidding the personal ownership of books.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows.

After embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

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BOOK TWO SYNDROME.

I wasn’t as mesmerized by this installment. It was good, don’t get me wrong. I’ll definitely be checking out the third one, but I feel a little…deflated.

The story is strong and I appreciate the focus on the plot. There’s a goal, I know where it’s going, and we’re not diving off left and right. While the rescue mission is underway I wanted more drama to unfold.

It’s the beginnings of a war and while everyone is running around for this one mission, we’re missing a lot of what else is happening. I felt some character back stories could’ve been further enhanced to really grip what fuels their decisions. Some characters would pop in, say their peace, then die. Like, wait what?

I still love Jess. He’s a great protagonist. I love that, in general, he owns being from a criminal family and uses that to his advantage. I hope his brother, Brendan plays a bigger role soon. In my mind he’s super complex and I think it would be fun if he had a bigger spotlight.

There’s touches of romance here and there between characters. Nothing intense, sweet tiny moments that were cute and added some flair. This gang is really bonding together and their devotion is starting to show more and more. I like the diversity of the group and can notice the differences in their personalities and choices based off of them.

It ended on an odd note with the addition of a new character crew, and a new landscape. I’m definitely interested in what will play out next!

Overall audience notes:
– Young adult fantasy & dystopia
– No language
– Kiss scenes are minor
– Gun violence

Book Review

Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy/dystopia, no language, violence, a few kisses
Length: 355 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn… 

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BURNERS, UNITE.

First…unpopular book opinion alert: I have only read the first 4 books of HP, seen all the movies, and have no current plans to finish reading the books.

That being said, I still felt HP vibes and I wasn’t mad. Essentially a group of students are in a class designed to determine if they are fit to be a Librarian (in many capacities). They’re multiple side characters, a teacher, etc. So you see, a little HP adjacent.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters. They were fun, each was unique in background, and personality. Caine took time to let you get a better understanding of each character along with Jess. My favs by far were Wolfe and Santi. Love them. Love their dynamic. Want more of their story.

This is one of the those books where the friendship dynamics mean everything. They are a group that slowly knits together through experiences. The love angle isn’t heavily present (and this book is totally cool without it).

I am also currently trying to hold back some tears, BECAUSE WHY. WHY. WHY. WHY. My great faith in the goddess of books would have me believe the ending is false, and I shall hold onto that glimmer.

The story continually takes twists and turns, no holy mackerel PLOT TWIST moments, but you’re spurned on none-the-less. It’s a shorter book, perfect for a quick read that I devoured during nap time.

A lot of open ending lines have been cast as this is the first book in the series. I’m super excited to follow along and delve into all of the secrets of the Great Library. I think this is such a fun plot and I haven’t read anything directly like it. It really follows its own story.

Overall audience notes:
— No language
— Violence, somewhat detailed
— Kiss scenes that are definitely safe for work
— A fantasy / dystopian YA
— Friendships > Romance