Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)
Author: Rachel Caine
Words can kill.
Officially exiles of The Great Library and of Alexandria, Jess Brightwell and his friends are in the burner capital of the world, America. Philadelphia to be specific. With walls all around them and more enemies that would rather see books burn rather than save them, the group has to find a way to freedom before being burned with them. But once free, what then?
They have one move they can make. One bargaining chip. The special machine that resulted in Thomas’s imprisonment.
The Great Library is moving in to take out all that stand against it, especially Jess and his friends. Before it can, Jess realizes that he’ll have to turn to unlikely allies. In turn, he and his friends will have to work together as one if they hope to do what nobody has ever done. Take The Great Library.
Everything has shifted! The game hasn’t changed, but the board has shifted!
Out of The Library and right into burner central. Land of the free *cough* book burner *cough*.
Now, if you’ve been reading this series then you know where we’re at. If not, here are the previous reviews. They’re not utterly spoilery, so don’t worry.
Ink and Bone – here
Paper and Fire – here
After getting free of The Library, Jess and crew land in a new pot of boiling water-Philadelphia, burner central. Basically from the pot to the kettle and I was wondering which was worse. Though to be honest they were both really bad!
After everything, the despair and agony of what each character’s been through it at its peak. I keep thinking, it can’t get any worse. They’ve all been through so much. Rachel doesn’t protect her characters though. There’s no special shell that shields them from pain. She just makes it hurt so good and my faith in Jess, Thomas, Glain, Khalila and yes, even Dario, Wolfe and Santi just grows. The strength of each of these characters took my breath away! They protect one another without hesitation. Now, more than before, unsure of who to trust, their lives are at risk and so are the lives of those they care about.
The new antagonist, Beck, leader of the burners is one man you don’t want to mess with. While Philadelphia is, by all appearances, a fallen city, he defends it and has no regard for outsiders aka Jess and crew. The rebellion he runs, Jess figures out, isn’t a rebellion at all. My bones shook. More than anything I really just wanted my precious babies to be okay.
One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve read this series is that its slow build-up, and I’ve never been more enthralled by it. It’s not boring and dragging at all. It’s enticing! Seriously nail-biting. I was anxious, and could barely breathe as I read. I couldn’t put the book down! Rachel really pulls you along with her magnificent attention to detail. From the beginning, this is a series that makes you think. There’s action, but it’s balance so well with strategy and to see that so well thought out really blew me away. These characters, even the bad guys, are wickedly smart.
(And, I’m not going to lie. I picture Tom Ellis as Beck. He so wicked, yet you could almost trust him.)
Just like the last book really had a focus on the automata, this one had a mild focus on quintessence—what gives and Obscurist power/energy–and the POV of the burners. (I could give a super long explanation on what an Obscurist is, but this is a review. To find out, definitely read the books.) It was fascinating, especially because I wanted to know more about what helped keep the Library spinning on its metaphorical axis. It’s like science and magic slammed together creating stunning results. Learning about tidbits like these, in this world, has been so subtle. You learn things as you go, when it’s important. No info overload! But seriously, freaking gorgeous work. You just get sucked in more and more. This has taken me from being shin deep to waist deep.
The shocking twists and turns still railed me. Just when I did think there’d be anything else to surprise me, Dario came out with a shocking twist about his family! He and Jess really came together and I was barely handling it. And the ending! I can’t tell you what happened because that would make me a spoiler, but it knocked the breath out of me. I do have one word though. I’m pretty sure I can give that. Maybe even two or three.
Okay, four words. But…just wow.
Since starting this series I’ve only become more and more invested. The chapters are nice and long. There’s a special Ephimera at the end of them that’ll connect you even more with this world, make you a part of it. It’s beautiful and dark. This was such a great addition to the series. I need more!
“When all the world is a lock, boy, you don’t make a key. You become a key.” (Callum to Jess, p. 25)
“It was the start of something. And the end of something else. And in that moment, he couldn’t find the thread of what was right, or wrong, in any of it.” (Jess, p. 147)
“Some battles you have to fight face-to-face. Not in a back alley.” (Santi, p. 263)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Talking Bout A Revolution by Tracy Chapman.
Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.