Is A Life Worth More Than a Book? (Smoke and Iron – A book Review)

Smoke and Iron (The Great Library #4)
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: July, 2018 (ARC)

On Goodreads

Smoke and Iron

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Knowledge is all!

Jess Brightwell and his friends are spread out across land and sea and must play a deadly game of spies and espionage. Shaky allies and betrayal threaten their rebellion against The Great Library. Each will have to be strong and take care not to take a step in the wrong direction or it could cost them their life.

The resistance continues to grow as Archivist of The Great Library begins to lose his grip. In his panic, he unleashes a weapon that can destroy cities. Something that Jess has seen before. With his friends, they will fight to take it down and finally save The Great Library.

 

I won this ARC on Goodreads. I received is a proofread copy, so the quotes that I supply could change. My feelings on the book, not at all. Onward, booknerd.

You can find the reviews for the previous books in the series here:

 

Ink and Bone

Ink and Bonehere

 

Paper and Fire

Paper and Ashhere

 

Ash and Quill - Goodreads

Ash and Quillhere

 

This series just gets better with each book. I’m serious! I’ve said it more than once and I’ll say it again. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s smart, strategic, and fantastically worded. Every bit is so thought out and you don’t find that very often. It’s not unheard, but this take is to new lengths.

The rebellion is on! I’ve been WAITING for this! Wooo! This whole journey has led up to this and I was on the edge. When I read, most of the time I’ll pace. People ask me how I do it, but it’s just about the only way I get some serious focus. This time around, I was burning a trail into the floor from pacing so much. Haven’t done that since February when I read The Dark Calling (Book 5 of The Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole. This was amazing!

There was a return of many incredible characters. The ballsy soldier, Troll, fearless smuggler Anit, and the tender-hearted assistant Neksa. Seeing these characters again is one of the most exciting things, especially since this war for The Library has officially begun. Everybody is picking their sides and all hell breaks loose.

Smoke and Iron

Emotions were bouncing everywhere. With the characters apart for a while during the book I was really nervous. Everything was balancing on a pin and one slip and it could all fall apart. Now, more than ever, you’re taken deep into their thoughts and emotions. I was crumbling apart right along with them. Pretty powerful writing and overwhelmingly captivating.

As far as surprises and heart wrenching shockers, this book surpassed all of them. There were losses and revelations that I wasn’t expecting. Some regarding the relationships of these characters I’ve grown WAY too attached to and am not willing to give up. Dario and Khalila’s relationship takes a sharp turn as does Jess and Morgan’s relationship. For one, I squeeed with complete joy, but for the other I whimpered. To find out more definitely read the book because that’s all your getting from that. LOL.

So, I weeped and squealed and gasped. A lot of noises.

Buffy - Once More with Extreme Prejudice

One of the biggest differences form the previous books was that this one split up into parts, following the characters while they were on their separate journeys. It was actually pretty great. This wasn’t just from Jess’s POV, but from Khalila’s, Wolfe’s, and Morgan’s. Each of their perspectives was incredible.

If you’ve kept up with my previous reviews, you know that there hasn’t been much I could say about each. The insight to how they saw this rebellion and their feelings toward their friends was just phenomenal because I’ve always wondered. Khalila is strong and brave, never letting anyone challenge her beliefs or ability to fight for them. Wolfe comes across as cold and unfeeling, but that’s not the case at all. It’s just about the opposite. Morgan’s precisely as Jess views her. Determined and will sacrifice everything for those she cares about. This was one of my favorite things about the book. I loved the insight. It was powerful and truly made the story that much better.

 

So, I’ve gabbed on longer than I planned. My bad, but not really, I could talk forever, though eventually I’d be spoilery. Don’t want that.

 

Now, as you noticed the book doesn’t get released until July. I’m so grateful to be able to read this advanced copy. As you know—well at this point I’d hope you’d know after the last few reviews—Rachel is one one my favorite series authors. She can really create a world beyond belief. I am always sucked into her books. This series hasn’t disappointed me once.

 

Quotables:

“We are in this to the end now.” (Khalila, p. 68)

“We’ve opened the gates of hell, you know. And what comes out now is our fault.” (Glain to Khalila, p. 195)

“There is a rot at the heart of what we love. It is not the knowledge or the preservation of it. It is the notion that only we can decide what is worthy, what is not, what is progress, and whether or not it should proceed.” (Khalila, p. 203)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

Find Me:

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P.S. Song today? Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World

 

Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

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I See Green Fire (Ash and Quill – A Book Review)

Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Ash and Quill - Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

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

Ink and Bonehere

 

Paper and Fire

Paper and Firehere

 

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.

Ash and Quill

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.

Ash and Quill

(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.

Betrayal

Secrets

Family

Rebellion

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!

 

Quotables:

“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…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Talking Bout A Revolution by Tracy Chapman.

 

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Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

It’s In Your Bones…(Ink and Bone – A Book Review)

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: 2015

On Goodreads

Ink and Bone

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Knowledge is power.

Imagine the Great Library of Alexandria never having crumbled. Still standing, the library has spread to every corner of the world in major cities, using its knowledge as a source of power. Using it to govern what people are and aren’t allowed to know. Owning real books is forbidden. The consequences are dire.

Jess Brightwell, son of an infamous book smuggler, is sent to the Library to train in the Library’s services, but more importantly to spy and steal valuable books for the family business. His loyalties to his family and beliefs in the Library are tested greatly as he comes to discover that the Library isn’t what he imagined. When his friend, Thomas, creates a machine that does the unthinkable, does something that could change everything they know about the Library, that could change the future, everyone is thrust into danger. The way of The Great Library—books above life—begins to tremble. It’s only the beginning…

I am so EXCITED to finally get to this series!!!! To be fair, I’ve got a super long queue of books and it took longer than expected to get to The Great Library, but still. EXCITEMENT!!! LOADS OF IT! I love LOVE Rachel Caine’s work. At some point, I plan to get the Weather Warden series and to reread Morganville Vampires (again).

Onward and upward now.

Imagine how different the world would be if one of its greatest structures and base of knowledge survived? The Great Library of Alexandria did just that in this series. Much more twisted than I ever imagined, this series is bringing to life something I’ve always wondered about. What if books were truly seen for the power they have? The knowledge in them holds keys to not only the past but to help push the world into the future. It’s crazy. Ink and Bone is only the beginning of approaching the dark side of knowledge. Who can have it and who can’t. How dangerous it is and how it can take your life. Obviously, I’m mesmerized.

Ink and Bone

It was a slow start because I was getting used to this world that felt like so much like one I already livein, yet not at all. Books are illegal. LIKE WHAT!? If that’s the case I’d be just like Jess, smuggling them, loving them, having that ink tattooed into my bones, metaphorically of course. My love for books runs so deep so really I related to his character. He’s strong, smart, and more than that, he cares. He cares about people, about books, about his beliefs. That alone makes him magnificent because as a smuggler in a smuggler family it’s out of the ordinary and unexpected.

Ink and Bone

There is so much in this world that captured me in a bubble of wonder. The combination of modernism and ancientism (I made that word up, so what?) for one. Technology blends with beautiful stone architecture from Egypt, Greece, Alexandria. That same architecture grew in other parts of the world. It’s as if history wasn’t forgotten or preserved, but kept in working order, unchanging. I’m not doing justice by this, but truly, it’s splendid and breathtaking. But then again, I also have a very strong love for the ancient architecture of such times. Stone masonry like this has been long dead and preserved as nothing more than worldly museum pieces since metal became the staple architecture. *queue sad face*

As for the technology, it’s crazy. From books to bracelets. Statues meld with robotics, but they still hold the grace and fluidity that they appear to be alive. Be careful though. They could kill you if you’re carrying a book.

Ink and Bone

The story moved at a great pace and there wasn’t a bit left out that I felt compelled to question. Details I never imagined or thought about were explored with great depth. There was no rush. And the biggest element in this book is secrets. Secrets of the Library. Jess’s family secret. Thomas’s secret. Morgan’s secret. EVERYBODY HAS SECRETS! And they only dragged me in deeper because I want to know them. Just amazing writing.

The tone and imagery completely engulfed me. It was all so incredible. It was vivid and real in my mind, but not over the top to the point that it seemed incredibly fake. I felt like I could recognize a lot the places mentioned, even Alexandria, and yet, they were all different, askew. The world we know is tilted into a different world of ‘what if’. Fantastical and complete wonder. I know, I’ve said that more than once already.

When it comes to expectations, all of mine were dashed-in a good way. Sometimes you can predict what’s coming when you read, but I couldn’t. Things of which I cannot say happened, and that left me gaping and stunned in complete disbelief. My emotions were rocked and more than once. There were twists that I didn’t see coming at all. The life-threatening dangers chasing Jess and his friends: Thomas, Morgan, Khalila, Danton, Portero, Glain, and Dario, were unrelenting and the crazy thing? This is only the start! They are only scraping the surface of something much bigger.

So I did that rambling thing. I told you my geeking excitement was uncontrollable. I just can’t help myself.

I don’t say all of this just because Caine is one of my utmost favorite series authors. I mean, she’s right up there with Lemony Snicket and Kresley Cole for me and that’s pretty high. I get all Squeeeee and everything. My mum thinks I’m a spasm when I read her books. I have so much to say because she is phenomenal. She’s encompassed a world that I’ve only dreamt of before and I have thought about what it would be like if libraries had a stronger presence in the world. Granted, this is a dark direction and the ending was pretty shocking. I was in denial until I started the next book. Also, let me add that I wasn’t so sure about this series when I started it, but as I read and sunk deeper into it, I couldn’t put it down. This is a subject is so special and it really touched an important part of me. This is definitely a series I recommend, especially if you’re as much of a booklover as me and you love libraries and if you’d do anything to protect books.

READ THIS!

Quotables:

“You’re clever, Jess, but Da’s wrong about one thing; you don’t just have ink in your blood. It’s in your bones. Your skeleton’s black with it.” (Brendan to Jess, p. 32)

“Don’t play to your strengths. Strengthen your weaknesses.” (Jess to Khalila, p. 85)

“Not all knowledge is books.” (Jess to Portero, p. 95)

“The books come first, sir. Isn’t that how is should be? Books before men?” (Portero to Scholar Wolfe, p. 204)

“Kisses could lie as well as words.” (Jess, p. 259)

“The Library isn’t a person. It doesn’t have a conscience, or a heart or a soul. It does what it has to do to survive!” (Morgan to Jess. p. 294)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S Song today? Just Hold On by Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson.

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