I was provided with an advanced reader copy by NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity.
Hey boys and girls 🙂 How’s it going?
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I’ve enjoyed The Great Library trilogy by Rachel Caine. I’ve also just learned that it will now be five books, instead of three! How cool is that?
Hope you enjoy! ❤
This review is completely spoiler-free.
- Title: Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)
- Author: Rachel Caine
- Publisher: Berkley
- Publication Date: July 11th, 2017
- Page Count: 368
Ash and Quill is the third book in The Great Library series written by Rachel Caine. Because this is a spoiler-free review, I won’t go into the detail about happens in this book and simply say it follows the adventures of Jess and his friends post-Paper and Fire.
I was really excited to dive into the world of the Great Library again. I enjoyed the first two books quite a bit and think they are pretty much any bookworm’s paradise: a book about books and our love for them. So if you’re a bookworm and you love books, libraries and everything in between (with a generous dash of adventure) do give this one a try!
I thought it would take me a while to get into Ash and Quill, as it had been a few months since Paper and Fire. But I was totally wrong. It was so easy to slip back into this world, the characters, and the story. I didn’t have to worry about remembering any crucial details as the author made sure to refresh my memory here and there.
How the characters have grown. Seriously, the whole cast became so awesome and epic in this book (even more so than before) that I had to keep myself from roaring my approval every few chapters! The girls were especially badass and were never considered “damsels in distress” – no matter how much the boys tried to protect them, at times. They took matters into their own hands and even saved their friends’ butts a couple times.
Not only are they physically capable, but mentally as well. There are, of course, the more intelligent characters but everyone is pretty clever in their own way and together they make the perfect team. They’re also a lot more distinct from previous books and the stereotypes are much more toned down. I could see each character individually in my mind and felt like I actually knew them, inside and out.
The History. If you’re a History fan, you’ll enjoy the little facts thrown in. Some of the stuff that happens in these books is linked to several historical events and serve as an explanation for them; others are alternative realities that are just as fascinating.
The atmosphere. This book is even darker than the previous one, if such a thing was possible. There’s a perfect duality going on: on one hand, the magical world of books and libraries; on the other: the corrupt, vile system. Our heroes go through a great deal of trauma and sacrifice as they navigate this new labyrinth, and one can’t help but feel scared for them.
Everything is going well and smoothly and you are finally ready to breathe out in relief, when something goes terribly wrong and you just scream internally because you have no idea how they’ll get out of it this time!
Even more information about this world is revealed. Just when you thought you knew everything about the Great Library, you get proven wrong. And every single piece of knowledge was as incredible and fascinating as the last, allowing me to put the puzzle together.
The humor. Despite this being a much darker and serious book, there are always great moments of humor that are actually funny and clever (and great ways to sever the tension that sometimes accumulates to the point of suffocation). Again, each character stands out with a humor of their own, which turns out to be a very enjoyable blend.
The geniality of some of these kids is almost out of this world. I was really impressed with all of the ideas and brilliant plans they came up with and, again, how strong and persevering they were when it came to executing them. They were always aware of the risks and what could go wrong, but it never deterred them. Unlike the first book, they are now perfectly conscious of what they got themselves into and they’ve accepted it. Even those I was less sure about ended up surprising me. They were all just so incredibly brave.
The camaraderie in this is one of the best I’ve read in a while. The group is closer than ever and there’s a real sense of duty towards their friends – everyone strives to protect and help everyone and you can tell they would lay their lives on the line for their peers with no hesitation (which they do, multiple times).
There’s no time for romance or anything of the sort in this, so the little moments we get are short and sweet. There is also a great LGBT relationship that will melt your heart.
Similarly to Paper and Fire, there are some moments where it feels like our main characters are relatively safe from harm, though I still got nervous for them. There is a lot of collateral damage throughout the story, don’t get me wrong, but in the end I think I would have liked even more danger.
Some decisions/plans were a bit far-fetched, in my opinion, and I’m not sure how doable they would actually be. I think there were times when the author complicated things a little bit too much, when the answer was a lot more obvious.
Even though I wasn’t bored with the book at all, I still got distracted and sidetracked. This wasn’t the book’s fault, however, yet it definitely hindered my reading experience a bit (thus the book not getting a higher rating). I think the last third of the book was the best one as it held my attention with an iron grip.
Ash and Quill was a great read, from start to finish. The pacing is incredible and there’s always a lot going on so it never gets boring. The characters are amazingly clever and competent, though not in an unbelievable kind of way. There’s been an amazing progression since book one and they’re all grown up. The girl power in this was especially enjoyable.
If you love books, History and strong friendships, you’ll love this series. There’s some clever humor to cut the tension when it gets to unbearable and some really cool action. This is probably the darkest book in The Great Library and possibly my favorite so far.
I think any bookworm would love this as there’s a bit of something for everyone.
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Thank you so much for reading and until next time!