ARC Review: “Ash and Quill” by Rachel Caine

The Great Library series is one of those weird series where the first book Ink and Bone was just meh. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to pick up the rest of the books. But what did I find myself doing about a year ago on NetGalley?

“Oh, Paper and Fire? What’s this? The 2nd book in the series? I’ll request it!”

Well, I’m so glad I did! Paper and Fire blew me out of the water, so when I specifically requested the third of the five book series, Ash and Quill, I had high expectations. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. 🙂

So thanks to Berkeley Publishing Group and NetGalley for giving me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Ash and QuillTitle: Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Berkley
Expected release date: July 11, 2017
Length: 368 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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…”

four starsMy Thoughts

This book was just too short for me. I mean that in the best way possible, though. I wanted more–needed more. Ash and Quill picks up right where book 2, Paper and Fire, left off. Jess and his friends have been Translated to the Burner-held city of Philadelphia, USA. There, they reluctantly agree to do the leader’s bidding by making Thomas’s printing press, a machine that could change the tide of battle between the Burners, the Library, and everyone else.

I really loved digging deeper into this world. This series started out with a book I didn’t really love. I was confused and the characters were distant–I couldn’t relate to any of them. But Paper and Fire was amazing, and I knew I had to request book 3 immediately! I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed. Jess has such a tight-knit group of friends. Their friendship is really put to the test, even between the adults, Scholar Wolfe and Captain Santi (who continue to be #relationshipgoals if anyone was wondering ❤ ). Tensions rise, and the realities of their actions hit deep and hard in this book.

Caine’s writing continues to flow well. I’m easily transported into this sort of alternative history where the Great Library of Alexandria was never burned, books are banned, and there are tablet-like devices where you can “download” books. Everything is regulated, and that’s how the library and its leader keeps and controls the power. It’s a vicious cycle, though. What started out as good by giving books to the people turned malicious and power-hungry leaders into villains, unable to see how beneficial it would be to allow people access to all books.

I’m really sad about Morgan. I hope things improve for her, and twist in the end with Jess–wow! I can’t imagine how the next book will play out, but you can bet I’m on the edge of my seat with anticipation!

You can pre-order a copy of this book and the previous books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, or other major booksellers.

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