Alternate History · Diverse · Dystopian · Fantasy · Review · Steampunk · Young Adult

Book Review: Ash and Quill (The Great Library, #3)

To say that this series speaks to me on so many levels would be an understatement. It has me completely hooked and I seriously cannot get enough of this world. I was expecting great things for Ash & Quill (The Great Library, #3) by Rachel Caine, and it totally succeeded!

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…

Yet again, Caine’s writing succeeds in bringing this world to life. I truly felt like I was traveling with our band of young Scholars from the Burner city of Philadelphia to the northern reaches of England. I just love her writing in general. Everything is described clearly and I never have any problem grasping new vocabulary that might come up. The action scenes are also all really well written with lots of tension that puts you right in the middle of it. I also love how each chapter ends with letters between the higher members of the Library. Those sections are some of the greatest pieces of writing in the entire series.

I’ve loved following Jess as he’s developed through this series. He’s always been a bit of a rebel (I mean, he is a thief and smuggler!), but in this book we finally see him making decisions that really show new depth to him. The stakes are extremely high now and it shows in the choices he makes. I also really liked seeing how he learned to deal with the PTSD from his time in Philadelphia. I thought that added a really interesting layer to his character. And he’s such a little booknerd! It really is just the cutest thing everytime he sees a book. As always, the side characters are just as awesome. Morgan is definitely coming into her own and I like that she got more of an edge to her now. We’re finally really getting to know Brendan more and I’m loving his little conniving ass. NEED MORE BRENDAN! Dario is still a smug and manipulative little shit, but I’m here for it. I love that he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty too. We just need more chaotic neutral characters, alright?! Also, Thomas letting out his dark side is just awesome. Glain is her typical badass self. And Khalila is definitely the smartest of them all, but I wish she wasn’t just all compassionate and perfect sometimes. I kind of need her to make more of an impact in the following books.

Okay, after reading that paragraph, it’s obvious to me that I like my characters to have a little dark side to them…. Kylo Ren, anyone?! 😉

The Book Courtship Tag.jpg

I know there was some pacing issues with the previous books, but I didn’t find that to be a problem in this one. I could feel how high the stakes were from the very first page and was completely engrossed. They do spend quite a bit of time in Philadelphia but I thought that there was still enough action and plot movement to keep you invested in the story. But once they leave, you will have to force yourself to put this book down because you can’t wait to see what happens next. The tone shifts a bit towards the end and I found my heart racing as I turned each page. I might have even shed a few tears in the end because I was just so overwhelmed by that climactic ending. Seriously, I wasn’t ready for that cliffhanger!

I recommend everyone to go pick up this series. It just continues to get better with each book! I think it’s insanely underrated and wish more people picked it up. The next installment is releasing in early July, so you have plenty of time to catch up. Run, don’t walk, to your newest library/bookstore/online store/etc. and pick up these books!

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read Ash and Quill? If so, what did you think of it? Did you like how the book ended? Who is your favorite character? Are you looking forward to reading the next book?

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Ash and Quill (The Great Library, #3)

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