Book Review: Smoke And Iron by Rachel Caine

Book Review: Smoke And Iron by Rachel Caine

Published July 2018 by Berkley|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: The Great Library #4

Genre: YA Steampunk/Alternate History

To save the Great Library, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill put themselves in danger in the next thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making…if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies.

I really liked Smoke And Iron!  Overall, I’ve really liked this series, and this book was no exception.

I was slightly surprised by how things ended, and I can’t wait for the next book to see how it’s all going to end.  There are a lot of changes in store for the Library, and I just really want to know how everything is going to go.

I was wondering what would happen in this book with the plan that Jess had in place.  We definitely find out but considering what the plan was, I had to remind myself of who was who and what was going on.  I think if people had been made aware of what the plan was, some things could have been avoided, and maybe even turned out differently.  But maybe not.  We’ll never know.  Either way, there were a lot of twists and turns in this book, and I liked seeing how the plan actually worked out.

I really liked seeing so many people narrate, especially because our band of fugitive scholars are split up.  It worked really well because we saw what was going on with everyone and it was great once everyone was together.  Hopefully, it will stay that way for the next book, but we shall see.

I really liked seeing more of the Obscurists, especially since this is the most we see of them.  Morgan just wants to be free, and while she wants that for the other Obscurists, I also like the perspective that it would be hard for a lot of the Obscurists because they don’t know anything outside the tower.

Khalila was amazing in this book and she’s just awesome.  I want good things for her- well, I want good things for everyone- but she’s pretty amazing.  She’s grown into someone who would make a great leader, and she’s strong and one of my favorite characters in the series.  She really wants the library to be the best version it could be, and she really believes in the library and what it can do.  It was really obvious in this book that she wants the library to exist, but not in it’s current form.

There’s a lot of action, and the book moves along pretty quickly.  There are some unexpected deaths, and one in particular was really hard.  I’m actually surprised that our main group of characters have survived so long, and I’m terrified that one (if not more) will die in the last book.  As long as it’s not Wolfe, Santi or Khalila, I think I’ll be fine.  I hope so, anyway.

4 stars.  I really liked Smoke And Iron, and while there’s a lot of resolution in this book, things are still hanging in the balance.  I can’t wait to see how Caine wraps everything up.

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Book Review: Paper And Fire by Rachel Caine

Paper And Fire CoverBook: Paper And Fire by Rachel Caine

Published July 2016 by NAL|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: The Great Library #2

Genre: YA Alternate History/Steampunk

Blog Graphic-What It's About

In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

This was such a great book!  I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her, and this book was no exception.  You really can’t go wrong with a steampunk world where the Library Of Alexandria still exists, and is in control of, well, everything.

There’s a lot more to the library than I remembered from Ink And Bone, but it’s also been a while, so it’s a little hard to tell if it’s because I remember almost nothing from the first book, or if it’s because we learn more about the Library, or even a combination of both.

I did enjoy it, though, and it’s a lot more simple than I expected it to be.  I think it’s because this book is basically a rescue mission, with a lot of trouble along the way.  It’s definitely a 2nd book, and I’m wondering about certain things that have yet to be answered, and there’s some excitement and magic, but not the way Ink And Bone was exciting and magical.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a really interesting concept, and I like a lot of the ideas we see in the book.

The control of knowledge that we see in Paper And Fire, and how the Library hides so many advancements- it’s really scary and disturbing what lengths they’ll go to in order to control everything.  And what’s sad is that it’s something I can picture happening all too well.  And with the Black Archives, and seeing the Iron Tower and the little snippets of messages and letters before each chapter…the Library has a lot of power, and they may have started off with good intentions, but those in power have changed what the Library should be.

I liked seeing what was going on with Jess and the other characters, but there were a couple points where I found myself wishing that we had chapters narrated by someone other than Jess.  There’s a lot that happens off-the-page, and I think another narrator, even if it’s one or two chapters, would have given another perspective on what was happening.

It also took a while for things to get going, but I’m willing to overlook that (at least a little) because we’re picking up a little bit after where things left off in Ink And Bone.  But once things got going, it got INTERESTING, and there were one or two things that took me by surprise.  Because THEY WEREN’T AT ALL EXPECTED.  At least for me.  Well, maybe one of them might be a little bit obvious, now that I think about it.  But it was hard to tell with this book, because sometimes, you had no idea who to trust.  And I didn’t think it was possible, but Paper And Fire seemed darker and a little more frightening than Ink And Bone, and I think it’s because we learn more about the Library, and how the characters react to some of the things they learn.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

4 stars.  I really liked it, but I would also re-read the first one if it’s been a while, because the details from Ink And Bone will help a lot with Paper And Fire.