I absolutely love Rachel Caine’s The Great Library series. Upon finishing the third book, Ash and Quill, I was excited to dive into the last two books of the series. While I was a little disappointed with the third installment, I was almost the exact opposite when it came to this fourth installment, Smoke and Iron.
Blurb: 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.
One of the first things that I instantly loved about Smoke and Iron, was the multiple POVs we get from some of our main characters: Jess, Morgan, Wolfe, Santi, and Khalila. It makes sense since they are not all together at the beginning (based off of what happened at the end of Ash and Quill).
As the blurb indicates, this book really starts the game between our lovable yet clever group of rebels and the Archivist and his loyal colleagues. Everyone is making their moves across the board though there’s always this feeling of the Archivist being just a slight step ahead than Jess and his friends. Caine’s writing, as always, shines. I really felt the tension as this whole chess game between the group and the Archivist plays out across the book. Like some of the characters, I didn’t see some of the major moves before they were dealt and felt the fear that that those characters felt when they realized it.
I also thought the development of each character also went up a step; each of their set of skills and unique intelligence really shines through. At least I thought they did compared to earlier novels. It was easy to see where their paths could be leading, though I had to wait until the final book to see if I was right or not.
Overall, I’m really glad that the fifth installment of this amazing, imaginative series redeemed the fourth installment (for me at least).
What were your thoughts on Smoke and Iron, the fifth book of the Great Library Series by Rachel Caine? Let me know in a comment!