Review: Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine


Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine
Genre: fantasy, suspense, adventure, drama
Publisher: Berkley
Date: July 11, 2017

What if a library was the master of everything? Imagine governments around the world all controlled by a library. The Great Library in fact.  But rather than dispensing knowledge and understanding, the Archivist is a dictator. Wisdom, free thought, invention and knowledge are ideas that are tamped down, held tight, and not released outside the control of the Great Library. In fact, the printing press is something that is so dangerous an idea, that men and women have died for just coming up with the idea of it.

Under this tremendous tyranny and horror, Jess Brightwell and his friends, a set of rebellious exiles, are determined to stop the Great Library from its vicious and horrifying rampage. They want to return it to the glory days when wisdom and knowledge were freely traded and shared.  Within this tight little group are Obscurists, Scholars, inventors and warriors. Jess, with his family’s secret trading background (imagine a little Han Solo-ish renegade here) doesn’t seem to fit in, but as crazy as their tribe is, it’s a tight family.

When they get caught by the Burners (a rebel group determined to destroy the Great Library but also all the books, knowledge and printed material with it) things look dire for the group. Can they possibly escape with everyone safe? Or will they lose someone along the way?

This was my first book in the Great Library series. I was hesitant to jump into a series that’s already well established, but I am so glad that I did. The first few chapters were slow going as I learned a little about who everyone was and what their talents were, but it certainly didn’t take long for me to get wrapped up in the drama.  As I was reading, this felt like one of the most amazing action/adventure movies I’d ever watched. Everything unfolded in vivid detail that engaged the imagination as if it were an actual movie.

I loved learning about these characters, watching their interaction and honestly, I’m ready to go back and check out the earlier books in the series, Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire. I must admit that writing detailed plots full of twists, turns, and intrigue is not one of my strong suits. So when I can find a book (or in this instance, a series!) that keeps me on my toes, actively involved with the characters, and guessing what could possibly happen next, I am thrilled. Rachel Caine’s book is full of just this sort of adventure. I could not wait to turn the page and see what happened next. I absolutely adored this book!

Now I will warn you that as it unfolded and I was pulled deeper and deeper, it became harder and harder for me to put the book down. The best thing I can tell you is to either keep a copy on your phone or take it everywhere with you. And you might need to find something to soothe your ragged nerves when you get to the end. (Oh and did I mention – I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK!)

The Great Library series has been firmly added to my list of favorites and I can’t wait to catch up on the previous books while waiting for the next one!

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