Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ARC Review: Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Series:     The Great Library  #3
Pub. Date:July 11, 2017
Length:368 pages

I have so enjoyed this alternate history fantasy series. Caine has provided us a dense action-packed plot in a complex world based on an alternate history of the Great Library of Alexandria. The Great Library has turned into a world superpower that is power-hungry and corrupt, and suppresses the people at every turn. The Library controls the books and the knowledge, and makes it illegal for the masses to own original books.

Ash and Quill starts up where Paper and Fire left off, with Jess and his comrades escaping into Philadelphia - burner territory. The burners oppose the library and openly rebel against it, though their movement doesn't seem to have made much progress in the last 100 years. Most of the burners have been holed up in the walled city of Philadelphia, which is under siege by the Library's High Garda. While the group has held out for a century, you can't really say they are living. With poor rations and only recycled supplies, they are barely eking out an existence. But when Jess and the gang land in their laps - the people have a place to focus their rage and hatred of the library. Luckily our Library fugitives had something to offer the burners, so they were able to bargain for their lives - at least temporarily. So Jess and Thomas get busy earning their way and the group has to work together to brainstorm and effect a plan to get them out of the hostile city before they are all sacrificed much like the burner's burned books.

The combined action, danger and political intrigue in this series really gets my adrenaline going and keeps me turning the page late into the night. I love the diverse group of individuals who are our Library fugitives. Jess is the scrappy main character who has a real talent for staying alive, and there is a slight love story (PG-rated) going with Morgan, an obscurist. Then the relationship between Scholar Wolfe and High Garda Santi provides us with all the feels as these two men have been through the most devastating times together and their devotion jumps off the page. Khalia is one of my favorite of the group - her quiet strength is captivating. The rest of these young adults have their own strengths and weaknesses - but each brings something unique to the story. 

If you enjoy detailed and complex plots full of action and political intrigue, then I highly recommend this series. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley Publishing.

The Great Library