Monday, July 9, 2018

ARC Review: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Series:The Great Library #4
Pub. Date:July 3, 2018
Length:448 pgs

I have been thoroughly impressed with Rachel Caine's The Great Library series since it's inception, and I'm so happy that we have more books to come. The world-building is complex and detailed, and just superb from beginning to end. I also love the diverse cast of characters from just about every walk of life - there is someone for everyone to identify with.

The last installment of the series, Ash and Quill, ended on a cliffhanger that had me yelling at my Kindle. So without giving away what happened. I will just say that our group of revolutionaries is now separated. Jess and Dario concocted a crazy and dangerous scheme, one that will take all of Jess' cunning, bravery and skill. He also couldn't let his guilt or worry for the others cloud his judgment, as he was in the viper pit with danger at every turn. I was riveted as he attempted to beard a lion in it's den, and I couldn't quite believe that he was pulling it off. Of course there was a lot of action and several close calls that had me holding my breath and flipping the page as fast as possible. 

The Archivist is just as ruthless, evil and power-mad as ever. Though his corruption now has some within the library questioning his motives and methods, though no one seems to be as brave or willing to speak out as our young revolutionaries. Another villain has moved into the role of Obscurist, following the death of Wolfe's mother. Gregory was very easy to hate - he came off as slimy and he delighted in his cruelty. I felt like he had the potential to surpass the Archivist in vile deeds if given the chance.

Jess was not the sole POV in this book, we swapped between the various main characters and were able to get a clear picture of what was happening with everyone else. Morgan had her own plan, and enlisted help from an endearing new character - Anissa. (I think she was new, I don't remember her from previous books.) I enjoyed their alliance and machinations within the Iron Tower. But I was also very intrigued by Eksander, another new (and powerful) character, that I hope plays a larger role in future books.  

Khalila really stepped up in this installment, as did Dario. When separated, Khalila stepped up to become a leader. She shows great promise as a politician - a fair, honest and diplomatic one. Dario has also grown and matured as a character, and I attribute that largely to his love for Khalila. Glain, Santi and Thomas didn't have quite as much page time as the others, but continued to be strong supportive presences in the story. Thomas is our quiet inventive genius, who is still troubled by what he endured in previous books. Santi is our alpha male High Garda, who is so in love and worried for Wolfe that it blinds him at times. I love seeing Wolfe and Santi together, they have something truly special.

The tides are turning for the revolution and The Great Library, and I was not able to predict the final events of the story. I can't wait for the next installment!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.

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