Happy bookday to Smoke and Iron! The fourth in the five-book The Great Library series by Rachel Caine is a strong entry in the series. Like many avid readers, I’m like a moth to a flame with books set in and around libraries.
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 previously reviewed book 3 in the series, Ash and Quill. The rebellion against the Archivist reaches a fever pitch and it’s impossible not to see the parallels between our raggedy cast’s struggle for the soul of the Great Library and the political turmoil in the United States.
How do we separate something we love from its leadership? How do Jess and Morgan and Khalila and the rest of the main cast of characters separate the Great Library from the Archivist and his cabinet of corrupt leadership? How do Americans separate love for country from a Congress and President that care more for short-term power than for the long-term good of the country’s people and land? How do you convince others of that same separation in hopes of saving the institution while dismantling the corrupt head, and hopefully garnering their aid? Or, if not aid, at least their lack of opposition?
These meaty questions are the same that our central cast must wrestle with as they move forward in their plot to overthrow the corruption at the core of the Great Library. Can they save that which they love, without losing life, limb and love?
Rachel Caine is a master at making each book in a series feel like an escalation to the Final Battle and pulling a surprise twist at the end that results in another book. Her Morganville Vampires series did this to my frustration, and I abandoned the series without finishing it. The Great Library series, however, will end in the fifth and final book. The upside of this talent is that books in the middle of series rarely feel like filler books. Rather, each is important in the larger story and really can’t be skipped.
Smoke and Iron* is in stores today!
I received an eARC from Berkley in exchange for my honest review.
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