Monday, July 2, 2018

ARC Review: Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library (Book 4)
Publication: Berkley (July 3, 2018)

Description: To save the Great Library, the unforgettable characters from Ink and BonePaper 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.

My Thoughts: This book is not the place to begin this five book series but readers already invested in the characters won't want to miss it. Jess, masquerading as his twin brother Brendan, Morgan and Scholar Wolfe are back in Alexandria. Jess is trying to scam the Archivist. Morgan is back in the sealed tower of the Obscurists and Wolfe is back in the dungeons where he was tortured. Jess and Morgan have a plan and secrets which they didn't share with Wolfe.

The rest of the group - Khalila, Dario, Glain, Thomas and Captain Santi - are on a ship under control of Anit, Red Ibrahim's daughter. They learn that they have been betrayed and Red Ibrahim has decided to sell them to the Archivist. They aren't in favor of that plan and need to stage their own revolution to gain control of the ship.

This book is told from a number of viewpoints. Khalila is the voice of the group trying to get to Alexandria. Jess's sections deal with his plans to overthrow the Archivist and rescue his friends. Wolfe talks about his trials in the dungeon and his plans with the other prisoners to escape. Morgan is building support among the Obscurists and trying to outwit Gregory who is the Obscurist Magnus while trying to get the support of Wolfe's father who has become a very powerful hermit within the tower.

Each group is trying to build support to overthrow the Archivist who will go to any length to hold on to his power. Our heroes all want to return to a better version of the Great Library before it was corrupted into putting a stranglehold on knowledge.

I love the world building in this series with automata and a Great Library that used to control the world gradually losing its grip on power. The idea that things like the printing press have been invented over and over again and suppressed each time by the Library is intriguing. This world now has countries rebelling against the library. The printing press being used by smugglers and book burners to get their messages out.

The book was filled with action and excitement and with characters needing to make decisions that with test them to their limits. I can't wait to read the next volume to find out how everything works out and see if the Great Library can find its new role in the world.

Favorite Quote:
The Archivist went as still as the Horus statue looming in the corner. Those eyes caught the light from the windows and turned an eerily hollow shade. Got him, Jess thought. The one thing that every Archivist for nearly a thousand years feared was change, and it was upon this one whether he liked it or not. With a working press to print copies of books, people would no longer be beholden to the alchemically mirrored copies from the Great Library. They could own books, not merely borrow them. The could write books without the oversight of Scholars and the censorship of the Library. The Library had started as a preserver of knowledge, a beacon of light, but through the centuries and millennia, it had become a center of power.

Power rotted from within.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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