Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Hoarding all the knowledge in the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…
Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.
Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies–and to save the very soul of the Great Library…
The third installment in the Great Library series, Ash And Quill picks up immediately where Paper And Fire left off. To quickly sum up the mythology of the series: The Great Library of Alexandria exists in this alternate reality. Sadly, this isn’t a good thing. You see, they insist they’re there “to contain the knowledge of the world in the name of the greater good.” What this really means is no one outside of The Library is allowed to possess actual print books. If they want to read they’re given “blanks”, into which stories can be temporarily downloaded. There are all sorts of other rules and restrictions, but the biggest and most serious offense is possession of a real book. It’s not only a serious crime, it’s one that may cost you your life.
This is shaping up to be one of my favorite YA series, which isn’t a huge surprise as I’m a huge fan of Rachel Caine’s previous books. While I found the last book a little slower paced, here the action began on the very first page and never stopped. And what I really liked was that everything that unfolds in this book is obviously setting things up for the last two.
What truly stands out though are the characters. In the previous two books there were times where I felt somewhat disconnected from Jess and his friends. Here, they literally spring to life. The dynamic between them is wonderful and they each contribute something vitally important to their mission. Although romance understandably takes a backseat in this eventful story, what is there is lovely, whether it’s between Jess and Morgan; Wolfe and Santi; or Dario and Khalila. And best of all, there is no angst and no annoying love triangles!’
The world-building continues to be spectacular and with Jess and his fellow rebels spending a majority of the story with book “Burners” in Philadelphia, you get to see what The Great Library has done in a different light. The ending is a heart-rending cliffhanger and I can’t believe we have to wait an entire year for the next book! I swear this series is going to kill me before it comes to a close!
Ash And Quill is definitely my favorite of this series thus far. Full of magic, adventure, friendship, and of course–BOOKS!–this is a series not only for teens, but adult book lovers as well, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough!