Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Synopsis: With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone, must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.
The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen, but with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, it’s future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never for, to forge a new future for the Great Library…or see everything it stood for crumble.
The Great Library is one of those series that’s improved with each book, and Sword and Pen perfectly brings to a conclusion one of the best YA series I’ve come across. When the series first started, Jess was the star, with everyone else cast as supporting players. But as in many fantasy stories, where would the main character be without his friends? Would Harry Potter have been able to defeat Voldemort without Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Neville, and okay, Ron? I think not. While Jess has all the qualities you look for in a hero, he also has flaws which have come to light as the series’ mythology has progressed, which is why it’s important that each of the other characters have taken on more responsibility with each new book. This last book is a true ensemble with everyone spread out across Alexandria and each chapter told from a different POV. One non-spoiler-spoiler: a favorite character dies. I’m not going to say who, but I felt I had to warn any Great Library fans who might read this. From beginning to end it’s a non-stop roller-coaster ride that builds to a thrilling finale. I finished this in about three hours and that was with me trying to read more slowly because I didn’t want to say goodbye. But gosh darn Rachel Caine! Just like with every other book she’s written, she just sucked me right in!
In the end Pen and Sword has left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand it brings everything to a satisfying “couldn’t ask for anything more” conclusion. On the other, I loved the alternate history and characters that Rachel Caine created so much, that I’m having difficulty saying goodbye. But then, that’s the mark of a truly great writer isn’t it? I promise fans of this series that they’re going to love this entry. If you haven’t read any of the books, but you’re intrigued, I recommend you start at the beginning. Here are the books in order: