Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine
Summary from Goodreads:
Words can kill.
Hoarding all the knowledge of 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…
I have so been enjoying this series. I’m glad that it isn’t over yet. I thought this was the last book, I seem to be doing that a lot lately, but I’m so glad it isn’t. I was a bit surprised by it’s length, I seem to remember the other two being much longer, but there was so much going on in this book that it seemed longer.
I just love the world that Rachel Caine has created here, and not just because it revolves around books and libraries. I love the mix of science and magic that makes this world work. Some of the inventions rely on engineering and physics to work, but many need the science and technology plus a little magic to make them real. I’m mostly talking about the automatons that protect the libraries and the people who work there. They are such a clever piece of machine and magic that are beautiful and terrifying at the same time. There is lots of other technology throughout the books that make it seem like a more of a modern story but then there are things that make it sound more like ancient times. It is a nice mix that really works in this story.
I adore all of the characters as well, even Dario whose loyalty I often question. I also like that there is a diverse group of characters from all over the world and cultures. Women are also seen as equals in most of the roles they play, especially in the military. There appear to be just as many women in high places as men in the military and they are just as strong as the men. The other two women in the group, Morgan and Khalila are also well regarded in their roles and even though the men in the group feel the need to protect them, I feel like that just stems from the fact that they are not trained to fight, although they can both hold their own if needed. Thomas is a favorite as well, I love the way he looks at the world and his ability to create out of very little. Jess has a special place in my heart. I always find myself drawn to those thief turned good guy characters. I admire their skill in any situation to figure out the solution to a problem. Jess has to make a horrible decision at the end of this book, and even though he sees and understands what his father is really up to long before we as the readers do, he is already plotting to stop him in some way. In some ways I hate that this book ended with a cliff hanger, but I know that there really wasn’t a better way to end it.
This book spends some time in the Americas, Philadelphia specifically, which are still a colony in this world. They are prisoners of some Burners, rebels who are against the Libraries rule. It was fascinating to get some more insight into these rebels thoughts and reasons behind what they do. What happens to them is quite shocking but only brings the horrors of what the Library will do to stay in control of knowledge.
A solid third installment in this wonderful series about the fight against ultimate power and evil.