Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Summary from NetGalley:
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.
ARC provided by Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for an honest review
I was initially worried when I realized that this book was going to be told from different points of view. Jess was the sole narrator of the first three books and I had gotten use to his voice and perspective on things. I wasn’t sure hearing from the other characters was going to be a good thing. Also, I was a tad worried that it meant that Jess was possibly going to die in this book. He doesn’t. But once I got into the book and into the other character’s perspectives, I stopped worrying and really started to appreciate the other characters more. Hearing from the other characters made the story that much better.
Besides Jess, we also get the perspectives of Morgan, Wolfe and Khalila. There are also some chapters at the end from Thomas, Santi and Glain, but they were very short. I really enjoyed seeing things through Khalia’s point of view. What she thought and how she dealt with things was so different from Jess’s view. She is much more of a leader than you see in the first three books. She is also calculating and willing to take risks when need be. Morgan’s character was also interesting. She has more abilities as an obscurist than we know about and her understanding of her abilities becomes much clearer when we hear her thoughts about it. Wolfe’s character was about what I expected from him, but his ability to keep it together and gather intelligence when needed was amazing. I still enjoyed Jess and his smuggler training that lets him think things through. I also really like his relationship with his brother, who even though they don’t always get along or even like each other, they will always have each other’s backs.
Even though the group has been split up and many of them are on their own through out most of the book, the strong connection between this mismatched group of people remains strong. They are willing to do what it takes to change the world. They all believe that what they are doing is right and even though many don’t agree, they are able to accomplish much. Even though they come from diverse backgrounds, they have come together and have formed a sort of family that doesn’t always get along but will do anything for each other.
The world that the author has created here is still amazing and still holds some surprises. I especially love the automatons. They are certainly nothing I would like to encounter in real life, they are in fact terrifying, but amazing none the less. There are some new ones in this book that are outstanding, the Artifex and scholars have come up with improvements, and they are not for the better, at least when it comes to the general populace. It always amazes me how far evil is willing to go in order to win.
The plot and pacing of this book was faster than some of the previous books. Things are quickly coming to a head and things are changing. Some of the characters have to overcome their pasts in order to face their futures and make the necessary changes. I really liked that all of the realize that it is not the library that is evil, but the people running it. They want to save the library, just change how it is being used by those in power.
A great addition to this amazing series. It was certainly a page turner and makes me want so much more. One more book to go, though I will be sad when it is over.