Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
The unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire unite to save the Great Library of Alexandria from itself in this electrifying adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.
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....
Ash and Quill is the third installment in author Rachel Caine's The Great Library series. Ash and Quill picks up immediately where Paper and Fire left off. As a sort of summary for the series thus far, The Great Library of Alexandria exists in this alternative reality. But, that isn't necessarily a good thing. The Library claims it exists to "contain the knowledge of the world in the name of the greater good." But, possession of a real honest to goodness books is a serious crime, and can get you killed.
Also, doing something the Library considers treasonous, like building a printing press, can get you imprisoned, or tortured. Just ask Thomas Schreiber. As the story kicks off, protagonist Jess Brightwell, and his cohorts Christopher Wolfe, Capt. Santi Niccolo, Khalila Seif, Dario Santiago, Glain Wathen, Thomas, & Morgan Hault find themselves in the burner city of Philadelphia. Burners, as we have learned, really do enjoy their book burnings, and they are a boiling pot of troubles for those who lead the Library.
Caine's Philadelphia is anything like the current city. It is brutal, dark, dreary, people are suffering and starving, and under constant threat from the Library's shock troops. There's not places to get a quick Philly Cheesecake. You are luck if you get a crusted piece of bread and rotten cheese to eat for your only meal of the day. This book has less running around than it's predecessor. In fact, a large chunk of this story takes place in Philly, and then across the pond to England where things get rather twisted.
One of the more interesting facets of this story has been Jess and his family dynamics. So, it's interesting to see his twin brother Brandon make an appearance. After all, Brandon isn't someone that has a stellar record of being trusted, and Jess really doesn't want anything to do with his father's business. Jess has gone through tremendous character growth over the course of this series. While I still resent that he was screwed over in the first installment, I can see that he really isn't Scholar material. He is a fighter, and yes, even a leader.
For the record, I was one of those who thought this was only a trilogy. Shame on me. It is actually 5 books. More books is always a good thing in my opinion. Everything that happens from start to finish in this story matters in the long run. The fact that Thomas is bloody brilliant and perhaps a bit dangerous as well. Morgan is another character who you must pay attention to. Her powers are so unique, and so powerful, one can't imagine how Caine is going to resolve her issue when all is said and done. Especially when it comes to Jess and Morgan's relationship. Whatever happens in the next book, I hope the author brings her A game like she did in this installment.