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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…

338 pages, Hardcover

First published July 11, 2017

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Rachel Caine

206 books17.9k followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,093 reviews
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,527 followers
August 26, 2021
Well, i was pissed of changing it from a Trilogy to 5 books series, like an End of the beautiful Trilogy Era… now 5 is apparently the new 3.
But this part was much better..

From the Rebels in America, to the smugglers in England...and finally back again to Alexandria in a magnificent turn of events.
A big Game of Chess to take down a Tyranny ruling the whole world.. Holding the real Power ; Knowledge… Turning repels to Ashes…
And the friends fighting their way to live, fighting to free the Knowledge… with inventing new Quills.

It may be worth 5 books after all.

Full review in progress -the pictures is the in progress, the writing is done-
And unfortunately my hardcover copy didn't arrive yet to Alexandria, Egypt.... unlike the characters in the end of this book.😢
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,680 followers
July 18, 2017
DNF. I'm not sure what did it : the constant repetitions of stuff I've known for more then 2 books now, or the incessant blabbering of characters who keep telling me things rather than showing me, but I'm calling it quits. While Rachel Caine's writing stays quite compelling, it's lacking emotion and I have to accept that I'll never care about any of these characters... Everything is so utterly neat. Bummer.
Profile Image for may ➹.
463 reviews1,851 followers
January 4, 2018
First of all: THERE IS A HIJABI CHARACTER IN THIS YA FANTASY SERIES, and if you didn’t hit the want-to-read button immediately after hearing that, then you hit the need-to-read button.

Second of all: Ash and Quill is the third book of an EXTREMELY UNDERRATED fantasy series. I love it SO MUCH, and it literally is one of the most casually diverse books I’ve ever read??? What are you doing. Please go read it.

The characters in this book are so amazing and basically my favorite part. There’s a whole big cast of them but there’s so much diversity fjdsklfjslda.

🌹 JESS is the main character & narrator, and he’s actually kind of bland compared to the other characters. But he’s still an extremely likeable character so there’s not really a problem??

🌷 MORGAN is the love interest and the Chosen One Who Wants To Save Everyone But Also Is Extremely Selfish At Times. (I didn’t like her very much in this one.)

🌹 KHALILA is one of the most bada*s female characters I’ve come across, and??? SHE’S A HIJABI. I’m not Muslim, but I know how important it is for my Muslim friends to see hijabis in fantasy!! There’s one scene in this book that I absolutely LOVE her for?? It doesn’t affect the plot at all, but I’ll put it in spoilers just in case (but it’s really not a spoiler):

🌷 DARIO is like the forever frenemy of Jess, and while I had trouble really gaining a liking for him in the first book, and then liking him again after the second book, I do think he’s a very well fleshed out character. He’s also from Spain!!

🌹 GLAIN is the strictest, I-show-no-emotion-because-I-probably-don’t-have-any-emotions soldier fighter girl from Wales ever??? But she’s so LIKEABLE.

(Don’t click on this unless you’ve read the second book!!)

Also Wolfe and Santi are everyone’s gay dads, it’s confirmed, please go find them and hug them immediately and tell them to get married immediately & live a good, gay life together.

I don’t remember what happened in this book because I read it so long ago, but according to my notes, it felt a little slow, and there were some repetitive plot points?? BUT. The worldbuilding was so much better (now that lots of things had already been established), and I loved the tense atmosphere of the whole novel. It really makes you want to fight pumped for what’s going to happen!!!

Also!! This book has one of the most unique genre-moods I’ve read in YA?? I call it fantasy, but it also has SO MANY historical vibes to it (which I surprisingly loved… me, your local I-hate-historical-fiction girl), and then it also feels so dystopian?? I LOVE IT. IT’S SO GOOD.

And just like in the first two books, this ends on a cliffhanger that hurt even my cold, dead heart.

Basically: PLEASE PICK UP THESE SERIES. The first book can be a little slow or info-dumpy (I mean I loved it) for some people, but it’s just such !! an !! underrated !! series!!!!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,116 reviews1,978 followers
August 11, 2017
For me this was the best book in the series so far. It was action packed, well paced and always interesting. Also a very speedy read because I never felt the need to put it down.
At last I am beginning to be interested in the characters as well which makes all the difference to my feelings about the book. Jess and Morgan's relationship is developing, Brendan and Darius are a little less annoying and Thomas is becoming quite remarkable. Some of the dialogue is pretty funny too.
The book finishes with a cliff hanger which I only partly understood. I look forward to more of an explanation when the next book arrives.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,103 reviews294 followers
February 23, 2021
Reread 2021: 4.5 stars

Still a dark and exciting installment in The Great Library series. It's at this point I feel the characters are really coming into their own. The events of the past don't compare to the violence and treachery of this book, which ends with a devastating cliffhanger.

Read 2017: 4.5 stars

This book is probably the best, but also the darkest, of the series so far. The characters have really come into themselves, particularly Jess, who continues to mature, and the always amazing Thomas. Santi and Wolfe are as heart wrenching as ever together.

Basically these books are a love letter about freedom of speech and knowledge, a love of books and free access to them, in the form of an action story. They aren't "message" books per se, but they certainly hit home for anyone who believes in the freedom represented most especially by our public libraries. Caine puts it best in the dedication in this book:

To all those who face change without fear. Go forward. To the ever-transforming glory of the public library, without which we would all be diminished. No one with a book is ever alone, even in the darkest moments. We are all book lovers. And we all chase the Great Library of Alexandria, one book at a time.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews362 followers
December 5, 2017
How in the world did I not know this WASN'T a trilogy? Gah!
This was so good. Full review to come closer to release date.

*Edited to add review*
This series continues to blow me away and cause me to read late into the night. Every time I start it I just know that I am in for something different and so well written that the hours reading it will just fly by and yet, by the end, it is never enough. I am always left wanting more and wondering how in the world Caine does it.

How did she come up with this imaginative yet so realistic world that is both utterly terrifying in it's realism as it is beautiful in it's unique imagery.

With words that seem to flow right off the page and leave you grasping the air for more.

I am truly breathless while reading this, either because I am holding my breath on edge as to what will happen next or because I have suddenly lost all thoughts and the ability to breath because I am so immersed in the story and the knowing the danger that is right around the next bend.

Caine amazes me with just how well this story works. How believable it is and how utterly captivating. It sucks you in and refuses to let go. Truly a storyline that sticks with you and characters that are just as much diverse as they wonderfully unique and fleshed out. It has quickly become and will stay a favorite of mine from her and one for all ages, young and older alike.

*ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
July 11, 2017
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine
Book Three of the Great Library series
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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....

What I Liked:

The first thing I'll say: this is NOT the conclusion to the series! I believe the original contract involved three books, but Caine has since signed for two more books, so there will be five total. At first, I was a tiny bit apprehensive, because I thought Paper and Fire ended in a way that set up an explosive conclusion in Ash and Quill. But, having read Ash and Quill, I am all for the next two books and can't wait to see where Caine takes the series. This book ends in a crazy cliffhanger, which Caine set up perfectly!

I'll try to keep this general, even though this isn't a conclusion novel. A lot happened in this book, and to go into detail would be to spoil some very series-changing events!

This book begins pretty much where Paper and Fire ends, if I remember correctly. Jess and the gang are now in Philadelphia, having traveled via painful but immediate methods from London to Philadelphia. They may have escaped the clutches of the Archivist, but they are no safer in this city. The city is run by Burners, and the Burners want them dead. Jess and Thomas agree to build the printing press from the leader in order to save the group, but they know they'll need to escape the colonies. Going back to Alexandria to fight the Archivist is the only option for safety, but that plan is perilous beyond words. Everyone must make sacrifices, some more deadly than others.

I didn't remember some of the little and big things from Paper and Fire, mostly some vague details, but it was okay because I really didn't need to remember too much. I liked Paper and Fire a lot, and Ink and Bone, but I read the second book over a year ago, and the first book over two years ago. Thankfully, Caine does a fine job in bringing back readers into the story. You know exactly the context of where Jess and the group are, and why they are there, and what danger lies ahead of them. You don't need to reread the previous books in the series before starting this one (though it's always a lovely idea!).

This book made me adore the gang so much more, though I already liked them in the previous books. Jess is so clever, selfless, and sneaky, always two steps ahead and an incredible strategist. Morgan is so selfless as well, and a hard worker. Thomas is a genius and a good guy. Glain is smart and lethal. Dario is charming and not nearly as selfish as he used to appear to be. Wolfe is his usual commanding self, and Santi is always the protective, battle-ready captain. Khalila is tough as nails and a strong voice in this book. I want to hug all of them and then wrap them in bubble wrap! This group goes through so much, both physically and mentally. Especially Jess and Santi! I felt like Jess was getting some kind of injury in ever scene.

This book is exciting and a bit nerve-wracking from start to finish. Nerve-wracking in a good way - I couldn't stop turning the pages and trying to anticipate what would happen next. Things are dire in Philadelphia, and then things are even more dire when they escape Philadelphia and leave. The stakes never seem to lower, nor does the danger. You'll be in no danger of getting bored or setting this one aside.

Caine does characterization and character development so well, and world-building too. The world she has created in this series is so unique and intense. I felt like I could picture the scenery, the action, the characters. Caine is an amazing who really knows her stuff. I'm always in awe, after every book of hers that I read. And she does her research well! Imagine going through the steps to creating a machine - the printing press!

For those looking for romance, there is a little romance. There are a few couples in this book, and no love triangles within any of the pairings. Jess and Morgan are a sweet pair, and I sort of wish they had more scenes alone, but that's difficult when you're either in prison and constantly trying to keep yourself alive. Wolfe and Santi a strong pair, and I loved it when there were small moments of tenderness between them. Dario and Khalila are the final pair - they aren't together, but it's obvious that they both have feelings for the other. They are a fun pair. In general, the romances are extremely subtle and not anywhere near the focus of the story. But there are ships to root for, and no love triangles!

Like I said earlier, there is a cliffhanger ending! It's a shocking cliffhanger, because you don't know how things will play out. This book is written in third person limited (Jess's POV), and so you don't always know what he is planning. I seriously could not read the last fifty or so pages fast enough. The ending demands another book and thankfully, we get two! I'm excited to read them, whenever they will be published. Ash and Quill was an excellent continuation to the series!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing to complain about really! There were minor things that I wanted, like more alone time for Jess and Morgan, and on principle I don't like cliffhangers. But both of those things have their place in this book and I understand why they are necessary.

Would I Recommend It:

I definitely recommend Ash and Quill if you've read the first two books! This book will not disappoint - none of the books have. If you haven't read any of the books in the series and are on the fence, give them a chance! What's better than a book about books? This series is all about books and it has a very intriguing take on censorship. I'd go as far as saying that this series should be in classrooms and curriculum!


4 stars. I need the fourth book now! Caine has swept me up into yet another great addition to this series, and I'm not sure how I'll survive another year (or more) for the next book. I'm sure it will be just as excellent as its predecessors!

Pre-read squees:

YAAAAAASSSS, I CAN'T WAIT!!! According to Caine, the title will be Ash and Quill -- love it!
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,040 reviews1,501 followers
July 9, 2017
Ash and Quill is the third book of the Great Library series by Rachel Caine. In the first book, Ink and Bone, we are introduced to a world in which The Great Library is in every city and controls the books of the world. Using alchemy to distribute the books those working for the library track down anyone with any in their possession and confiscate the materials. Ownership of books is expressly forbidden and anyone violating this law could even be sentenced to death.

Jess Brightwell's family has been involved in the black market for books. He's been raised to be a runner, delivering the books to those willing to pay the price and risk ownership. Jess has been sent to the library by his father to become a spy from the inside. He gets involved in the training only to find himself mixed up in the secrets of the library.

Now in Ash and Quill the story continues onward with Jess and his crew having fled London and finding themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit to the library. They've now have a secret among them though in the ability to create a machine that can print books and hopefully break the Library's rule over them.

While I am still loving reading this series now into the third installment I've found that it's actually going to be a five book series and still feel as I did with the second that Ash and Quill feels the middle of the story and not quite as exciting as the first book did so I hesitated giving it five stars. This is still a great series overall though and will continue to look forward to reading the next two books as they come out.

I also don't want to be spoilery with my review being right in the middle of the series so I'll just say that yes I would definitely recommend this series to the young adult fantasy lovers out there. Plenty of action and adventure in this world that Rachel Caine has created and I'm sure by the end Jess and company will be earning the highest rating when I get all the answers to the story I've been eagerly awaiting with each addition coming out.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for TS Chan.
692 reviews851 followers
December 28, 2021
4.5 stars.

Immensely engaging and intense, Ash and Quill was mid-series perfection.

Three books in and my enjoyment reading these books has not tapered in the least. In fact, I'm getting even more invested in the characters as the stakes get higher and the situation more dangerous and dire.

I found out from reading a couple of other reviews that The Great Library was initially planned to be a trilogy, but was then changed to a 5-book series. After finishing this third book, I do think that the extension was warranted. I couldn't imagine how the story could be wrapped up so soon when it involved the overthrowing of such a pre-eminent power of the world. Moreover, when the concept libraries are involved, it is a tricky balance for Caine to ensure that the drive of the narrative is not so much to destroy the Library itself (gasp!)but the corrupted power at its core. And I trust Caine not to go down that route given this beautiful dedication at the start of the book.

"To all those who face change with fear. Go forward.
To the ever-transforming glory of the public library, without which we would all be diminished.
No one with a book if ever alone, even in the darkest moments.
We are all book lovers.
And we all chase the Great Library of Alexandria, one book at a time."

Ash and Quill truly has everything I wanted in a mid-series book. Picking up right after the cliffhangerish ending of the previous book, Jess and his friends found themselves caught behind enemy lines. What ensued was a narrative that was relentlessly intense, but interspersed with enough contemplative and interactive moments between the characters to fuelled their development further. The plot escalated to a fever pitch by the end of the book with an even more anxiety inducing cliffhanger. This time I don't think we'll be waiting much longer before jumping into the next volume.

"When all the world is a lock, boy, you don't make a key. You become a key."

I want to talk a bit about Jess Brightwell. As much as I enjoyed the previous books, I don't think I've ever come to the point where I found myself this invested in him. But darn it, this book did it for me. There were moments here where Jess was backed into a corner so tight that the frustration and sense of hopelessness that emanated from him felt raw and primal. And it chilled me to the bone. What made it even more difficult for him to maneuver was his loyalty and love for his friends. I read the last couple of chapters almost in disbelief at the plans that he had to put into play. One thing I've also come to truly appreciate now was the significance of the Brightwell legacy that Jess carried on his shoulder. Two words came to mind which I couldn't shake off - criminal royalty. His character became even more compelling to me. As well as his romance with Morgan Hault, a fatal attraction of two persons who have a propensity to darkness for survival.

"Our words must live after us, if we are to lift ourselves up."

It is very rare for a book in which every single member of the main cast of characters interests me so much. Jess's best friend, Thomas, in particular, has changed since we've first met him given what he went through in the cruel hands of the Archivist Magister. While he's still as kind and sweet as ever, the gentle giant now has an edge to him. While it's distressing to acknowledge how much he had to suffer to have changed like this, it did make his character even more intriguing and layered.

"I intend for the Great Library to become more than mere knowledge. I intend for it to use both pen and sword."

I won't mention too much of the rest for now, cos I might run out of things to say in my reviews for the remaining books. In short, Khalila was becoming more awesome than I ever imagined her to be. Glain was her usual badass self and her one-liners were gold. Dario surprised me in a good way. Santi and Wolfe continued to make my heart ache. Safe to say that I'm utterly and thoroughly invested in what is to come. Even better is that I have my co-bloggers and buddy-readers, Celeste and Eon, along with me on this spectacular ride.

You can purchase the book from Book Depository (Free Shipping) | Bookshop.Org (Support Independent BookstoresAmazon US | Amazon UK

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,811 reviews348 followers
August 28, 2017
Rachel Caine has certainly got my number with this series. Book three is right up there with book one, making me long for the next book. The Library of Alexandria is still dark, controlling, and overbearing. Our cast of characters is still fleeing their clutches, but wishing that they could change the Library, take it back to what it was supposed to be—a beacon for humanity.

Jess Brightwell comes into his own in this installment. Dario pushes him to think about what he wants to change and to be realistic about what will happen. It seems to open a whole new Jess, one who can be as Machiavellian as his father, as devious as those in charge of the Library, as ruthless as the Iron Tower.

Trapped in a city of Book Burners, our fearless band of library scholars must somehow survive and outwit those who run this blockaded city of Philadelphia. Never has there been less brotherly love in that city.

And that ending!!! Ms. Caine, you have guaranteed that I will be impatiently awaiting Book 4.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
June 4, 2018
3.5 When all the world is a lock, boy, you don’t make a key. You become a key. Stars

Paper and Fire suffered a little form middle book syndrome but Ash and Quill was better and a step in the right direction.

We start off in a Burner home base and while I was hoping that maybe there were some fanatics out there burning them selves to death and the core of the group would be more solid I was not disappointed by the expansion of the world to include the Burner city home base in Philadelphia.

It was interesting to see how in this alternate history the city went from the heart of the revolution to a Burner home base under a siege that has lasted 100 years. More interesting that it seems like whatever the movement is today it is not the same as it was when Ben Franklin was a member.

Still Jess and company are all together and it is nice to see them working as a team, or at least as much as they can to find a way out of the city. I really felt for the people of the city who were not really part of the Burners but stuck in the city just the same trying to make a living and caught in the crosshairs.

Overall the pacing and complete story in this is much better than the prior book. I love Khalila strength in this and she came through as a more solid three dimensional character.
“Only cowards are so afraid of a scrap of cloth,” she said, clear enough to carry to the stands. There was a shimmer in her eyes: anger, not tears. “We may not agree with the Archivist; we may want to see him gone and better Scholars take his place. But we still stand for knowledge. You stand for nothing.”

Also Thomas with his humor and occasional outburst due to stresses of the past made him more three dimensional as well. I like Jess but sometimes he is still just not enough to carry the entire story and I really think that this could possibly benefit from being told from multiple PoVs. For instance I really want into Morgan’s head as she is going around doing her part and what she thinks of her power. I’m not scared of Morgan but I am scared a little for her. Still I’m glad that Glain is there to remind Jess when he is being a twit.
“Stop thinking like a lovestruck idiot; she’s a weapon. She can build us a channel to communicate with your brother. Let her do the job she needs to do, all right?”
He turned toward her. Hands out of his pockets, body set as if he expected her to attack. He saw her shift to match it. It was probably unconscious. Probably. “I’m not willing to break her to serve the rest of us. We do that, we’re no better than the Archivist.”
Glain’s expression didn’t shift. It was calm and set and confident. “Flavia chose to pick up the knife.”
“Flavia stood on the corpses of everyone who died first trying to protect her. So think about that a moment.” His tone had gone so hard, cold, and final that he scarcely believed it was his.
“Flavia was a child,” Glain said. “And you don’t have a moral right to treat Morgan as one!”

Still most of the action is reserved for the final quarter of the book and that is when everything seems to happen. Dang for that ending, I’m so sad for my favorite couple of the book right now and hope that everything gets fixed soon. There is one romantic pairing that really stands out and I love those two together. The tender moments we see between them are great and again I appreciate that it is the more unconventional couple that is the strongest in this series.

So I’m glad the next book is out soon because I don’t want to have to wait long to see how it all resolves.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 64 books16.8k followers
April 2, 2020
Love this series! Love, love, love it!! I really enjoyed Rachel Caine's Morganville vampire series, but this has become my favorite of hers. If you're going to start this series - make sure you have ALL the books. Book 2 and now Book 3 end at crisis points and it's impossible not to pick up the next book. Having said that....I do have to re-read my own book for an upcoming in depth book discussion. Once that's done, then I'll be onto Smoke and Iron.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
August 6, 2017
This series has been a whirlwind. To be honest when I read book one, my response was that it was only alright. I read book two on a whim because I wasn't even sure I was going to continue the series and I am so glad I did because as the series continues the story just keeps getting better and better! This series left with a good cliffhanger for book four so now it is just playing the waiting game. UGH.

If you read book one and don't warm up to the characters do not worry because you will in book two. Overall, the series to date improves vastly as the story continues. There is not an overload of world building so you do not have to worry about the it being a tedious read. They are quick and entertaining.
Profile Image for Carlos.
586 reviews284 followers
August 12, 2017
Thanks to the folks at Netgalley who gave me an ARC of this book, (I just now found time to finally read it ) Wow this was a trip. I have really enjoyed the evolution of all the characters in this series , it has been very satisfying but then again that's what happens when people experience and survive fighting for their life . I'm also glad that this was not the end of the series , we are getting more books ...and the way this one ended, I am certain the next one will be filled with action as our heroes finally put their final plan in action against the Library. If they get it wrong ...it might cost them everything and everyone they ever loved .
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
364 reviews951 followers
July 11, 2018

“No one with a book is ever alone, even in the darkest moments.”

What. The. Actual. Hell. Just. Happened?!!! Ugh! Rachel Caine and her blasted cliffhangers! In every bloody book! That brutal ending just DESTROYED me!!! And somehow each instalment is better than the last?!!! HOW??? What is this sorcery???! Every single one of these books are addicting, and thus far, I’ve read each instalment in one sitting like a crazy person!!!

First of all, this series has the BEST cast of characters. With each instalment in this series, we see so much growth and development, which I absolutely LOVE. The highlight for me, of course, is that we finally get to see some of Jess’ family dynamics play out. I, for one, love when families play a huge part in novels because oftentimes, authors will either kill them off or they will mysteriously be missing from the plot (as if they are absentee parents). That’s the wonderful thing about Wolfe and Santiactual adults are fundamental to the plot of these books (and are so protective of their adopted children <3). My favourite thing, however, was the relationship between the twins, Brendan and Jess. We haven’t seen a lot of interaction between them before (which saddened me), but now, we get to see their lovely brotherly bond. Because of the family of smugglers that Jess was brought up in, it’s understandable for him to mistrust his family, including his brother…but I hope to see them as partners-in-crime in the future! I love them both so, so much!

Also, I’d like Rachel Caine to remember that Jess (so cunning), Brendan (so bad), Thomas (so sweet), Morgan (so tortured), Khalila (so smart), Dario (so arrogant), Glain (so terrifying), Wolfe (so grumpy), and Santi (so protective) are all precious, and are not to be harmed under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!

Somehow, the plot never slows down in these books, either. I have no idea how it’s momentum is consistently maintained at such an intense and fast pace!!!! I also feel so bad for this lot…they always end up being held prisoner! It’s not fair!!! Every person, that our group of characters bumps into, has some shady ulterior motive and uses them as leverage. Of course, it’s also fascinating to watch Jess try to outwit them (either through trickery or criminal activity), before any harm comes to them. He is such a great protagonist!!! He recognises his criminal skills and uses them to his advantage, in order to protect his friends! His bravery is sooo commendable! I love him! <3 Also, the Great Library is so ruthless, corrupt, and downright terrifying! Yikes!

Needless to say, this book definitely exceeded my expectations. Five-book series are always risky, because usually the first and last books in a series are the stronger instalments, but that is certainly not the case here! The writing and plot, as always, is phenomenal. Now, I’ll be continuing my Great Library series binge with Smoke and Iron, which was luckily released 8 days ago! :D BYE!
Profile Image for Ronda.
850 reviews119 followers
August 2, 2017
So Ms Caine does it again and presents us with another exciting episode in The Great Library series. Again we see our favourite characters coming together under extreme circumstances to fight off their imprisonment and work towards the greater good - or to fend off the evil of The Library!

I love how the characters have become more with each book, both Jess and Thomas are my favourites, although I do love the others. Wolfe and Santi have both grown on me over the books but they are all a part of the same group, a group that strives towards getting The Library to lose the unending control that they hold.

I honestly thought the series would begin to slow down and become a little stagnant, I couldn't fathom out how the pages would keep a hold of the reader, but they do and it is because of the wonderful writing that Rachel Caine gives us that this can happen!

Another fabulous book in the series, bring on the next!!!
Profile Image for Mango.
191 reviews304 followers
May 17, 2021
“No one with a book is ever alone, even in the darkest moments.”

Note: This review contains spoilers from "Ink and Bone" and "Paper and Fire." Read at your own risk.

Wow! This book was amazing. High stakes adventure, amazing writing, and great plot, this book was great!

Let's start with the plot:

The plot was definitely the best part in this book!

Jess and his friends have been taken prisoner by the Burners. However, Jess and Thomas bribe their leader, Willinger Beck, to let them live if they build him a press.

The press will reproduce books, and help overthrow The Great Library. If the press is built, the Great Library won't have control over all knowledge. Everyone will have access to books, which will overthrow the government.

However...let's just say things don't always go as planned.

Morgan loses control of her ability, Then, Jess comes in contact with his brother, Brendan, and they return to England.

In England, his parents welcome Jess and his friends with open arms. But, Jess senses his dad is plotting something. Is all his love fake?

Unfortunately, his suspicions are proved correctly when Brendan reveals his father's scheme. His scheme is to

There was a HUGE plot twist. I was so shocked when

And now Jess,

The plot was madness, I loved it so much! That cliffhanger left my jaw open, I'm not sure how long I can wait for the next book.

Moving on to the characters:

The characters were alright. They weren't as good as they were in "Paper and Fire," but they were acceptable.

I think it was because the plot was completely over-powering the characters.

I also didn't see much development in many characters, with the exception of a couple. I wish I would have gotten more than a glimpse of the other wonderful personalities in this book, but I was a bit disappointed.

I wanted more of Dario's history, conflict and character development, but I didn't get it. The same goes for Thomas, Khalila, Glain and Brendan.

Here, I will talk about the two characters I did see some development in.

Jess: He was quite good in this book! Throughout the book, Jess proved himself to be courageous, clever, and willing to risk anything for his friends. I really liked how stubborn and determined he was throughout the book. He showed how much he cared for others and not just himself.

I also loved seeing his conflict about his feelings towards his family. Did his family truly love him, or were they just trying to use him?

As Jess got adjusted to his family, I saw a huge growth in Jess. He became more clever, and got more of a sense of what was right, and what was just petty.

I am looking forward to seeing how he adjusts to !

Morgan: She is such a strong female character! Morgan is just so selfless, similar to Jess, willing to risk herself for the world.

I really loved watching how she learned to control her Obscurist powers, and how she went through her struggles. It was a huge conflict within her, and a big deal when she got it under control.

She also grew tremendously throughout the book! She grew from a woman who was uncertain about her powers, to a calm leader, who could control herself.

Ending with the writing:

As always, I love Caine's writing. It is a bit wordy, but I really like the beautiful descriptions she gives out. I also think she sprinkled some really wise quotes throughout the book, and I devoured them as I would with mangoes. Great writing as always!

So I took off one star for the lack of character development in the other main characters.

To conclude, I really enjoyed this. And thanks to that cliffhanger, I can NOT wait for Smoke and Iron!

uM what the heck just happened?? THAT WAS AWESOME! Review to come. :)
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
1,966 reviews1,386 followers
November 24, 2022
This is the third instalment in The Great Library series.

This is set in a world where the Library rules in place of a government. By keeping the knowledge contained in books closely guarded, and only available for scholars and those deemed worthy, it can both impede and advance societal growth as it sees fit. Technology is stunted, business advancements are thwarted and the Library maintains a tight leash on its citizens. The all seeing and all powerful Library seems like an unbreakable patriarchal structure, but that might just be what they want you to think.

The setting has altered with each series instalment and this one saw the characters on American soil for the first time. They faced just as uncertain a future, just as many enemies, and just as bleak a start to their time there as they had in all others. I really like how distinct Caine makes her settings and how big a part they play in each story.

Jess Brightwell continued to centre inside of this one, as did his tutors and fellow postulants from book one. It was heart breaking to see these beloved characters suffering and they feel aged and weary beyond their young years with how hard they have fought for how little they have gained, how many horrors they faced, how much suffering they have witnessed, and how many losses they have endured. Their eyes have been truly opened to the Library's truth and their only solace lies the arms of each other and their only option is their noble attempts to fight back against it.

The ending shocked me and had me picking up book four moments later. I don't know in what vein this series will continue but I am loving the focus on the love for and protection of books, the dystopian settings, and the political undercurrent. I can see this being just the same for the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Caylynn.
634 reviews89 followers
April 19, 2022
Reread review: My god. I HAD to bump this one up to 5/5 stars after rereading it. Jess's brilliant acting and the decisions he, Dario, Morgan, and Brendan made at the end of the novel were just way too fucking good after reading the book a second time. Even though I still agree with my original review in regards to the length of time spent in Philadelphia, I can appreciate it more now for what it was, and the PTSD each of our main characters faces after escaping the Burner city were so well written. Just, hats off to you, Rachel Caine.

"When I returned from my assignment I found Chris gone, with all his work. You know the rest."

The rest: imprisonment, torture, erasure from the records of the Library- for a Scholar of Wolfe's caliber, it was the assassination of immortality, the burning of a life's work, and for what? For being brilliant. For being exactly what the Library stood for in the first place.

My god, this series just gets better with every book.

Seriously. I only have two gripes about this third installment of the Great Library, and one of them is a continuous thorn in my side that I've mentioned for the last two books.

The action rolls over and continues at a sprint for 90% of this book. The characters are thrown into yet another wild situation that broadens their development and forms new ties between each other that differ from what we've already seen so far in Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire. Jess finds himself leaning heavily on Dario and his brother Brendan to devise a way out of the predicament the rogue Library crew has gotten themselves into in Philadelphia. Tasked by the Burners to build Thomas' press for the rebellion, Jess and Thomas do everything they can with what limited supplies they have to keep their friends safe while they all try to find an escape route.

Dario continues to surprise me. Aside from Jess-who's mind we're constantly in thanks to the story being in his POV- Dario has shown the most growth within the group. His banter with Jess was more comedic relief than anything, but it was refreshing to see that-although they're still at odds with each other- he is slowly earning his place within the group again.
"What do you want me to say? It's a cell. There's nothing in here."

"Dario, you're hopeless," Wolfe said. "Jess. Tell him how he's wrong."

"Strip the netting under the mattresses. Braid it together, tie it to the window bars, ant twist...You can use it for a tool, sharpen it up as a weapon..."

He's ruthless, cunning, and willing to lie and act his way to freedom. Yet when it boils down to it, you can't help but think "wait, is he actually going to go through with this insane plan? Is he actually going to be able to pull it off alongside Jess?" He's such a chaotic neutral character and I'm loving it.

And boy, is it a crazy plan. I'm excited to see the repercussions of the decisions that Dario and Jess made when I start Smoke and Iron.

Of course, Wolfe and Santi are the unofficial dads of the group and they're still my favorites. I love how, even though each of them is growing and changing as the series progresses, their relationship is still rock solid. Applause for established relationships in YA novels, am I right?
"I mean to. Each one of you deserves the truth and is strong enough to stand up under the weight. I have known many Scholars and students. I have never met a more unruly, unteachable lot, and I thank the gods for forcing you all into my lives."

Wolfe's words were severe, but the look in his eyes, the quiet smile-those were anything but.

They've even stated themselves that they're a part of the family now.

There were only two gripes I had with Ash and Quill as a whole, and I think I can safely say that they're more personal gripes than anything. First, as always, is Morgan. This bitch just won't go away. I am beyond tired of how often Jess gets distracted by her during important stuff. You wouldn't believe how many paragraphs of purple prose I skipped over as Jess reflected on how gorgeous she was in the light of the study, or how-even covered in residue of Greek Fire and witnessing the destruction of an entire city- he wanted to slip his hands over her curves and distract himself for hours. Like, dude, you're so clever in every other aspect of your life. You really want to be an idiot and focus on her instead of the plan at hand???

And secondly, the pacing of the plot in the beginning-middle of the book was a lot slower than usual. I felt that the time Jess's group spent in Philadelphia could have been significantly shortened. But, that's just me.

All in all, this was honestly one of the best mid-series books I have ever read. I CANNOT WAIT to get into the last two! This series is building up to an explosive ending that I don't know whether I'll love or hate.
Profile Image for K..
3,544 reviews999 followers
October 18, 2019
Trigger warnings: violence, war, blood, graphic(ish) description of injuries, death, fire, serious injury to a friend.

Reread in preparation for book 5. It's still absolutely wonderful. Also Wolfe and Santi are precious beans and must be protected at all costs okay bye.

Everything I said last time stands. This is fantastic from start to finish. I'm gonna go read book 4 now okay bye. The end.

There are honestly no words for how much I adore this series. The concept is great. The characters are great. They're all full of complexity and there's plenty of diversity that never seems like it's there to tick boxes. They're a weird little made family and I am 100% here for it.

I was equal parts thrilled and kind of pissed off when I discovered that this wasn't the end of the series, as I thought it was, and that instead there are to be five books. Like, OMG MORE BOOKS IN THIS WORLD!!!!!! But at the same time, I was ready to know how it was going to end, and now I have to wait even longer to find out. GAH.


This one is fuuuuuuuull of interesting developments. We get to see just how ruthless the Library can be. We see what life is like outside of the Library's reign. We get to see just how far our little ragtag family is willing to go to survive. And that ending! HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE UNTIL BOOK 4????? *cries into pillow*

In short: it's great. Read this series. Please and thank you.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,729 reviews739 followers
March 15, 2020
Well hot damn, consider me floored! This book is just a damn masterpiece. I thought the first two books were good but this one is just on a whole other level of greatness. Caine really hits her stride in this one, the writing is just stunning and the plot is so intricate and woven together just perfectly. And it gets dark and brutal in this book and I was ALL for it, it added real ness and grittiness to the story and it was PERFECT. A lot happens in this book and it all left my jaw dropping, it was all so different from what I was expecting and it just truly wowed me. This series has officially become one of my favourite and I will forever sing its praises!
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,407 reviews256 followers
July 15, 2018
Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3) by Rachel Caine is officially one of the best books I've had the pleasure of reading this year. I don't know how the author does it but this series just keeps getting better. I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but each book outdoes itself. I think I need more stars to show just how much I appreciate this series. I have no idea why I put it off for as long as I did, but I expect it must be nerves at what is surely coming for this wonderful cast of characters. I adore each and everyone of these characters, but like I've said before Wolfe and Santi are hands down my favorite in this series even if they don't get quite as much page time in this volume. Plus, I think they're one of my favorite LGBT couples in YA, especially as parental figures to the rest of the core cast. Finally, this installment is so intense and that ending is a brutal place to leave us - luckily for me since I waited to pick this up, I was actually able to jump right into my ARC of Smoke and Iron. If you can't already tell I adore this series. Rachel Caine's writing is marvelous as are her characters and world-building skills. If you call yourself a bookworm, then you absolutely need to try this series.

Profile Image for Alaina.
5,941 reviews215 followers
January 15, 2020

Ash and Quill was a delight to read. Just ignore the first sentence of my review up top, because it really was a great book. Still don't know why it took me so long to dive into this series and I'm just hoping that I am never disappointed with it. Only two books left - so who knows!

I don't even know where to go with this damn review. Loved all of the characters and it amazes me how they grow so much within each book. No idea what Rachel Caine is on when it comes to writing these beautiful books - but I am all for it. Wasn't bored out of my mind or disappointed by anything happening in this book. Well, except for the ending because cliffhangers slowly kill me and it makes me mad when I don't have the next book handy.

That being said, I have the next book and after I finish this review I am diving TF in. Goodbye world.

Profile Image for Steven.
1,048 reviews386 followers
June 8, 2018
HOLY CRAP. Thank goodness I have an ARC of book four to pick right up or I'd be SO left in a book slump. What an ending, Rachel Caine!

Can't wait to see how this all plays out!
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
1,989 reviews2,584 followers
August 21, 2017
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/08/21/...

To be clear, I still love this series, but I’d be lying if I said my enthusiasm for it hasn’t cooled somewhat. As enjoyable as these last two installments were, I’m just not seeing the same caliber of storytelling that we got in the first book. How much of this is due to the fact The Great Library recently became a three-book series to a five-book one, I don’t know, but I suspect that not-insignificant change may have played a role. The story is still moving forward, but seemingly with more filler than usual in this one.

As the third novel in the sequence, Ash and Quill picks up immediately from the end of Paper and Fire, so if you haven’t started this series yet, keep in mind there may be possible spoilers for the first two books in this review. After fleeing from London and narrowly escaping the Archivist’s forces, Jess Brightwell and his fellow exiles find themselves in Philadelphia, a city run by the rebels known as the Burners. Believing them to be the agents of the Great Library though, the Burners capture Jess and his group and threaten to kill them all unless Thomas, the genius inventor of the group, agrees to build the rebels a working printing press. A deal is struck in order to buy time for our protagonist to figure out how to save his friends, but with the chaos descending upon the city, Jess knows that they can’t stay in the Americas and must quickly find their way back across the ocean in search of more allies.

First, the good: I like how each book is bringing more to the table in terms of character development, adding layers to established personalities and relationships. This is where Ash and Quill really shines. While the story is punctuate with occasional bursts of action, I generally preferred the quieter moments where we got to see the characters interact and find out more about their origins and family life. Who knew Dario came from such an illustrious family, for example? Like Jess, I still don’t really trust the guy, but we’re starting to see more of Dario’s deeper, more considerate side break through the cockiness, especially in his scenes with Khalila. As one of the few adult characters, Wolf continues to be my favorite, and I really appreciated this book giving his relationship with Santi some extra attention. Jess also gets some time to reflect upon his role as a brother and a son, deciding once and for all what to do about his future place in the family business, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this conflict will resolve.

Now, for the things that weren’t so good (and I’d like to warn everyone in advance that this is going to sound more negative than I intend), I honestly thought this book wasted a lot of time. Many scenes were padded with what I felt was unnecessary description, and there was constant repetition when it comes to Jess’ internal thoughts and dialogue. I was also slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of Philadelphia. Such a bummer when we finally get to follow the characters to a different city—an exotic place, in their eyes—and they end up spending most of their time there as prisoners listening to their Burner captors rant and rave. I feel there was a missed opportunity here to show a more multifaceted picture of a place that was in full revolt against the Great Library, but instead we barely got to scratch the surface.

Ironically, I’m also enjoying all the romances and relationships in this series except the one between Jess and Morgan. Granted, they’ve had a rough time of it from the start, with one or both of them either being on the run or in prison at any given time, but I really think the ship has sailed to really make me feel any chemistry or care about them as a couple. They feel all wrong for each other, especially with the darker truth behind Morgan’s powers emerging, so any attempt to bring her and Jess closer together just feels very awkward to me at this point.

Again, I know I’m sounding very critical of this novel, but I assure you that I had fun and enjoyed it—just not as much as Ink and Bone and perhaps merely a teensy tiny little bit less than Paper and Fire. Would I still recommend this series though? You bet. The overall story arc is exciting, and like the previous book, this one also ends on a cliffhanger that had me wailing, “Nooooo, things just can’t end like this, not yet, not yet!” Parts of this might have been slow, but when things do get tense, Rachel Caine sure knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat. Her talent as a writer is what keeps me clamoring for more, and I can’t wait to see where she’ll take us with the next book.
Profile Image for Beth.
3,125 reviews261 followers
July 11, 2017
1 Winner will receive a Trade Paperback of 

UGH! WHAT A CLIFFHANGER!!!! The thought of waiting for the continuation is almost unbearable.

ASH AND QUILL brands the pages with deeply developed characters that bond the reader to their plight and glues them to the pages.

What is not to enjoy about a novel focusing on people who are as obsessed about book as I am?

Action, adventure, betrayal and bundles of books, ASH AND QUILL has it all.

I received this ARC copy of Ash and Quill from Berkley Publishing Group. This is my honest and voluntary review. Ash and Quill is set for publication July 11, 2017.

My Rating: 4 stars
Written by: Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library (Book 3)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
ISBN-10: 0451472411
ISBN-13: 978-0451472410
Genre: Dystopian Fantasy

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ash-...
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Quill-Great-Li...
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ash-...

Reviewed for:

Profile Image for Andy.
2,354 reviews176 followers
August 20, 2018
I seriously love this whole series so much!! Sometimes the plot is slow and the chapters are super long, but I love these characters and what they're trying to accomplish. I love what Caine has done with reimagining the Great Library of Alexandria. Honestly what the Library has become is terrifying, but I can see how their original mission was twisted into this convoluted truth.

I enjoyed seeing the inside of the Burner movement. It really drove home the point that Burners are humans too. They are not all evil; they want different things than the Library yes and don't always have the best intentions in how they try to achieve that goal. I think there is a chance that in the future Burners and a changed Library could work together.

I love Jess's devious mind. More and more his group of friends is relying on his quick wit, street smarts and family connections to get them out of tough situations. Jess is good at what he does and I think he's starting to realize that he could never be a Scholar, not even in a changed Library. I'm really excited to see what his future will hold. I can totally imagine him being a bookseller or something like that.

I really hate that cliffhanger ending but I cannot wait to see what will happen to everyone.
Well shit now I have to wait who knows how long for the next book! I don't even know where to start. This book was crazy. It was filled with deception, betrayal and crazy strategy. I think my upstart booklovers may have a chance to reform the library or die trying. I think this book was really about family: finding out who's your real family and the lengths you'd go to save them. This was a fantastic installment in the series and I really wish I had the next book now because that ending!
Profile Image for Kevin.
1,427 reviews35 followers
July 15, 2017
4 1/2 stars
Oh man, I thought
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,104 reviews458 followers
July 10, 2017
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy
*Rating* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

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.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

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