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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, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

368 pages, Paperback

First published September 3, 2019

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Rachel Caine

199 books17.9k followers

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5 stars
2,385 (46%)
4 stars
2,035 (39%)
3 stars
581 (11%)
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15 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 790 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,064 reviews38k followers
September 12, 2019
FIVE MEMORABLE GAZILLION STARS and I’m singing from Doors “This is the end my beautiful friend” with tearful eyes.

Starting to this book like joining an hard-core boot camp class because I was literally having panic attacks that one of my favorite characters could die or something terrible happened to them so I kept procrastinating my starting date over and over. But I didn’t let my fears control my brain so last night I opened the book, in one hand flipped the pages, with the other I held my heart and prayed to the author had shown some mercy to her characters by giving them fair closure .

Firstly I have to admit it is hard to read last installments for me because in a long time you got emotionally connected with characters and felt for them as if they were your real friends and you resonated with so many parts of the story.
Endings are stressful because everything could be messed up at the end so you felt like betrayed because you spent all your years finishing one book and waited for the other’s release date! It’s quiet time investment! But if the final isn’t satisfying enough you felt like somebody played with your feelings, destroyed your dreams. (Books were mostly okay but I couldn’t get rid of traumatic experiences since I’d watched the end of Lost, Dexter, GOT. It coasted us too many trips to Best Buy for buying new televisions)

This series was fast paced, terrifying page-turners with its amazing and lovable (totally not slap or punch worthy because I liked them all) characters.
Of course the final installment gave me creeps, nail-less hands, up in the air hair model (welcome back to 80’s punk style) because there was still too much violence, sacrifices, deaths, casualties! I wanted to close my eyes and drop the book screaming “No! No! No!” but eventually I resumed reading because I had to know how it ended.

I don’t want to spill the beans and being a target of boos and rotten tomatoes and eggs but I could say only word about ending: SATISFYING! It is an entertaining and heart felting, beautiful closure.
And other three words: I am Batman (sorry when I went to restroom break, Michael Keaton might have used my keyboard! Of course I am not. I hate DC characters 
Let’s say good bye to fantastic diverse characters, full of action, memorable thrilling parts! So I’m so blessed to read those installments. My eyes filled with tears as like a teacher sees her children finally graduated! So it’s time for digging to new series.

Rachel Caine knows how to create riveting, intriguing series that captivates you from the beginning. So I’m excitedly waiting for what’s gonna be next! She is one of my favorite, gifted authors.

I also enjoy her thrillers but please I wish she doesn’t write a new sequel for Stillhouse Lake series, in my opinion three books is enough. Let’s see something brand new!

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for sharing this amazing adventure and conclusion of crazy train ride for me in exchange my honest review.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
364 reviews947 followers
September 7, 2019
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


"Is it worth it? What we're doing?"
"It has to be," she said. "If the Great Library comes to pieces, what's left? Warring kingdoms fighting over bones, dragging apart Archives, hoarding and hiding knowledge? Do you want to live in that world?"
"No," he said, and took a deep breath. "But I'm afraid we may inherit it anyway."

WOW. What a finale! I may not be pleased with everything that went down because I prefer my endings more happily ever after, rather than bittersweet, but this was a phenomenal finale to a fantastic series. Why it's so underrated is a mystery to me!

Considering this is book #5, it makes it difficult to review, because how do I talk about everything that I want to without spoiling EVERYTHING?! I don't know, but I shall do my best, nonetheless! xD

I'm not going to lie...I spent the majority of this book hyperventilating about Jess. The poor bloke kept nearly dying every couple of pages, and I'm surprised that I didn't need to go the hospital for incessant anxiety attacks. Leave poor Jess alone! My favourite scenes with him though, were the ones with Wolfe and Santi as well, who truly considered him as their adopted son. What wonderful gay dads. These three characters are my absolute favourites in the series. <3

Furthermore, Thomas was being his genius self, creating inventions and solving puzzles. Dario gets to go on his own crafty missions. Khalila really cements herself into Library politics. Glain is the badarse soldier that we all know her to be. And we also get to see the full extent of Morgan's powers!

As is the norm for this series, the plot was action-packed (with INSANE and unexpected twists and turns!), with the stakes so high that one misstep could lead to the end of the world as they knew it. There were many battles with high costs, as everyone in this group seemed to be in competition to see who could make the most valiant sacrifices. I've never come across a found family with such low senses of self-preservation, haha. Everyone thought that they were invincible and completely ignored their health, which was SO STRESSFUL for me!

This series is a very timely discussion about who gets to dictate the spread of knowledge. Should dangerous information be contained? Is it everyone's right to have equal access to it? What happens when knowledge is power and those who are in power abuse it? Ultimately, it's about hope and fighting for what you believe in. But it's also about friends and family...how they are all you need to see the light in the dark.

This book series is so close to my heart, and as a bibliophile myself, I really related to Jess and his love of books. This really was a series dedicated to book lovers. This is a very important series in today's society where censorship and surveillance are not uncommon.

I cannot wait for Rachel Caine's next venture. No matter what it is, I'm certain that it shall be a good one!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,111 reviews1,975 followers
December 12, 2020
A difficult one to review really. There is a lot of love out there for the whole series but I felt this last book did not quite make the grade.

Sword and Pen never really grabbed me at all. The characters came and went as the POV kept changing and not one of them, even Jess, interested me much. People got in a fight, they were injured, they were fixed, then they got in another fight. And so it went on.

Maybe the best part of the earlier books was the group of young people being together. When they are separated, as in this book, they lose value for the reader. For this reader anyway.

Still an interesting series overall and if it did not finish with a bang it did at least end with some shocks and a clever twist.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,047 reviews382 followers
September 3, 2019
Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'm so sad that this series is over. What a fun and fantastic world that Rachel Caine has created! She's got a handful of deep characters that I've grown to care for, and now, they'll have to live on through rereads I guess.

Sword and Pen is the final book in the Great Library series, and it goes out with a bang! Character growth, plot twists, major events, Indiana Jones-esque tombs, and evil villains all abound in this one, and the war for the sanctity of the Great Library escalates into an all out war with the dethroned Archivist and the nations that see an opportunity to take control. Embattled on all sides, our crew must fight with everything they have to not only see the Great Library remain to live another day, but for it to be reformed into the shining beacon of hope and knowledge that it once was.

If you haven't read this series, you should definitely pick it up. I highly recommend it. It's fun, exciting, and extremely entertaining. Five stars!
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews362 followers
August 26, 2019
It is so very hard to review the last book in a very much beloved series. This series has been amazing and stand out since the very first book and it has continued to astonish and blow me away with each new installment.

This last installment might very well be my most favorite one of them all.

Entertaining, action packed, thrilling, fast paced and full of all the great stuff and characters that have made this series so outstanding from the very beginning, Sword and Pen blew me away.

It made me cry, laugh, get angry, smile, be sad, feel so many emotions, but most of all, it made me love. Love for these fleshed out characters I have learned to care about and that have felt like family over the course of the series. I have been invested in them and truly worried about all their outcomes.

This wasn't an easy read. It was ugly at times and yes, people die, lots of people. This is war after all but most of all, it stayed true to the rest of the series. We knew there would be casualties. We knew these rag tag diverse group of people would die defending the things they love and the library and books they cherish. They have become a family over the course of their time together and all that being a family sometimes mean. The good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly.

I couldn't have anticipated and more entertaining and better ending than the one Caine delivered. Truly everything I hope it would be.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,907 reviews216 followers
February 5, 2020
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

OMG THIS SERIES! Sword and Pen did not disappoint folks! Ugh, it was so good and I'm so happy that I took my sweet time with this series. Even if I read the ARC way after it was published. Eh.. eh. Oops?

Honestly, I loved how this didn't go as I planned at all. Complete mind fuck but I enjoyed the ride. Definitely would've wanted some things to go differently but in the end, Rachel Caine continuously surprises me.

Loved each and every character.. even if Jess was trying to break my heart numerous times. Loved the story even more throughout each book. Most definitely will re-read this over and over again.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,728 reviews738 followers
March 16, 2020
My heart is both so full and so empty after finishing the final book in this absolutely BRILLIANT series. So full because I love this series to pieces and it was such a perfect ending to the series. So empty because I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself now that I’ve finished this series and have no more books to look forward to! I really couldn’t have imagined a better ending to these books and although a couple moments left me gutted and heart broken, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 64 books16.8k followers
June 2, 2020
As I've said for the other books, I just loved this series. This was a good end to the series and this one is now my favorite of Rachel's. She has many series out there and is a wonderful writer and person! My other favorite is her Morganville vampire series.

Profile Image for TS Chan.
691 reviews851 followers
July 19, 2021
Much to my delight, Sword and Pen delivered a truly satisfying and emotional conclusion to The Great Library, a spectacular YA series that has earned a spot as one of my favourites.

I would once again reiterate that I don't read very much modern YA, and one of the reasons is that the subgenre, is more often than not, chockful with problematic tropes. I found, however, that I did enjoy YA titles which were penned by authors who predominantly write adult fiction such as Brandon Sanderson, Sebastian de Castell and Joe Abercrombie. I'll add Rachel Caine to that list - even though she also wrote a huge YA series The Morganville Vampires. I'm not sure if I'll read that series but I will recommend The Great Library wholeheartedly. As a lover of books and libraries, the premise of The Great Library was way too enticing that I had to give it a try. Was I glad that I did! My experience was further enhanced by buddy reading the entire series with my co-bloggers, Celeste and Eon, who loved the books as well.

"What we offer is not simply books on shelves. It is a commonality of scholarship and knowledge. Without it, the world could easily fall into darkness and chaos, without a shared culture of understanding."

I won't go into any details about this final book at all, except that it delivered in every possible way. With the exception of a relatively slower start in the second book, the story was well-paced and incredibly engaging. These books absolutely cannot be read on a stand-alone basis as the narrative from start to finish is one big continuous arc that does not veer into any side-plots at all. In fact, the 2nd and 3rd books had cliffhanger endings. And even though the penultimate volume ended with less suspense, one would want to continue to the final book as soon as possible.

"In this place we burn the lamp of knowledge that never goes out. We light the world."

Similar to the previous book, Sword and Pen is multi-POV, which worked really well for these last two instalments. In spite of the brisk pace of the story, character development was never compromised. As a result, I was hugely invested in each and every single character that mattered to Jess Brightwell, who I considered as the main protagonist of the series. I've mentioned in one of my previous reviews that it's rare for me to be so interested in every member of the main cast and that has not diminished in the least. Caine made sure of that by giving each of them their own screen time, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

"Sometimes there simply were no good choices to be made. Only costly ones."

I might have not mentioned much about the worldbuilding since my first review, and I would like to address this shortcoming on my part. Caine did a magnificent job in realising this alternate world where the Great Library of Alexandria persisted and became the pre-eminent power of the world. She portrayed a realistic view of what our world would be like when such absolute power corrupts those who held all of the world's knowledge. It has always been lamented as to how much ancient scientific knowledge and technology had been lost in the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. Mythology has given us ideas about gods and robots, and Caine had given us a vivid realisation of that world.

"He'd been living in a desert for so long that finding a rose in the sand seemed impossible."

There's really nothing much about these books that I could actually criticise. There were no silly tropes to begin with. Our young protagonists were sensible pretty much most of the times, and even when they seemed to be making mistakes, it was due to love, loyalty and friendship. Even the romance was handled really well, especially in the final book. And while there were a couple of occasions where things were resolved a tad too conveniently, I felt that the overall story and its characters have earned it somehow.

“Better I die for something, even if it’s nothing you’d believe in. Loyalty’s just a word to you. It’s real for me."

What more can I say except that I loved every moment I spent reading this series. On top of that, the physical books look absolutely stunning - making it a truly worthy addition on my shelves.

Just look at those gorgeous spines!

Series rating:
Ink and Bone: 4.5/5 stars
Paper and Fire: 4.5/5 stars
Ash and Quill: 4.5/5 stars
Smoke and Iron: 5/5 stars
Sword and Pen: 5/5 stars
Overall: 23.5/25 stars

You can purchase the book from Blackwells | Bookshop.Org (Support Independent Bookstores)Amazon US | Amazon UK

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
December 2, 2019

Great conclusion to the Great Library series. Starts fast and does not linger one bit, and before you know it, the journey of the series concludes wonderfully. There were so many complex aspects of the continuing story and character developments throughout this series, and honestly Rachel Caine never dropped the ball during this series. Kudos to her and an amazing job well done!!!
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,519 followers
October 28, 2021
في يناير ٢٠١٦ دخلت عالم ريتشل كاين "المكتبة العظمي"، مكتبة الإسكندرية
بسؤال ؛ ماذا لو لم تحترق مكتبة الإسكندرية القديمة؟

حكمها طاغية، رئيس الأرشيف، وطارد شخصيات الرواية المختلفة المتنوعة خلال الأجزاء السابقة بسبب رغبته في السيطرة وإحتكار العلم والمعرفة

وما بين الأسكندرية ولندن وأمريكا دارت الأحداث بالأجزاء السابقة، بوصف يزداد اتقانا مع كل جزء..كانك في اسكندرية فعلا

ربما أتسم بعض اجزاءها بالتطويل ولكن جاء الجزء الأخير هذا بشكل ملحمي يعد كأفضل خاتمة متكاملة بحق بالنسبة للروايات الشبابية

الاحداث مثيرة ومتسارعة بشكل كبير بهذا الجزء، وكالجزء السابق كل فصل من وجهة نظر احد الشخصيات بسبب وجود كل شخصية من الشخصيات الثمانية الرئيسية في مكان ومهمة مختلفة فكل فصل هنا يعد تنوع تشويقي

لتأتي الفصول الأخيرة في ليلة عاصفة مطيرة "سكندرية" أصيلة وكأن المؤلفة -رحمها الله- عاشت فعلا بها ويتجمع أبطال مغامرتنا الثمانية لأخر مرة سويا في تلك الفصول الأخيرة لتقديم تلك النهاية المذهلة الملائمة جدا للقصة والسلسلة ككل

شعرت طوال الكتاب حتي بعد منتصفه إن النهاية قد تكون سوداوية تماما، الكتاب حتي قبل أخره المكتبة والشخصيات كلهم في مواقف مميتة والمكتبة مهددة بالحرق بالنيران الاغريقية الخضراء

وأعجبني جدا كيف تعاملت المؤلفة مع النهايات دون مبالغات. بل وقدمت ختامات لشخصيات كانت فرعية بشكل ملائم وخطوط بسيطة كعلاقة جيس بوالده مثلا، وعلاقة وولفي بوالده أيضا قامت بغلق كل هذا بإتقان


الشخصيات تطورت كثيرا، وكبرت بالفعل مع الحكاية كتاب وراء كتاب

كيف في احد المشاهد الأخيرة ل'جيس' بطل الحكاية يجد نفسه يفطر في مشهد مشابه من بداية الكتاب الأول، منذ سنوات عدة
وكيف الصداقات تحولت لحب...وكيف الطموح تكلل بالنجاح
نهايات سعيدة وأخري مأساوية وحلوة مُرّة والحياة تستمر...وظبطت نفسي أدمع كثيرا في اكثر من مشهد بالفصول الأخيرة

شخصية 'خليلة' الفتاة المسلمة مرسومة بشكل بديع، حتي صلاواتها وقولها إن شاءالله في أصعب مواقف الرواية..كما فهمت من إهداءات الكتاب أن للمؤلفة أصدقاء مسلمين ساعدوها في إخراج الشخصية بهذا الإبداع

وأيضا 'جلين' من ويلز الشجاعة تطورت شخصيتها بشكل كبير


للأسف رحلت المؤلفة العام الماضي بعد صراع مع السرطان ، ولكنها تركت مجموعة كبيرة ومختلفة من الروايات والسلاسل الشبابية الشهيرة

وإن لم تلق سلسلة المكتبة العظمي شهرة رواياتها الأخري فإننا محظوظين بأنها انهت تلك السلسلة بهذا التألق قبل رحيلها ...لأني اتوقع لها فعلا نجاحا آكبر إذا ما تشجع منتج لتحويلها مسلسل ضخم

كل محبي روايات الشبابية
لا تتأخروا في تلك التجربة والرحلة المثيرة في مكتبة الإسكندرية الكبري

محمد العربي
من ١٨ اكتوبر ٢٠٢١
الي ٢٦ اكتوبر ٢٠٢١
Profile Image for Justine.
1,103 reviews294 followers
March 17, 2021
4.5 stars

Wow, a great finish to an overall excellent series. Like every book preceding this one, Sword and Pen is exciting and emotional. It's hard sometimes to wrap up a series with several characters in a way that feels satisfactory, but Caine managed to do a great job here.

I loved the ending, and how all the characters were remembered and dealt with in a loving and careful way. I think Caine must have had a special place in her heart for Jess, Thomas, Kahlila, Dario, Morgan, Glain, Santi, and Wolfe. Obviously, and sadly, there will be no further stories set in the world of The Great Library, but I am certainly grateful for the ones there are.

[G]o out and build the world the way you want to see it, bit by bit, day by day.

Word by word.

It's in your hands.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,431 reviews179 followers
April 7, 2021
What a fantastic end to this fantastic series. I was both teary and happy by its satisfying end. To get there, our library gang only had to deal with several murder attempts, numerous betrayals, near death experiences, and the sure knowledge that they could count utterly on each other.
Jess says it well:
“Thomas nodded and looked at Wolfe. Santi. Glain. Dario. Last, at Jess. Jess felt something cold and knotted ease up inside him. They might all be doomed, but at least they were, for the first time in a while, together. And together, they were powerful.”
I am beyond sad that there will never be any further stories in this wonderfully realized alternate world, and that I'll never find out how even more amazing Kahlila will be, or how they all, including Wolfe, Santi, Dario, Glain, Thomas and Jess, manage in a new world after their revolution.
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
2,959 reviews630 followers
September 3, 2019
Don’t you love when you become invested in the characters and story? When you cry over loss, worry about outcomes and curse villains names? If you do than the Great Library series is for you.

In this world the written word and knowledge are controlled for the greater good. Books are illegal and and smugglers profit. It’s the story of a small group of Librarians who overcoming the controlling faction to better the world. They believe knowledge and books should be shared. Along the way there will be great friendship, loves, losses, adversity, growth, and more. It’s all quite brilliant really.

We’ve regained control of the library in Sword and Pen, but the old Archivist is still plotting and world leaders are vying for their share of the pie. It was intense with betrayals, kickass moments, heroes, losses and discoveries. I laughed, wept like a baby, worried half the story about certain beloved characters and was in awe of how Caine spun this final chapter. I closed the book satisfied with the knowledge that I will revisit this series again.

For fans of the series turn off your phone, grab snacks, call in sick, and enjoy! Those of you who like to binge once a series is complete, I say to you, go forth and devour. Then come tell me what you think! This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,573 reviews1,461 followers
August 6, 2021
I do love it when a series wraps up well. Most loose ends are tied up and we have a pretty clear idea of what the future will hold for both the Great Library and the people that serve it. I will say the conclusion was satisfying for me.


I will miss the crew we have spent the last five books getting to really know. They are all interesting and special in their own way and I’ve grown to love them all. I’ve also loved the twist to the Library at Alexandria and how information was kept in this world.

Our crew needed to fight an ousted ruler trying to worm his way back into power at all costs, the ‘help’ of foreign countries who think bringing their army into the city to secure it won’t be noticed for the hostile takeover it is. Lines will be drawn and crossed and all the members of our team will be tested in some way or another. Plus there are some pretty awesome defenses the Library has at it's disposal to be used.

This book kept up a pretty good pace, it seems something is always happening and with the multiple PoVs sharing the story with the reader it was a hard book to put down because each and everyone of the had an intense arc happening.

I love the world this is set in with the guardians of books being the actual statures around the city, the magic that operates them and just the different history this brings to the reader. All the characters remain interesting. Thomas even got to go on an adventure to find the missing teachings of one of the most brilliant men in history, through a puzzle labyrinth. There is really something for everyone in this series.
Profile Image for Darinda.
7,966 reviews145 followers
September 4, 2019
The fifth and final book in The Great Library series by Rachel Caine. This fantasy series involves an imaginative world where owning books is banned and information from books is controlled by the Great Library.

The world-building in this series is fantastic. The assorted cast of characters have really grown as the series has progressed. The characters have worked hard to bring down the corruption in the Great Library, but the future of the Library is unknown as multiple sides vie for control. Since this is the final book, everything comes to an end and the characters get closure.

A series that readers can easily get lost in. Diverse characters, plenty of action, and intriguing story. Recommended to fans of YA fantasy and dystopian series. Creative, adventurous, and engaging.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,196 reviews374 followers
September 18, 2019
One of the best series I've ever read ever. Rachel Caine, you are a fantastic genius. Thank you for not giving up on this idea.

I have to add: It is nearly always a TERRIBLE idea to begin a series with the final book. I say this because I saw updates from someone who picked this up without having read the first four and had no idea who anyone was or what was going on. This is NOT one of those series where you can start wherever you like all willy-nilly and such. PLEASE start with Ink and Bone. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.
Profile Image for Bea .
1,948 reviews138 followers
September 4, 2019
Blog tour review, excerpt and giveaways 9/4/19.


Wait. First buy and read the first four books, then buy and read this book. It really doesn't work well as a stand alone especially as it's the last in the series. I'm sad the series is ending and delighted that

Caine ended the series on a high note. I'm not referring to the events of the story but the writing. It was tightly plotted, full of emotion, politics, action, a little romance, found family and musings on who should control access to knowledge and the flow of information. Pretty relevant, yes? Anyway, Caine didn't miss a beat or slack off. "Sword and Pen" is fast paced, tightly plotted, full of surprises, and completely absorbing.

We say goodbye to at least one character, and see all of them change, mature, and grow. When I read the first book, I wasn't a fan of Scholar Wolfe. But over five books we've gotten to know him and understand him, and now he matters as much to me as any of the other main characters. Also, throughout the series Caine has done a wonderful job writing characters who are heterosexual, homosexual, and asexual, as well as writing characters from different parts of the world, although most are European. Nor does Caine shy away from showing the consequences of war. It was a hard read at times, with all the horror and challenges our fearless gang face but there's always hope.

One such challenge is when one of our MCs is injured and has trouble breathing as a result. It was, by far, the best depiction of living with respiratory illness that I've read in a genre book. I have severe chronic asthma and Caine's depiction of {redacted}'s breathing challenges resonated strongly with me. I felt seen and understood, and it wasn't even asthma she was writing about. Thank you, Ms. Caine. I greatly appreciate it.

"Sword and Pen" is a fantastic end to the series, and a fantastic story. It was absorbing and engaging and kept up way too late, not once but twice. Go, buy it, and prepare to get your heart ripped out.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,807 reviews347 followers
September 14, 2019
Fabulous! This is going out with a bang, rather than a whimper! I am not sure what it says about me that I adore dark fantasy, with plenty of battles, plots, backstabby treacherousness, and ingenious weapons. And don’t forget the Great Library! Having worked my whole career in libraries, they are near and dear to my heart.

This volume reduced me to emotional tatters by its end. I shed plenty of tears and just sat staring into space for a while after I finished it. What a ride!

Ms. Caine, you have certainly figured out how to make me into a happy reader. Between this series, the Stillhouse Lake series and the Honors series, I am overwhelmed with good choices for future reading. Long may you write!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
1,966 reviews1,378 followers
December 2, 2022
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. This is the fifth and final 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.

I'm so sad that my time within this world and with these characters has come to an end! This entire series has been excellently well-plotted, fast-paced, and full of as many scenes of action as it was packed with political intrigue and magical learning. This final instalment was no exception, although the battle scenes did dominate all others, as the enemies were all facing each other in a final showdown.

Like the previous instalment, this featured a number of perspectives whereas the initial three only featured Jess Brightwell's. I thought it a fitting end to be provided with so many insights and the novel would not have worked nearly as well without them. The characters were often dispersed and the reader gained an understanding for all sides of this war through their eyes.

Many of the characters suffered throughout the course of this storyline and that was only compounded here. I was unsure if all or any of them would survive their ordeals and feared for their safety on every page. It was a bittersweet but fitting conclusion, filled with both hope and suffering as the whole series has been, and the epilogue left me with hope that a spin-off series might someday be created. Pretty please, Rachel Caine??
Profile Image for Skip.
3,223 reviews394 followers
September 28, 2020
Book #5 and finale to a terrific and recommended series by Rachel Caine. Creative world, interesting characters, and a theme for readers of all ages: who is entitled to knowledge? With the death of an important character, the evil Archivist has been banished, but forces are amassing around Alexandria and the Great Library: several nation’s fleets are just outside the harbor, the Russians are camped outside the northeast gate, and the Archivist in exile has spies everywhere. Everyone on the team must fight with everything they have to avoid disaster: Jess has to rescue important papers from the Archivist’s office so Thomas can activate an ancient failsafe designed by Heron, treachery abounds leading to kidnapping, extortion, and deadly attacks, new alliances and bonds are formed, new leaders emerge, and of course, there is much bloodshed and sacrifice in the battle to preserve knowledge for all. 4.5 stars, but start with the first book.
Profile Image for Maja Ingrid.
442 reviews126 followers
November 3, 2019
A satisfying conclusion to the series!

While I've felt there was a sliiight decline beginning with book 4, the series is still solid through and through. I think one of my dislike was that, with book 4, it started getting multi-pov. Don't get me wrong. I love the other characters as well but I had grown stuck on Jess and was bit territorial with charing my page-time with him with others.
Also with this decline was that, stuff didn't have the same emotional impact on me. Book 1-3 had me crying and wheezing and basically dying. Book 4-5 had that too but not quiet up there. And I don't have this empty feeling I usually have after finishing the last book in a series. But it was satisfactory and I do hope Caine will do revisits in the future and the series do is re-readable.

Also Wolfe and Santi being confirmed dads is EVERYTHING, and even though it was only confirmed to Jess, and he confirmed them being his dads too and I'm cry, I know the others are also very much adopted.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,100 reviews458 followers
September 2, 2019
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy
*Rating* 3.5-4


Sword and Pen is the Fifth and final installment in author Rachel Caine's The Great Library series. As a sort of summary, The Great Library of Alexandria exists in a alternative world. It exists to "contain the knowledge of the world in the name of the greater good." This is a world where possessing real honest to goodness books is a serious crime, but there are those who have found a way to do so even at the threat of death by the Great Library.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews

Profile Image for The Goblin Times.
265 reviews33 followers
January 12, 2021
No spoilers (for this one or the previous ones)

A satisfying ending. The stakes were high the entire time and the action was really good. I loved what the author did with Jess’ arc as a character and his relationship with Morgan. Morgan herself didn’t bother me as she did in the previous books and I even started to like her.

I wanted more interactions between Thomas and Jess and in general among the friend group. It’s understandable that each has something to do during a siege and an inside-war but I wanted them together more often.

I can see myself rereading the entire series in the future, preferably with physical copies. The world never stopped being interesting along the way and the dynamics between all the characters were fun to follow. Could have had a better villain but we can’t have everything.
Profile Image for Melanie Dulaney.
1,291 reviews57 followers
July 30, 2019
It is both sad and exciting to come to the end of The Great Library series. I have loved each and every one and will continue to recommend it to YA lovers of fantasy, action-adventure and books/libraries in general. With its unique weaponry and mechanical marvels such as tablets that are far more capable than anything currently available and almost sentient statuary that can both kill and protect, this might also be a series for those who enjoy sci-fi, as well. In this final book, readers will see each of our young heroes taking a more equal share of print time and fans will come away knowing them all much more deeply. Jess is still the lynchpin to everything, but the book changes POV often. Fans will need to set aside a large block of uninterrupted time to read this exciting conclusion as the action continues from the chaos in the arena at the end of book 4 and does not let up until the fate of the Great Library is settled. There are a few surprises and some little things left open-ended so readers can decide a few things for themselves. As in the previous books, Caine only has a few instances of mild profanity, but there is a great deal of death and destruction in the battle for control of the world’s books. Santi and Wolfe’s homosexual relationship is well-established and may even be referred to more often in this installment than in others, but there is nothing more than sexual attraction, unfulfilled passion and/or love between any of the characters. Highly recommended for YA readers, but do not even try to read this series out of order! Thank you, thank you, NetGalley for this dARC!
Profile Image for Celeste.
869 reviews2,307 followers
July 11, 2021
What a fabulous way to end a fantastic series. The Great Library is among the best, most consistently solid series I’ve had the pleasure of reading, both in the YA genre and outside of it. This final installment gives us perspective chapters from all of the characters I’ve come to love so much over the course of the series, and I was heavily invested in every single point-of-view. The action was nonstop without becoming overwhelming or fatiguing. I love this setting, I love these characters, and I love how the focus of the entire plot is the importance of the written word. Caine created something special here, and it’s a series I would highly recommend to any and all book lovers.
Profile Image for Allison Sesame.
321 reviews
January 1, 2020
This series definitely did not need to be five books. I think three would have been more than sufficient to tell the story.

This finale was underwhelming and the pacing was bizarre. A “war” of a few days doesn’t carry much weight in my eyes. The ending for some of the characters felt rather lazy and rushed.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,401 reviews254 followers
June 16, 2020
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange from an honest review.

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, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

Sword of Pen by Rachel Caine is an outstanding finale to The Great Library series, which quickly became an all time favorite series. I devoured each and every installment before this, but I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to so many favorite characters so I kept putting book five off. I shouldn't have been worried, though, because Rachel Caine expertly concludes this marvelous series. I couldn't have asked for anything better. The world she has created feels like it has a life of its own and the cast of characters have grown so much since we met them.

Once I started this novel I did not want to put it down because so much happens and its quite the roller coaster of emotions that one goes through. Primarily, though, I savored the time I got to spend with everyone one last time from Jess, Dario, Glain, Khalila, Morgan, Thomas, Wolfe, and Santi. I love everyone, but the real stand outs here are Jess (I was so worried for him), Khalila (she really comes into herself here), and Wolfe and Santi (both are awesome and I'm really happy that they've practically adopted Jess). It's not often that I can say a couple of adult characters are my favorites of a Young Adult series, but Wolfe and Santi have certainly earned it. To be honest, I feel like I earned a few gray hairs right there along with Wolfe.

Finally, I just want to mention that I appreciate how much heart this series has. It's so hopeful when it comes to the future even though there's been so much bloodshed and destruction. It ends in a way that gives us great closure for our core cast, but also keeps things open to give us the opportunity to imagine their further adventures. Overall, I can't recommend The Great Library series by Rachel Caine enough and Sword and Pen, the fifth and final installment, is absolutely outstanding. If you haven't jumped into this series yet, or have been putting off the finale, what are you waiting for? My expectations were sky high, but I couldn't have asked for a better ending.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing these characters again a few years down the road. They could be just going about their lives with nothing special going on and I expect I'd love it just as much. It would be nice to visit their world again in the future. What could really be fun - an adult fantasy spin-off told from Wolfe and Santi's alternating perspectives a little while down the line. I'm sure that that would be a treasure.

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