Tag Archives: great power

Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

This is the fourth book in the Great Library series. We borrowed it from a friend because the library only has the first three books.

Published: 2018

Genre: YA alternate history/fantasy

Length: 448 pages

Setting: Alexandria, immediately after the events of Ash and Quill

Summary: Short version: Jess and his friends make their move to remove the Archivist

Long version: Jess and Dario have put into play a scheme to get them back to Alexandria. They put it into lace without telling anyone else but Morgan, since she’s critical to its success. Morgan is sent back to the Black Tower where she makes contact with Eskander, a powerful Obscurist. Wolfe is sent back to prison and he works hard to not allow the setting to break him. Jess is impersonating Brendan, his twin, in order to have some freedoms in Alexandria. The others are prisoners on a ship, being taken back to Alexandria by Anit. They hijack the ship and get support from the King of Spain. In Alexandria, the goal is to minimize bloodshed and encourage Scholars to support a regime change. The Archivist has planned a Feast of Greater Burning and developed a dragon automaton to hold onto power. Jess and his allies disrupt those plans, although the Archivist escapes.

Final thoughts: Delightful, if not quite as compelling as the first few. I certainly devoured the book since I needed to know what happened next. The book is chock full of peril. It’s a constant driving to a final confrontation. Perhaps that’s why I felt a little let down at the end. There was so much build up that the conclusion felt anticlimactic. It didn’t help that the Archivist escaped. That felt like a cheat to require one more book. Also, I didn’t appreciate Brendan’s death at the end. I felt like the author knew someone important had to die, but it couldn’t be than main characters. Therefore, Brendan is elected to be the sacrificial lamb.

This book was told from everyone’s point of view. That differed from the previous books but was necessary because the characters were split up. I enjoyed Morgan and Khalila’s chapters best. Morgan continued to rail against the restrictions placed on Obscurists. She does learn there are limits to even her great powers. I was happy Eskander was able to fix her so she was no longer an energy vampire. Khalila’s arc went the other way. She kept moving into leadership roles without actively seeking them out. I fully expect her to become the next Archivist. I still wonder what Jess’s role in the Library hierarchy will be. Everyone else is wonderful at their field (perhaps excessively so – I get annoyed when all the wonderful people come together. Where are the average people?), but Jess doesn’t really have a specialty.

Title comes from: It follows the naming convention of the series. Otherwise, I’m not really sure.

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #29 for 2019

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Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

This is the second book in the Dark Jewels trilogy. I’m trying to finish series within a reasonably short time of starting them, so here’s the second book already.

Published: 1999

Genre: fantasy

Length: 482 pages

Setting: soon after the events of Daughter of the Blood, various locations within the Realms

Summary: Short version: Jaenelle heals and draws friends into her official Court Continue reading

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