Review – Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**

Title Sword and Pen (The Great Library #5)

Author Rachel Caine

Description from Amazon

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.

Initial Thoughts

Book number 240 of 2019. What a crazy ride this has been. The Great Library series was a series that was on my TBR for a while and applying for (and receiving) a copy of the last book finally gave me the excuse I needed to tackle all five books.

I had mixed feelings going into this last installment. To be totally honest, I enjoyed books one and two but three fell a bit flat. Things ramped up a bit in four so I did have high hopes for five, but, I was also sad because the series was ending.

Some Things I Liked

  • Diverging storylines. I liked that in this book (as well as book four), we got to see the characters act independently and they had their own POV chapters. I liked seeing each character act on their own as well as the letters and journal entries between the chapters.
  • Jess moving a bit toward the background. As much as I love Jess as a character, I was pleased to see my other favorites getting their chance in the limelight. Jess was more of a secondary character in this installment and we got to see everyone else shine a bit more this time.
  • Alternate history. Once again, I applaud the development of the world using alternate history. I often think about what the world would be like if one small thing was different and this world evokes so much of that notion. What if books weren’t available to everyone? What if game-changing inventions were stifled because they would be too profound? I loved the thought-provoking nature of this series.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • The ending. I didn’t dislike it necessarily, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I think I would have been a bit happier with a bit more in the epilogue. Tell me what everyone is doing now – don’t leave it to my imagination!

Series Value

This was a strong series and a strong final installment. Do I think the entire series might have been equally strong as say, four books instead of five? Yes. Was this still a good series? Also, yes. I enjoyed it, I read it all in about a month and I’m glad I did.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad this was my last book of 2019. Like this book to The Great Library Series, this was a strong finish to my year.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman – if you like thought-provoking, semi-sci-fi / semi-dystopian worlds, with a smidge of romance, you need to read this series.
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – if you liked the library concept, check out this fantasy stand-alone.
  • Fireborne by Rosaria Munda – if you liked the way the story was broken up with journal entires and letters in each chapter, give this new release by Rosaria Munda a try. Once again, this book asks big questions about human nature and the way society should be structured.

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