It’s official! I have another favourite series!
All you really have to do is say BOOK LOVE and MAGIC in the same sentence and you got me. You got me so bad. And that’s exactly what the Great Library series by Rachel Caine is all about. Usually I do reviews of books I’m besotted with, but today I’m going to give you a list of reasons why you should be devouring these books at dawn. Or, like, in the afternoon. Or even at night. I’m not going to dictate your life. *
The are actually 5 books in the series and only the first 3 are out. So it’s a good time to pop into the magical alternate dystopian reality of the Alexandrian Library and HAVE YOU HEART SHREDDED.
I mean, haha, I mean…have lots of fun and enjoyment and light frolicsome fun.
Before I throw my glorious list at you, can check out my full Goodreads reviews for the books here:
* THIS IS WEIRD. THIS DOESN’T SEEM LIKE ME.
NOTE: THERE WILL BE NO SPOILERS IN THIS POST!
Also thank you to Berkley Books for the review copy of Ash and Quill!
Yeah my thumb scares me too but like you are what you eat and I think I ate a spider and a nazgul.
In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.
When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…
1. DID I MENTION MAGICAL LIBRARY YET? BECAUSE MAGICAL LIBRARY.
The whole series is set in an alternate reality (I think in the not-so-distant future) where the Alexandria Library WAS NEVER DESTROYED (!!!) but it is not also, unfortunately, evil. (!! Still excited about this don’t judge me !!) And it controls what people read and basically has kept the world stuck in an early 19th century vibe, because they’re scared of change and people having their own thoughts.
It’s like this series knows what’s up.
Anyway. Basically we have a lot of Harry Potter vibes going on with blank books that get magically written in from Obscurists in towers and automaton monsters that are “technically” mechanical but also SUPER MAGICAL and types of wizards and teleportation and SO MANY THINGS.
2. JESS BRIGHTWELL IS LITERALLY THE BEST.
He’s from London and quite a disgruntled little beast who LOVES BOOKS TO DEATH. No literally. He’d die for books. #Relatable. Also his family runs a book smuggling business because it’s freaking illegal to own original books. You can only own “blanks” which the Library can control the content of magically.
But literally, Jess #1 cause for panic attacks is when he sees a book being abused. SAME THOUGH, MATE.
3. JESS’ FAMILY ARE ALSO GREAT BECAUSE THEYR’E SO SO SO BAD.
No really, his dad like totally sells him out, left his older brother to hang for being caught smuggling books, and sends Jess as a spy to study at the library — WHERE HE WOULD DIE BRUTALLY IF HE WAS CAUGHT.
Actual Example of Jess’ Family FUN:
Jess: The Brightwell family is always there for each other.
Jess: We don’t always get along but we are FAMILY.
Jess: *DYING FOR SOME REASON*
Father: son we need to talk about you being a drain on the family resources
Jess: *LITERALLY DYING*
Father: I can help out but at what cost to me
Jess also has a super shady shifty Slytherin twin named, Brendan. Whom I love. Plus Brendan’s character development and plot twists are AMAZING. I honestly live for the unexpected secondary characters.
4. AND LOOK, SINCE I ALREADY BROUGHT UP HOGWARTS, EVERYONE HERE IS BASICALLY SLYTHERIN. OR RAVENCLAW.
It’s great! I am all for mixing Slytherin and Ravenclaws together because they’re very intelligent and fight all the time.
MY HOGWARTS HOUSE ANALYSIS FOR THE CHARACTERS:
- Jess: Slytherin x Ravenclaw
- Brendan: so slytherin he is literally a reptile
- Khalila: ravenclaw
- Dario: slytherin
- Thomas: ravenclaw
- Gwain: gryffindor
- Wolffe: slytherin
- Santi: hufflepuff, bless him
- Morgan: slytherin
5. IT’S ALSO SUPER DIVERSE AND THIS IS SO PLEASING.
Because the whole premise is a bunch of teens coming to do the super super hard tests to get into working in the Great Library — they’ve come from ALL OVER THE WORLD. We have many ethnicity and sexuality diversity as well as a LOT of mental health rep which is so well done! One of the main characters is Muslim. One of the featuring couples is m/m. People take pride in their culture, dress, and food and this all leads me over tooooooooo…
6. IT’S MOSTLY SET IN EGYPT!!
I love this!! Though throughout the series they do travel around, in the first 3 books I’d say about 70% of it takes place in Egypt surrounding the Great Library of Alexandria. So we have like culture and climate and food AND MAGIC. #Am #A #Fan.
They do go to America at one point and America is like a wasteland. I’m giggling, it’s ok, my Australian self and I will take our humour elsewhere.
7. I’VE ALSO READ INK & BONE TWICE SO, LIKE, THAT’S SAYING SOMETHING RIGHT THERE.
I actually read the first book for the 2nd time on audio! Which amused me no end as they all sit there waxing poetic about how BOOKS ARE NOT BOOKS UNLESS THEY ARE REAL AND PHYSICAL and I’m…listening to the audiobook.
OH THE IRONIES.
But the audio narration was fantastic. The narrator was amazingly British and yes I am shallow enough to admit I love an audiobook 100 x more if there are British accents.
8. THERE ARE NO “SEQUEL BLUES” BECAUSE THE WRITING IS TOP QUALITY THE WHOLE TIME.
I’m genuinely allergic to sequels (dude, it took me 2 years to read Paper And Fire here) because they so often TASTE LIKE DEAD CHEESE ON THE BACK OF A GOAT. But no sequel blues here! The pace and plot are all exciting and well paced. I never feel like I’m “waiting for the real plot to start” because the stakes are sooooo high and the plot sooo twisty the whole time. Plus the character development never ceases to make my heart beat faster.
I’m like a pretzel of anticipation for each chapter!
9. FEELS? WE GOTCHA FEELS. WE’RE GOING TO BREAK YOUR FEELS.
I swear Ash and Quill particularly RUINED ME and if you want cliffhangers: this book has got ’em. It’s been a few weeks since I finished book #3 and I’m stilllllll not over it!!! These characters aren’t coddled! They get SLAMMED with the brutality, cruelty and all-crushing displays of power at every opportunity.
And like when I say EVIL LIBRARY, I mean it. The things they do to “rebels”….
I very much want to rescue these poor precious cinnamon children and kidnap them to safety. And by “precious cinnamon children” I 500% mean Wolfe and Santi who are probably in their 30s (since they’re like the mentor figures to the teens) AND I DON’T EVEN CARE. THEY’RE THE MOST PURE THINGS WE’VE EVER MET. THEY DESERVE HAPPINESS, TO BE TOGETHER FOREVER, AND THE AUTHOR TO STOP TORTURING THEM FOR GOODNESS SAKES.
ALSO THERE IS
- poisonous snakes
- magical ripping-you-apart-and-putting-you-back-together
- mass burnings
- your hopes and dreams on the floor at your feet
10. LASTLY, I WILL ADMIT THE BOOKS ARE JUST SO FREAKING GORGEOUS.
The colours absolutely POP and I will not apologise for how often they feature on my instagram feed. And I love how the hardcovers look like actual old books?!? Plus did I just mention THE COLOURS.
My actual favourite covers of ever.
Now excuse me but why isn’t it 2018 yet because I need the 4th book LIKE I NEED AIR.