There is also a novella – The Abandoned: A Delphi Novella (#2.5) that I did not read prior to writing this review. (The novella is available on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited – see affiliate link at the bottom of this review – but I read several of Walker’s short stories and novellas that were paired with previous series, and enjoyed them thoroughly. The short stories and novellas usually provided insight into the lives of secondary characters.)
Do you believe in psychic powers?
The world in 2019 didn’t either, until presidential candidate Senator Ron Cregg showed the world what a couple of kids were capable of on national television. Not only did Cregg reveal that psychic powers were real and potentially very dangerous, but he revealed that psychics were created by a mix of military and governmental programs, most commonly known as the Delphi Project. Cregg’s revelations terrified the nation, creating an environment of fear and mistrust that just kept growing.
Disclaimer: This book review may contain spoilers, for those that haven’t read the first three books in the series. If you haven’t read them, I’d suggest you read my review of book 1 and 2 here, and my review of book 3 here.
Smoke and Iron
The Great Library Series Book 4
By Rachel Caine
Like each of the preceding books in the series, Caine drops the reader right back into the story where she last left off. Smoke and Iron starts with Jess Brightwell, just separated from his friends, leaving them in the dark as to how he plans to win their freedom and overthrow the Library. Jess ends up in Alexandria in a last ditch effort to take down the corrupt leadership of the Great Library. Each of the friends has a part to play in Jess’ grand plan… the question is, will they figure out what that part is before it’s too late?
In this action-packed book, Jess and his friends certainly increase their momentum and develop powerful allies in their quest against the Library, but we’re left waiting until Book 5 (release date TBD but I’d assume 2019 sometime) to find out if Jess is successful.
Review/Recommendation: Man, does this series suck me in. I waited a year for this book to be released and I’m not looking forward to the wait for the final book in the series. But the wait was worth it. Smoke and Iron was the best book I’ve read in a while.
This series also consists of a number of short stories (you can find the list on Goodreads). I did not read any of the short stories prior to writing this review.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and purchase, I make a very small percentage (at no additional cost to you!) which goes towards maintenance of this blog. Thanks for your support!
The Grisha Trilogy
By Leigh Bardugo
The Grisha are a people endowed with special powers, a people who are considered Masters of the Small Science. Each Grisha is able to manipulate a certain type of matter to achieve extraordinary results. Some, Corporalki, work with what’s in the human body. Others, Etherealki or Summoners, are able to manipulate nature’s elements (wind, fire, water). The final set, the Materialki, are gifted scientists and builders, working with elements such as steal.
Many Grisha – persecuted, experimented on, sold as slaves in some parts of the world – make their way to the land of Ravka, where their unique gifts are nurtured. Here, the Grisha, considered to be part of the country’s elite, learn how to use their gifts and then serve in Ravka’s Second Army, led by the Darkling. The Darkling is the only known Grisha who is capable of summoning darkness, a leader with no equal. That is, until Alina reveals herself. Alina is the Darkling’s opposite – she is the Sun Summoner, a woman who can manipulate light.
This trilogy is largely centered around Alina and the Darkling. In the first book, Shadow and Bone, Alina’s powers are revealed. Throughout the book, Alina struggles to find her place among the Grisha and how to summon light. She is unsure of who to trust, feeling very alone. By the end of the book, Alina comes to realize that the Darkling’s intentions are not what they seemed; that her destiny was not to lead along side him, uniting a country ravaged by war, but rather to oppose him and defeat his plans to rule Ravka.
The second two books in the series, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising, chronicles Alina’s fight against the Darkling. She’s helped by both new and old friends as well as amplifiers, magical items intended to strengthen her power. She still struggles with who to trust, as everyone seems to have a hidden agenda and multiple sets of loyalties. Will Alina and her group of friends be enough to defeat the Darkling and rebuild a war-torn country?
Review/Recommendation: Although a couple of the books (particularly the third) was hard to get into, the trilogy was an enjoyable, quick read. This young adult series (fantasy genre) has something for everyone – love stories and love triangles, action and deceit. For the most part, the story was fast-paced (I found the beginnings to be the slowest part) and kept me wanting to turn the page and read just one more chapter.
As a former student of Russian language and culture, I’d be remiss if i did not mention the similarities to the Russian culture throughout the series. For starters, the word “grisha” is the diminutive of Gregory, which means watchful. (Bardugo states in the Q&A in the back of book 1 that the word also visually and aurally evokes the word “geisha,” enforcing the sense of beauty and secrecy that surrounds the Grisha people.) The names of people (Nikolai, Morozova, Misha, Aleksander, Sankta Alina) and places (Tsibeya, Novyi Zem, Dva Stolba) were some of the most obvious examples that will resonate with those familiar with the Russian culture. But certain scenes in the snow, of the characters drinking kvas, the troika arriving with holiday gifts to the orphanage etc. reminded me of my Russian studies.
If you like young adult/fantasy books, this series is worth a read. While I didn’t love it as much as I loved Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Daughter of Smoke and Bones or Divergent books (to name a few), it’s an enjoyable read if you’re looking for another series in the genre.
Disclaimer 1: This is a review of the third book in The Great Library Series. If you have not read the first two books in the series, you can read my review for those here.
Disclaimer 2: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and purchase, I make a very small percentage (at no additional cost to you!) which goes towards maintenance of this blog. Thanks for your support!
Ash and Quill
By Rachel Caine
The third book in The Great Library series picks up where the last left off. Jess and his friends escape the clutches of the Library but end up arriving in Philadelphia where a new threat awaits, the Burners – those that would rather burn book than succumb to the Library; those that believed that a human life was more valuable than books and knowledge.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and purchase, I make a very small percentage (at no additional cost to you!) which goes towards maintenance of this blog. Thanks for your support!
The Great Library Series
By Rachel Caine
Book 1: Ink and Bone
Book 2: Paper and Fire Book 3: Ash and Quill (Published in July 2017 – read my review here)
Book 4: Smoke and Iron (Published in 2018 – read my review here)
Book 5: Sword and Pen (Published in 2019 – read my review here)
Associated Short Stories: Tigers in the Cage (Book 0.1) Stormcrow (Book 0.5)
This series takes place around the year 2045. It’s a world that is unrecognizable to the reader, as this version of the future starts with a very different version of our history. The Great Library of Alexandria not only survives but rises to a position of power and protects knowledge from being lost from war and disaster that plague Earth’s history. While there are some technological advancements, the Library banishes all ideas that would challenge it’s existence to The Black Archives, essentially rewriting history.