BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Review, Excerpt & Giveaways: Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

Series: The Great Library #5
Read As a Stand Alone: No
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository  | Google BooksiBooks* | Kobo | * affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts:


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.

It was the first quiet moment he’d had to grab a cup of hot coffee and find some solitude, and so it transpired that Santi sat on the highest steps of the Serapeum, just a few feet below the golden capstone. He watched the foreign navies clustered there. The Portuguese had chosen the northern side, as far from the Spanish fleet as it was possible to be; the English, Welsh, and Japanese fleets made up a solid bulwark in the middle, the Japanese a calming force between the two ancient enemies. A formidable assembly, certainly. And one his troops would have to face, sooner or later, unless a miracle occurred.
My troops. He hadn’t adjusted to it quite yet. He was comfortable as a captain, with knowing the names and faces and skills of every soldier in his command. But this? Lord Commander of the High Garda, responsible not just for taking orders but giving them, not just for fighting the war, but planning it. He did not feel ready. But he thought that every single Lord Commander in history—the good ones, at least—had felt the same on their first day.
Of course, they had not been forced to deal with the dethroning of an Archivist, a possible civil war within the Great Library, and a foreign invasion that could destroy Alexandria completely. It was rather a lot.
And he missed Wolfe’s bright, sharp presence. And that could not happen. Not now. Not in this chaos.
Stay safe, my love, he thought, and he hoped Wolfe was sending the same back.                          
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