Smoke and Iron – Rachel Caine – Review
Jess and friends are in trouble. They are separated. There is a plan but what will be the cost of that plan? Can a small group take on the might of the Library? Who will survive and what will their world look like after?
(This is a review for the fourth book in a series, thus there will be spoilers for the previous 3 books).
All of the books of the Great Library series up until this point have been from Jess’s point of view. We have seen everything through his eyes so we get a limited look at what is going on around us. We get his opinion but we aren’t sure what everyone else is feeling. We have an idea but nothing concrete.
In this book we got multiple POV’s and I loved it. We got to see the story not only from Jess’s eyes but from Morgan, Wolfe and Khalila as well. (We also got a few moments from Thomas and Santi too). I loved this addition.
It is kind of odd to do something like this 4 books into a series but I think it really opened up the story. In this book specifically the group is split up for quite a while. If we only got Jess’s portion it would have seemed boring and a bit annoying. So much would have happened without our knowledge. It would have seemed forced and pushed.
I liked this addition not only because it helped make the story feel more connected but also because we got closer to some of the characters. I have always like Wolfe’s character. I think he is interesting because he has a past and a present that are so different. He has been tortured but still finds a way to move forward. He loves with his whole heart but still can hold grudges and anger. In this book we actually got to see his true depth and it made his character even better.
Khalila was always interesting to me but she never held my attention fully. I liked her but wasn’t attached. In this book I became attached to her. She is strong. She is no-nonsense. She is loyal and I want her to end up at the one who takes over. She is the perfect leader. I found myself actually caring about her in this book.
While this book did a lot set up again it did leave me anxious for the end of the series. I know there is going to be a serious fight. I just hope it all pays off like I want it to. I also hope we don’t lose too many of the characters.
I enjoy these books but one of the problems with them is the fact that I feel like they are always spinning their wheels. I understand why this book was full of set up, it had to be to get us to the end. Though I do think this one could have been combined with the last book.
I think this series would have been fine as a 3 book series. I think some of the going back and forth could have been cut and given us a bit more action. I think cutting some of the random wanderings would have upped the anticipation aspect of the story. We would have gotten a more urgent feel from this story.
The end of this book was so quick. There was a lot of lead up to the moment and it was all over very fast. Again I think if it was the half way point that lead into the finale I would have found it more satisfying. Instead I felt a bit let down and now I have to wait for the next book, losing all that momentum I had from that moment.
There is one point in the book where Morgan is doubting her love for Jess. She talks about how she know she loves him but doesn’t know if she is in love with him. I liked her hesitation at this point. I felt like it was going in an interesting direction. I thought we would see her struggling with the idea of loving someone but not being in love.
I thought maybe she was even aromantic in some manner. I thought it was interesting to see her discovering this part of herself but the end crushed that idea. She realizes she loves him, which is fine. This isn’t an insta-love scenario, it was developed over 4 books. I just thought it would be more interesting to see a character struggling with a bigger concept in the midst of the other battles they are dealing with.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed it. I am anxious for the end. I just wished it was a bit tighter and left my heart racing a bit more.
“Power rotted from within.” – (pg. 18)
“Tyrants turned on their own, in the end; it was the only way to keep power.” (pg. 89)
“That denying knowledge to others was a tactic of war.” (pg. 191)
“Freedom doesn’t mean you have to leave. It means you choose. It isn’t done for you.” (pg. 246)