Book Title: Smoke and Iron
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #4
Date Started: December 13th 2018
Date Completed: December 16th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Quality Rating: Three Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Four Stars
Final Rating: Three stars
The Great Library series is what I go to when I need an enjoyable, easy read. But I don't say that to talk down to it's quality, there's a lot of progressive and clever stuff that goes into these books. But the reason I sit down and read them - especially this time when I desperately needed something I wouldn't want to put down - is how damn fun they are.
At this, only Jess and Khalila are really achieveing anything. There's a lot of drama and attention all round (which is definitely appreciated) but the actions of most of the other characters are without consequence in the end. It feels like either there's some deus ex machina or they just aren't very effective where they try to be. It's a bit of a shame considering how wonderful all the characters are, but makes the action more streamlined I guess.
I think the different perspectives being split into parts ended up hindering the pace rather than helping it. Since everyone's split up this time, we jump between four simultaneous events in chunks, but for me it made it hard for me to really get into what was happening in each other - every time I started to get close, I was transported somewhere else. Altnernating chapters could've worked better to keep the momentum up but still cover a variety of subplots.
But really, what I care about are the characters. And while some of the relationships got a little confused in this book, it was still a joy to read. Admittedly, after four books you're bound to like most of the characters (otherwise, why bother?), but right since the first time the main characters of The Great Library series stood in Alexandria together there was just a spark. You get so attached to them, so quickly. Their friendships, partnerships, romances galore obviously help highlight their strengths, but even as indivdiuals doing their own thing Caine can break down that barrier between the audience and her fictional world - and that's not an easy thing to do.
I'm pretty sure there's only one book in this series left, which is really sad because, as I said, it's my go-to when I need an enjoyable read. Though Smoke and Iron wasn't as great as the previous books, you can tell it's building up for something really interesting at the conclusion. The characters, who are the real talents, were as engaging as ever and I'm not sure if I can wait however many months for the final installment to come out.