My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the first of Rachel Caine’s novels that I have read – despite her being recommended to me many times.
A re-imagining of what the world might be like if the Great Library of Alexandria had survived and risen up to control the dissemination of knowledge across the globe is what drew me in. Jess Brightwell and the intimate stories of a group of young men and women navigating their way through war, love and brutal tests of their own moral code kept me engrossed in the novel.
I found the settings and the mental picture of the world in which they lived VERY thin – which would be my only disappointment. I wanted more library, more Alexandria, more North Africa. None of that happened. It also at times felt a bit Harry Potter-ish in a sense of stealing very obvious elements of that story line (the train, the elite class of youths going to this sacred place for training, etc), which made me wince a bit. But, I got over it.
What did happen, though, was a particularly striking experience in terms of engaging with characters. The main character, Jess, is honestly not my favourite of the book. Not because he isn’t faced with his own crisis and comes out the other side utterly changed. But, because I found myself thoroughly engaged with Wolfe and Capt. Santi – whom I am hoping are dug into at length in the novels to follow in this series. As their stories were revealed toward the end of the novel I found myself gasping and wanting more. Even as Jess’ story blew up, I found myself almost desperately needing to know more the fate of his teacher.
This was a fast read that I quickly passed off to my tween, who I know will love it. Rachel Caine cannot put the books in this series out fast enough for me. I will be standing in line waiting for the next one as soon as it is available.