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I have loved this series since I first read Ink and Bone, and with this book, the series comes to a satisfying conclusion. It is by turns heartwarming, exciting, fascinating, and heartbreaking, and I could not put it down.
Anyone who has read the first four books in the series will know just how relentless the pace can be, and this book drives our characters even harder than before. Things happen quickly, with little rest between moments of intense action. The new Library is fighting a war on several fronts, and the book does not shy away from the devastation that comes with that. Blood is spilled. There are tough decisions for everyone to make. Characters die, including one very significant one.
But there are also some very uplifting emotional moments. We get to see how deep of bonds have formed between the main characters. There is a lot of emphasis on the adoptive family relationships that have developed between Wolfe, Santi, and the kids, and we get to see just how much they all have come to care about each other. Romance is a bit more sidelined in this one, which makes sense. They're fighting a war, which doesn't leave much time for kissing. I am admittedly a bit unhappy with the way things went for one couple, but although it was unexpected, the development was understandable, considering the situation they find themselves in.
The ending was very satisfying, although a significant death makes it bittersweet. It doesn't wrap up every single thread, but I wouldn't want it to. It doesn't come without cost, but too neat and easy of a solution wouldn't have done it justice. The main conflict is resolved, and we are left on a hopeful note, looking toward the future of the new Library. As someone who greatly disliked the Harry Potter epilogue, I was happy that the end point leaves our characters open to any further adventures we might imagine them having.
If you've been following this series, you will definitely want to be here for the grand finale. If you haven't, go pick up Ink and Bone so you can fall in love with this beautiful dystopian alternate history and the diverse group of kids and their mentors working to overthrow the corrupt power structure.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for this review. I also had the book preordered because I love this series so much. Really, read it!
I’m so torn about this book but probably not for the reason you think! I am so sad that the series is over, but so happy I got to read every page of it.
I’m always nervous picking up a book in a series after a break in reading earlier books. I worry that I won’t like it as much as I liked earlier books or that I’ll be confused about what’s going on because I’ve forgotten too many things.
Rachel Caine handled both of these concerns like the expert she is in SWORD AND PEN. From the first page, I fell straight back in love with Jess and his friends and the amazing story world of Alexandria and the Great Library. I felt like reminders about who people were and what had been happening where SMOKE AND IRON (book 4) left off were organically woven into the narrative without stealing any attention away from the current tension.
The Great Library is one of my favorite series. It’s one of a very few series longer than three books that I’ve actually managed to stick with– and really, I couldn’t help it! I love the characters so much– Khalila and Dario, Thomas and Glain, Santi and Wolfe, I love them all. Each one is so different, so well-imagined that they feel real. As soon as I start reading a section, I know exactly whose POV I’m in, and I love when authors write like that.
SWORD AND PEN is every bit the conclusion I was hoping for in terms of its intensity. I won’t promise you’ll love every minute– there are some sad moments that really smack you in places that hurt. But it wouldn’t be such a powerful story without those, either. And for the most part, even those sad moments felt right to me.
The Great Library is one of those series you really need to read from the beginning, so don’t start with SWORD AND PEN. Besides, the first book, INK AND BONE is fantastic and well worth the time to read.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. (Then I bought a finished copy because it's awesome.)
I'm really happy with this strong ending to a great series.
Like the rest of the series, it is thought provoking. It's the kind of series you recommend to a friend so you can discuss it with them. The whole world is built well around the institution of the library and what it means to control knowledge and communication.
The main characters are heroic in their ways. Some of them are very open and honest, others are more duplicitous. It's a coming of age in some ways too, and a love story. My favorite kind of love story, where some of the story is about romantic love, but it's also about other kinds of love too.
This was the rich ending the series deserved, and it was well-paced. It does feel like there is more philosophical musing in this book, but that fit the story too.
Definitely not a standalone. Start at the beginning.
Sword and Pen, the fifth and final book in the The Great Library, is one of the best finales to a series I've read. Everything that occurred in the first four books culminates in the fight for control of the Great Library and the fate of Scholar Wolfe and his battle-worn friends. This book was one heck of a ride that was impossible to put down. I won't post much here because it would be chock full of spoilers. All I'll say is the ending was unexpected but true to the characters. I couldn't put it down! This ranks as one of my favorite series and I know I'll be rereading it many times in the future.
The spellbinding, action pact conclusion to this epic fantasy tale was as unforgettable as I had hoped for and at the same time more than I bargained for. The author took a young group of people full of expectations that we wholly their own and broke them down to their basest self and created a powerful force to be reckoned with. Side by side they will fight for the future of the Library and all it stands for until their last breath, against insurmountable odds and enemies in their midsts. I am sad to see it end at the same time it's a relief to have it reach its conclusion. This story will always have a cherished spot on my bookshelf and I hope to share it with my children. Thank you so much to the author for another epic tale that has taken me places I could never have dreamed of!
What a magnificent end to a fantastic series. I'm writing this with tears on my cheeks. These are characters that will stick with you in a world just slightly more fantastic than our own. If you love books, really love books, then this is a must read story.
The Great Library series is one of the best series of books I've read in a very long time. So well thought out and researched... the world building is as wonderful as the characters. There is sadness, happiness, love, hate, loyalty and betrayal. It has it all! Go, read the series! But be prepared for a wild ride and lots of action. Especially in this last book.
I started out looking for a book I had NOT yet read, and tried a sample of the The Great Library Book 1. I binge read through them all!!! Something so different than the norm- and I love it. There were times where the story brought me to tears, and times where it made me smile so big to myself. I wish this story continued on forever, I feel so close and connected to the characters, it is bittersweet to know there are no more books.
SPOILER: Happy conclusion to this great series! I’m always sorry to end a series and approach it with fear that my favorite characters won’t make it. In this series they did, if only by the skin of their teeth. But surviving is still surviving!
Loved the idea and the history. I am a true history fan, as well as Science Fiction/Fantasy. In this series you have both. As well as the hubris of all powerful men who think it is their way, or the highway.