I really like this series. Like really, really, like it. Partially because it has to do with books, but also because the second book was as good as the first one. I was a bit hesitant to pick this one up after the debacle that was Iron Gold because the last thing I needed was yet another series that was ruined by there being one book too many, but I needn't have worried. This book was amazing. It had a ton of action, it was interesting, and I didn't find myself despising any of the characters. It also had a plot that was a continuation of the plot of the first book but not a carbon copy so... bonus points!
Jess is still one of my favorite male protagonists that I've read recently. I know I mentioned in my previous review of Ink and Bone that he's extremely easy to connect to because of the fact that his reaction to learning more about the Great Library is, in my opinion, more realistic than a lot of the protagonists out there. He mentions quite frequently in these books that he sees why the Great Library is doing what they are doing, but that he hates how they are doing. Some of this agree with, some of this I don't, but the important thing is it makes you feel like Jess is an actual person, versus one of those Special Snowflake characters that can't stop mentioning how they knew something was wrong with the government, and why wouldn't anybody listen?
Something I really loved about this book is that there was only a little romance involved. I think it's fairly obvious from reading any of my reviews that romance and I are not the best of friends, but I honestly am not a huge fan of the Morgan and Jess dynamic since I feel like it falls into the cliché trap where the main character always falls in love with the powerful yet tormented love interest. I don't like romance in the best scenarios, but when you start dragging clichés into it... I will be finding the nearest exit. I'm also not a fact of the fact that the main characters keep pairing off into romance pairs, but... that's a different rant. Anyway, I really thought that the lack of romance allowed us to focus more on Jess, and what he's learning about the Great Library (like the Black Archives), as well as different aspects of the world.
Which brings me to world building, and the fact that I love it. Caine does such a great job of building a world that is foreign enough to be interesting and attractive, yet close enough to ours that we can see certain parts of ourselves in it. I'm also a huge fan of the automata and the question that was brought up in this book concerning their ability to "think" for themselves, since it seemed to reference the currently development of AI in today's society. I can't say that I would want to live in this world, for obvious reasons, but it is insanely interesting to read about and keeps me hooked even when I start to get irritated with the little bit of romance present.
I can't wait for the rest of the series (I think the 4th one comes out in July?), because I really do love this series.
If you wish to purchase a copy of this book, it is available on Amazon here.
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