About Ash and Quill
Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny….
Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.
Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library.
I’ve been waiting for this book since the moment I finished Paper and Fire last summer. In fact, two of my friends, who have also gotten hooked on the series have been bugging me about when this book finally releases. I thought it would be the series conclusion, so a small part of me dreaded picking it up, because it’s like the countdown to the end, you know? But. It’s not the end!
So I’m back on the roller coaster of nail biting and eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, which feels like it might really truly be the end?? Eee! (Update– I just checked Goodreads. Looks like there will be a book four and five. So there’s still lots to come.)
Anyway. In terms of plot, so much happens in this book. Our heroes land in Philadelphia, at the mercy of Book Burners, sworn enemies of the Library, who figure our guys are probably best killed quickly since rations and supplies are pretty scarce. So Jess and his friends work fast to convince the leaders of their value, hoping to buy enough time to manage an escape.
Surprisingly, I think Thomas pretty much stole my heart in this book. He’s not the most central character, but he’s so much deeper and more complex than the cheerful, brilliant engineer from the first book. Jess thinks he’s being all sneaky and Thomas surprises even him. So great!
Ash and Quill had more violence than I remember the other books having. More than one character faces death. The Library and the Book Burners use Greek fire in battles and the casualties run pretty high, especially for civilians. This disturbs Jess and his team, but there really isn’t much they can do, though they try to help everyone they can.
Definitely don’t start the series with this book. So much is happening and so many relationships have complicated history, you definitely want the benefit of the first two books before you pick this one up. No worries, though. They’re both totally worth it. You can read my review of book one, Ink and Bone here. My review of the second book, Paper and Fire is here.
Santi and Wolfe (two men) are gay and in a relationship together. Khalila is from the Middle East. Dario is Spanish.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some references to profanity. For instance, Jess hears Thomas say something in German he assumes is swearing.
The team witnesses two girls kissing intimately while they’re on their way somewhere. One kiss between Wolfe and Santi. Jess and Morgan kiss multiple times, and lie down next to each other. It’s hinted that they have sex, but no details.
Lots of references to Christian belief and culture—seems like that’s a big part of the Library culture. Wolfe himself is a pagan and mentions the idea that if he and Santi die, their ideas of afterlife (as Santi is a Christian) are different. Khalila takes time to observe her Muslim faith and pray.
Some pretty intense battles, mostly between the Library forces and the Book Burners. Some people get burned and killed. Thomas makes a laser weapon. Jess shoots an adversary. Some descriptions get pretty intense.
References to drinking wine.