Review: Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen (Great Library #5)
Rachel Caine
Berkley Books
Published September 3, 2019

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About Sword and Pen

With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

Sword and Pen on Goodreads

My Review

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. Check out my review of INK AND BONE and then fall in love with the whole series with me!

Sword and Pen on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 15 up.

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
Extreme profanity used very briefly.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between girl and boy. Two men are lovers (we don’t see anything but longing exchanged between them). One boy and girl have a suggestive conversation about sex, but end up parting ways without any further exchange.

Spiritual Content
Some Egyptian and Greek gods are represented in the story, and some characters are devoted followers of the gods. Others are Catholic or Muslim. The story treats all faiths equally.

Violent Content
Battles between humans and automata (liquid metal robots that look like gods, mythic creatures or lions). Battles between soldiers involving guns and swords. Situations of peril and graphic descriptions of grave injuries. References to torture.

Drug Content 
Some reference to drinking alcohol.

Note: This post contains affiliate links which cost you nothing but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of SWORD AND PEN in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

  1. Victor Kimani says:

    I’d say that this book had me torn up inside especially on wanting to read the next one (you see I kind of binge read the whole series in a month but alas it was the last of the series,) and just dropping the book on account of hitting those soft spots in my heart. The ending was just as bit as cruel as I wanted it to be and as the plot needed it to be but as for the way they ended the relationships it broke my little black heart to pieces but they did hint on another relationship which made my heart light up completely. So on whole it was perfect just the way the series needed it to be heart-wrenching and warming at the same time, I’d give it a 9.7 accompanied with a standing ovation.

    • I can totally understand binge reading this series! I read them one at a time and was on pins and needles waiting for the next book release. I think I know what you mean about the ending. There were definitely things that didn’t happen the way I expected/wanted. But like you, overall, I still loved it and understood why it happened like it did. So glad to get to talk about the series with another fan!! Thank you. 😀