Tag Archives: Alexandria

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.

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!

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.

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