The Great Library has controlled the flow of knowledge to all of the lands for centuries. Now, however, the library faces its greatest threat, one that may bring their tyranny to an end.
Jess Brightwell and his friends survived Rome and London to wind up in Philadelphia, a city held by Burners, people who would rather burn books than be controlled by the library. For 100 years the entire city of Philadelphia has been controlled by the burners. When Jess and his friends arrive they are taken prisoner, their only bargaining chip being the books that they brought with them and a promise to build Thomas’ machine, a tool that would bring the library to its knees.
Once the machine is finished their usefulness to the burners will be over. Now Jess and the others will have to come up with a plan to make it out of Philadelphia alive. They will also have to decide how far they are willing to go to stop the library and return it to its original purpose. Will they choose to continue fighting, risking their lives and the lives of those they love, or will they spend the rest of their lives running and hiding?
The main idea behind these novels has persisted and is what originally drew me to them. Knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have the more powerful you are. When a library hoards the knowledge and controls what a person can read and learn, then the library controls the people. That is their power. Censorship at its heart.
The writing is complex, but not overtly so, as well as well structured. It followed the previous novels and I have no doubt will continue into the next installment.
The action starts from page one. I had to remind myself how the second book ended in order to understand what they were doing in Philadelphia and how they got there. The settings are rich with detail and descriptive narrative that helps the reader to form the images in the mind’s eye.
I found Jess to be more devious and cunning than I remember him being. Where some may feel that this detracts something from the other characters, or even Jess himself, I found it to be realistic due to the kind of upbringing that Jess had. I also feel that it helps us to better understand his character.
The ending of this novel surprised me completely. I thought that this was the last novel in the series and I am so thankful that it isn’t because the ending upset me so much. I enjoyed the ending, however, I did not see it coming and am anxious to see where it leads. I have to find out what happens next.
I really enjoyed this novel and would encourage anyone who read the first two novels to read this installment as well.
I borrowed a copy of this novel from my local library and have permission from the publishers and Penguin Random House to use an image of the cover artwork above.
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