In a 1920s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force; fedoras, flapper dresses, and tommy guns are in fashion: and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon political contest. It seems a young Librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can’t extricate him, there could be serious repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.
Irene and Kai are locked in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They’ll face gangsters, blackmail, and the Library’s own Internal Affairs department. And if it doesn’t end well, it could have dire consequences on Irene’s job. And, incidentally, on her life…
This book was on all of my anticipated books lists of 2018 last year but I just lost track of it among all the other hyped novels, but I’m so glad I finally got the chance to get to it. Though I didn’t plan this as part of my Five Star Readathon, I thought this would be a perfect book for the “Old Anticipated Book” challenge and it did not disappoint.
It’s so much fun to see Irene in her element again. She is so calm, cool, collected and resourceful – it’s just damn impressive. Her quick thinking in extremely tricky situations is always a delight to read and I love how she takes charge and everyone automatically listens to her, because she is just that assertive. Despite getting into all kinds of trouble, there is never any question that she is loyal to the Library but I admire that she still tries to make sure there is as less collateral damage as possible. But in this book, we also see a vulnerable side to her, especially when she sees the destruction of an entire library in Boston or while she is struggling with PTSD from the fiery ending of The Burning Page. It was nice to see that despite her confident persona, she is still human.
While the original trilogy was mostly about Irene and Kai trying to steal books and simultaneously dodging the all powerful rogue Librarian, this book finally gives us a better insight into the dragons – how their worlds and courts work, the various rulers and their politics and how best to deal with them. Pitting Irene against two competing dragon lords made for a very exciting story, because I really wanted to see how she was going to outmanuever them all. The setting of the story in 1920s Jazz and Prohibition Era America was a masterstroke – I love the descriptions of Boston and New York and the style and culture of the people. Having dragons, fae and librarians mixed up with police and gangsters made the whole ride quite thrilling. And I have to mention, Irene makes for an excellent badass mob boss.
Irene’s relationship with Kai also goes through a lot in this book. Her struggle to remain neutral and not favor the dragons, while also finally acknowledging that she did indeed care for him was done really well. After all that happened in the first trilogy, I thought we would never see their relationship progress beyond friendship, but was I glad to be dismissed of that notion. This is one of the slowest burn ships you will ever read and I have to give it to the author that even now, at the end of the fourth book, she only gives us a possibility but no confirmation. I really hope we’ll see more progress on that in the next installment. I really did miss Vale a lot in this book and I wish the 5th book will have more of the three of them.
This is an excellent series of books that any avid reader in love with the written word and a penchant for adventure will enjoy. And I’m even more excited because I got approved for the ARC of the next installment The Mortal Word and I’m ready for some more adventures.