This is the first Rachel Caine novel that I've picked up, and also my first review on Paper Boulevard, so lots of firsts (on second though, perhaps two does not qualify as "lots", but I digress). Let's do this thing.
Jess took time to grow on me, but I found myself enjoying the cast of characters introduced once he got to Alexandria. Candidate Librarians of the Great Library come from all over the world, and are narrowed down from there, so the novel started off with a fairly broad cast of characters, and was narrowed down to focus on a few of them fairly quickly. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book.
A lot happens in the plot. We see Jess being sent by his family of pretty ruthless black market book sellers to the Library, his grueling training experience, including his first (somewhat unexpected) mission. With so much going on, and the new friendship Jess forms, the romance felt, honestly, rushed and unnecessary. It just didn't feel like there was an actual connection between them, and I can't quite put my finger on why.
I had mixed feelings about the world- on one hand I enjoyed it, on the other, I felt like there were unanswered questions. I imagine some of these will be answered in future novels, but some of the underlying aspects of the world still aren't entirely clear to me. If the Library took over during the time of Ancient Greece, how is the English language dominant, for one thing? How did the Library control effect how the world developed, aside from the obvious? Those questions aside, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this world, and I'm hoping to learn more about how the somewhat magical element works.
Overall, despite some elements that didn't work for me, I still enjoyed this novel, and I'm likely to pick up the sequel when it comes out, with hopes that some of my questions will be answered.