Title: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: NAL Pub Date: July 7,2015
Type: YA Historical Fantasy
Content Rating: Normal
Avid Reader Time: 3 hrs total Review Rating:
In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.
When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…
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Ink and Bone was a cover buy. I picked it up because of the gorgeous cover and the synopsis mentioned The Library of Alexandria. (Click the Hyperlink to know more about the library). My first thought that it was set in the time of the The Great Library, instead it’s a what if scenario set in the year of 2025. Ink and Bone is twisty ‘what if’ scenario. The Library of Alexandria didn’t burn. It not only survived but also became an authority in the world. The print press was never created, and books are close to being a divine thing. It is illegal to own a book. (Welp! I’m
screwed) This book is an alternate historical fantasy. It’s a good mix of historical information and fantastical elements. I like the premise, especially in its uniqueness.
“No, Sir, not a blank, filled only with what they want you to read…a real book, an original work,in the hand of the writer? Do you dare,madam? The library owns our memories, yet you can not own your own books!”
It feels kind of episodic, with small actions and resolutions all being interconnected into the big story. Caine weaves the tale so tightly; you can only see it in glimpses. I thought it started off slow, plot-wise and picked up after the first three chapters. But the action was there from the beginning. We meet Jess, and are immediately thrown into the world of book smuggling. Ink and Bone is written bottom up and in third person. So even though we learn about Jess and the world around him. It stays limited to his point of view and his thoughts. I really enjoy this type of point of view.
“You have ink in your blood boy and no help for it. Books will never be just a business to you.”
Jess Brightwell is the main character. He is a clever, book loving boy born to a book smuggling family. He wants nothing to do with the family business, but does help with it to impress his father. Which is what puts in the situation of running the trials to be get selected to work at the library. Jess is likeable and easy to root for. He ends being used and dropped into situations he is not really equipped to handle. But he is good at surviving. Even when the love interest is added, he never loses his focus, and ability to calculate his way out of situations. The secondary characters were interesting, but only a few were actually fleshed out. I loved the interactions and relationship between Scholar Wolfe and Captain Santi. I actually figured out their relationship before the main character did. I thought it was obvious. (But I read fanfiction J)
“Tota Est Scientia –Knowledge is All”
The whole “Knowledge is all” is the root of the plot and problem in this book. The library placed knowledge above lives and everything. Private acquisition of books was a death sentence. If you make something illegal there will always be someone to rise up against it. In the book, this came as book smugglers, book burners and even creepy Ink-Lickers. I loved all the different opposition, and how the characters interacted with them.
“The truth is what the library wanted it to be”
I adored this book and its characters. Caine did a great job in creating a new and fresh world. Secondary characters fell a little flat, but the main character was developed. I expected more alchemy from the synopsis, then there actually was. But it doesn’t detract from the world. I would like to know more about the obscurists and the alchemy used in the world. Hopefully, in the sequel! Ink and Bone was entertaining and action packed. Between book burners, creepy ink-lickers and a library militia, the library was made scary. Four of Five stars. I enjoyed it.
Extra Content: The author included a song list in the back for the music that she listened to during writing. I put them into a YouTube playlist for you to check out. Remember if you like the song support the artist and buy the song, don’t just download!!