Friday, August 10, 2018

Book Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: NAL
Length: 355 pages
Source: Purchased Book/Library Audiobook

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…



Protagonist: Jess Brightwell lives in a world where the Great Library of Alexandria not only stands the test of time but has grown in power as they control the flow of knowledge to the masses. Jess doesn't really want to work for his father as a book smuggler, as owning physical books is illegal in this world, and he doesn't want to take over the family business. So when Jess's father asks him to be a spy for his family within the Library, his father doesn't exactly give him a choice. Now Jess has to pass the Library's tests while not getting found out, but training for service in the Library can be very dangerous as Jess and his class soon find out. I really like Jess, he's a bit headstrong, slightly short-tempered, but he's also loyal and fights for what he thinks is right. His character development over the course of the story feels authentic with the challenges he faces on his journey to become part of the Great Library.

Romance: I actually really liked the romance in this story but it definitely didn't go as I had expected. For a YA book, there is surprisingly little romance, it's very light and innocent. Jess and his love interest are sort of shoved together because of circumstance, and while there are times when I felt the romance was a little forced for sake of convenience to the story, I actually did end up really liking them together, though I hope to see something more from their relationship in future installments.

World Building: So, going into this story all I knew about this world was that it took place in a world where the Great Library of Alexandria survives, I was expecting it to be more of a fantasy, but in fact, it turns out to be more of a dystopian story instead. Still, I was fascinated by a world controlled by the Great Library where owning a physical book is illegal and if you declare war on the library, you’re wiped from existence. One of the fantastic ways this author introduces you to how power hungry the Library is, is through letters between chapters between Library personnel. I was drawn into this world from the beginning, the book smuggling, the Burners, and even some things that we don’t get very much information on in this book, but are more than intriguing enough for me to continue.

Predictability: I will say though that this story is pretty predictable, I felt like all of the twists, save a small few, were spoiled before they were actually revealed because the foreshadowing was so heavy just before the revelation. Also, it’s a good thing I didn’t read the synopsis before starting the book because I feel it gives just a little too much away.

Ending: This story does have a very tense ending. There are moments I experienced such pure emotions, both good and bad, towards and about some of the characters. The final climax isn't exactly an action-packed one, it's more about the tension of the moments without any physical confrontation. It's really great and leads to some amazing twists that will affect the future of this story. This book doesn't exactly leave you on a cliffhanger, but there's so much left unresolved here and I'm actually looking forward to seeing where this series goes.


I really enjoyed this story, I wasn't expecting the dystopian element so that threw me off a little, but I am really intrigued by the world and the power-hungry Library, it can be a tad predictable and the story didn't suck me in as much as I'd like, but I'll be interested to see what happens next.


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