by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #1
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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 he 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.…
Amazing world-building, brilliant characters and an overall tone of suspense throughout made Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine a thrilling read. This is the first book in the Great Library series and this dystopian fantasy delivers in spades.
Five Caffeinated reasons to add Ink and Bone to your summer reading list
- Let us start with the world building and Caine’s impressive imagery. From London to Alexandria the world came to life in vivid Three-D. Caine did an excellent job through notes, characters and descriptions of explaining this future world. The concept alone gave me chills. Unlike, other dystopian novels whose society’s downfall was a virus or war, knowledge was the catalysts here and thus the Great Library was formed. Knowledge is infectious and must be controlled and contained. Eek gads is that not scary? Wait, it gets worse. In fact, you may want to sit down. Owning a book is illegal! Friends we are all going to jail!!! I should point out that the library provides folks with a blank. A Blank is a piece of technology that allows them to view approved works and recommended reading. The world is filled with those who resist creating conflict, danger and some of the most intense action scenes. I drool just imagining this novel as a major motion picture; the special effects would be phenomenal.
- Gadgets and magic fill the pages in Caine’s world. From teleports to automations and it is riddled with alchemy. Ink and Blood has been compared to Harry Potter and the Book Thief. Surprisingly they were not too far off the mark. Fans will have “ah ha” moments, but Ink and Bone holds its own. The automations, Blanks, weapons, archives and transportation were both fascinating and brilliantly described.
- Caine’s cast of characters will draw you in. Delivered in third person limited, Caine shares the tale through our protagonist Jess Brightwell. Jess’s family works in the black market selling illegally obtained books. Jess loves books and as a book lover, many of his feelings and actions endeared him to me. He is strong, compassionate and quite clever. He has street smarts making him the perfect hero. When he first arrives for training at the Library, there are twenty-one students but six of them you will come to know and love even if they occasionally annoy you. Jess meets Thomas on the train and the two become fast friends. Thomas is a tinkerer and I liked this soft-spoken clever young man. His passion is engineering. I loved some of his creations. Dario, Jess’s roommate reminded me of Malfoy from Harry Potter. A jerk to be sure but the banter between these roomies added some fun to another wise intent plot. Glain, is a strong, outspoken Welsh girl. She is a bit awkward and not to be messed with. Khalila, comes from privilege and is perhaps the most intelligent of the group. (Hermione anyone) Morgan is our Luna Lovegood. She arrives late and is quite mysterious. Scholar Wolfe their teacher is cold and stern. I absolutely adored Wolfe. I imagined him as Professor Snape from his personality to what lies beneath the surface. Last but certainly not least is Captain Santi. He guards both Wolfe and the students.
- For those who need romance, we do see several develop and one that might surprise you. All of these developments remained in the background, but served to connect us to the characters and them to each other. I loved how the characters interacted from being competitive to working as a team and finally to becoming inseparable friends.
- Ink and Bone had a wonderful pacing as Caine allowed the world to unravel before us. The tale ebbed and flowed between character interactions and intense action scenes. She quickly drew me in to the world and had me vested. Foreshadowing and connections were perfectly executed allowing for “I knew it moments” and outbursts from me the reader as I tried to warn the characters. The balanced plot rewards the reader giving them details, well-developed action scenes and characters they will not soon forget. The tale wrapped up fairly well and we have a strong sense of where this series will be headed.
Caine created a world and characters that I cannot wait to visit again. Ink and Bone was brilliant and a rewarding read. I would place it in the same shelf with other beloved YA Dystopian and fantasy such as Red Rising, Heir of Fire and An Ember in the Ashes.