Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine 4.5/5
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…
Thanks go to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
I had this book explained to me as a book about books. What more can a girl want? I wasn’t sure what I expected from this book, but I can hand on heart say that it was so much more and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Caine creates a believable, indepth world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, and a world in which books are seen as priceless historical treasures, all knowledge must be controlled, and a world in which the library is a powerful institute to govern what people read, what are classed as rare or common books, and to enforce the laws that make it illegal for people to collect/ hoard books for personal use. This world sees book smugglers, book burners, librarians, High Garda soldiers, and the mysterious Obscurists with powers that are not divulged to the public.
The story follows Jess and other hopefuls (Postulants) who are being trained for roles within the great library. The characters are well-rounded and diverse, all from different walks of life, and some with questionable family history. Whilst England is at war with Wales, the Postulants have to put their political differences behind them to work as a team to not only survive the wars, but the library itself.
This book fits into a multitude of genres- dystopian, historical fiction, fantasy. Although set in 2025, many aspects are similar to that of an 18th century novel. It was the fantasy side that kept the pages turning for me. What alchemy is used by the Obscurists? What is the source of the abilities they are born with? How do the codexes work?
So many sub-plots and sub-relationships run through this book that one review couldn’t possibly sum it up. I have been offered book two- Paper and Fire from Berkley Publishing Group and can not wait to read part two in this twisted, engaging, innovative tale.
The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties.
All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman
K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review.