Monday, July 13, 2015

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink & Bone 
by Rachel Caine
Read: June 25 - July 5, 2015
Published:  July 7, 2015 by NAL
Source: Netgalley (Thank you Penguin!)

Series: The Great Library #1
Category: YA, fantasy, libraries, alchemy 

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.…

*Ignore the last paragraph of this book description. It's not accurate. 

I'm not always sure why some books are 'fast paced' and others are not, although I thought about that question a lot while reading Ink and Bone  This is a story that I would not consider to be a quick read, though it is one that is absorbing and a recent favorite. I read it while on vacation when I didn't have a ton of time for sitting, but still it took me over a week to read, which is unusual for me. I'm not exactly sure why that was, but I definitely don't regret the time I took to experience Jess's world and this story.

I love libraries - what reader doesn't? - and I was fascinated by the setup of a story where it is a Library that runs the world instead of governments and politics. Especially, the legendary Great Library of Alexandria, which has survived in Ink and Bone's version of the world, and then proceeded to spread it's influence everywhere. This setting is richly developed and this story engaging. But there is also a darker, frightening aspect to the Library that increased the tension. The stakes are high and narrator Jess learns that the danger to him and his fellow students is very real. 

Jess Brightwell's family are book smugglers, a highly illegal and highly secretive black market trade in a world controlled by a master Library. It has not been easy for Jess to grow up in the business - or as his father's son, though it has put him in contact with rare original copies of books that he has learned to treasure. When Jess's father sends him to train for the Great Library's service - as a spy for the family - Jess is thrilled to escape his family (at least immediately) and get closer to this organization and especially the books. But working for the Library is not what Jess anticipated and he learns that those who control it will do anything to keep a hold of the knowledge and power they've obtained.    

I became quite attached to Jess throughout this story. He goes from a difficult home life to a difficult school life without much of a break, and there was a strong undercurrent of danger that followed him through these pages. But he does grow up, experience love and make some great friends and allies along the way. I enjoyed Jess's companions in this story so much - especially the different relationships between him and Khalia, Thomas, Morgan and Dario. Jess has a twin named Brendan, who plays a minor roll in this story that I'm hoping is going to grow in future books. Brendan and Jess have an interesting dynamic and seeing that explored further is one of the elements I'm most looking forward going forward.  

This story has a romance that is slow and sweet, but also fraught with tension that makes it even stronger. It doesn't begin until partway into the story, but I was very excited when it did - and also whom it was with. I'm very anxious to see more if it, and I think it will play an important part of the next installment. So far there are zero love triangles, and I don't anticipate there being any (crosses fingers)!!

Obscurists and alchemy are a key aspect of how the Library keeps their control. However, I never really grasped alchemy as it is in this book. Or rather, to me it seemed like it was basically magic created through energy and mathematical formulas. Maybe that's the point? But I don't understand why some people are Obscurists and other's aren't. I'm curious to learn more about this part of the Library in the future, and I have a good feeling we will.

I wouldn't consider the end of Ink and Bone to be a traditional cliffhanger, in that no one is in immediate danger and this section of the tale completes itself. However, all of the characters are in danger in the future. Let's just say the terror alert level is High, though no one knows when the threat will strike next. The story also sets up situations for future books, and left a bit anxious. Though I should have expected it, because endings like this are par-for-the-course in series these days. 

In conclusion, I definitely recommend Ink and Bone. Jess's world with the Great Library at the center of it was richly developed and this story engaging and fascinating, but also eerie and frightening. I can't wait to find out what's next for Jess and his friends. 

Love Triangle Factor: None 
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium 


  1. YAY I'm so glad you loved this one, Lauren! I'm glad it did not disappoint :) I cannot wait to read the next book!!!!

    Fabulous review! <3

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  2. I've heard really mixed things about this one so I'm glad to see a positive review finally! It sounds really excellent and I definitely want to give it a read. Great review, Lauren!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  3. I'm looking forward to reading this one, but I have heard it's a bit slow. Good to know that going in so I can read it when I'm in that mood. I've actually heard different things about the romance…some say slow, others say insta-love. How funny that people have such different views about that! Great review, glad you enjoyed it. ~Pam

  4. I've been hearing SO MANY good things about Ink and Bone and several people I know said it's a favorite which is why I am so excited to read this one! I snagged a copy a while ago but as usual, I am intimidated and continue putting it off. I NEED TO FIX THIS.

    I am so excited to meet Jess and his friends and to see a world where the Great Library of Alexandria still exists (and just happens to control the world :P)

    Lovely review, Lauren!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  5. I definitely want to read this one! I plan on getting it soon. I love that it's about books, and the story itself sounds super interesting. *crosses fingers tightly for no triangle*

  6. Gorgeous review Lauren :D I'm so happy that you enjoyed this one! <3 I have heard some awesome things about it lately. I'm getting curious :) And now you are making it sound amazing too. Hmph. I want it, lol :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this one sweetie. <3

  7. I wouldn't consider this one a fast paced either -- it took me a long time to finish, which is definitely unusual for me. But it was good and, yeah, I got attached to Jess (boy, I really wanted his family to just leave him alone!).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...