Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
by Rachel Caine
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…
4 of 5 Stars
I was first interested in this book because it’s a story about a huge library and of course, books. It took me a little while to get fully interested in the story but once I did I was hooked. The beginning is a little slow and full of a lot of world building. Sprinkled through this are some tense action scenes which I really appreciated. Part of what kept me reading was my instant empathy for Jess regarding his relationship with his family. Both is brother and father are iffy characters that infuriated me as the story progressed. It would be really interesting to get a novella from either of these characters perspectives to really figure out what makes them behave the way they do. The story explains it but it’s all from the point of view of Jess and I’m sure something’s going on that he’s not fully aware of.
As Jess goes into training we are introduced to a host of new characters whom I was a little nervous to get close to. As expected, in the end, this book did break my heart and make me cry. That said, it wasn’t in ways that I expected. I grew to really admire characters that in the beginning, I’d almost hated.
The part that didn’t ever make complete sense to me was how commoners weren’t allowed to have original books. I understood the concept of controlling all open sources of information but still found it a bit confusing. The second book in this series is already available and the third is due for publication in July this coming year. I’d recommend this book to any book lover as the major theme of the story surrounds the book culture. Fans of dystopia, steampunk, and young adult fantasy will also most likely enjoy this title.