Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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I received this book for free from NAL in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel CaineInk and Bone by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #1
Published by NAL on July 7th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, YA
Source: NAL
Buy on Amazon

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…

I am a bookworm (hopefully there are no doubts about that) so a book that featured an evil library definitely got my attention. Ink and Bone also had a lot of hype surrounding it and some of my most-trusted peeps loved it. When I finally dove in, I was expecting my mind to be blown and it wasn’t necessarily blown but there is just something about this book. It’s really really slow but it is also really fucking amazing.

If you love fascinating villains, this book is for you. The Library is the villain here. The library essentially controls the world so there is definite dystopic quality to this book but don’t be turned off by that if dystopias aren’t your thing. The library isn’t some mindlessly evil villain. The library is proof of what happens when fantastic ideas go down the gutter because of corruption. It isn’t the library that is bad but the corrupt officials who don’t want change. Who enjoy the power and love the control. They are what has changed the library from the great idea it was to something more evil. the point of all my rambling is that this book isn’t black and white about it’s bad guys. Everything is complex and intricately developed. Also, I totally got 1984 vibes from the library because they are so aware of everything you do. Nothing is a secret. Not even your innermost thoughts. It’s creepy.

The characters are also pretty great. Jess was such an adorable and relatable MC and his love for books called out to me. I loved Khalifa for being such a smarty-pants and Wolfe was my one true love. ALSO lots of shippy-feels in this one. Not going to disclose my fav ship because they don’t come up until later but they made me want to curl up in a ball because they were so cute.

There is *some* diversity in this book but I am actually really sad about the lack of people of color in this one. Khalifa is a POC and Dario is Spanish but this book is set in Alexandria so I wanted there to be more POC. And maybe the setting to be explored a little bit more? I LOVE how the library is set up and this book is about introducing us to the system, but it would have been so cool if we got to step outside and experience Alexandria and Egypt (I really want to go to Egypt someday so I would have loved to live vicariously through the characters.)

My other qualm was the general slowness of the book. I am a fairly quick reader and this book isn’t very long but it is SLOW. Not slow in the sense that nothing is happening  either, the book just drags for some reason I am not sure about. I wanted to devour this book in one go but ended up taking 3 days to read it! THAT IS INSANE for me. If it hadn’t taken me so long to read the book, I might have loved it even more than I do right now.

This is an amazing book, but one I would recommend with caution because it isn’t just a book you can pick up and breeze through. You have to be in the mood to read this book and willing to put in the effort to read it. It is amazing and worth it in the end, though, so you should definitely check it out if evil libraries that have secret depths are your thing.


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Rashika has been tired since 2013. There are very few things that spark joy for her besides a nice cup of tea, warm, baked goods, good books and good TV shows. She is here to pile onto your giant TBRs and to-watch lists. Offer her a cookie and she might be nice to you.

14 Responses to “Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine”

  1. Nick @ Nick & Nereyda's Infinite Booklist

    This is one book I really want to get to next year because hello? Library! I find it strange that a book set in Alexandria doesn’t have many POCs. That’s just strange. I’ll have to keep what you said about the slowness of the book in mind. I’m glad that overall this was a great read!
    Wonderful review, Rashika!

    • Rashika

      RIGHT? We’re in Alexandria for crying out loud, so why are most of the characters white? *shakes head* I know a lot of other people have felt similarly about the slowness of the book but hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the book in spite of it 😀

  2. Mackenzie

    I loved this book. I picked it up on a whim because of the Library idea!

    I agree with the diversity issue. There were times I completely forgot it took place in Alexandria. I kept thinking they were in England the whole time.

    The plot dragged but I. Just. Couldn’t. Stop. Reading. I can’t wait to see where this goes!!

    • Rashika

      RIGHT?! Same! I wouldn’t have known it was taking place in Alexandria if I hadn’t been told so *sighs*

      SAME. I bet this series is going to turn into something amazing.

  3. Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    I’d never heard of this one, but it sounds fascinating. I love when books have a library focus, and an evil library is ten times more appealing. I’m sorry this one dragged so much to you, but if the characters are as wonderful as you say, I definitely want to read this one. Thanks for the lovely review!

    • Rashika

      RIGHT?! Who doesn’t want to read a book about an evil library?! This book was definitely worth it even if it was slow so I REALLY hope you love it, Lefty!!

      Thanks so much 🙂

  4. Suzanne

    I’m just over half way through Ink and Bone. I bought it purely on the strength of 1 review. I’ve not really read any YA fantasy before, but this one really appealed to me. I’m loving it.

  5. Jen @ The Bookavid

    I’ve been into this the second I heard about the release date. I just love love love love the premise and I’m very glad it’s living up to the hype. I haven’t read anything by her before and I’m excited to finally give this a shot.