Ink and Bone
Series: The Great Library #1
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, YA
Publication date: July 7th, 2015
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…
-A copy was provided by NAL for review-
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.