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I Belong

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and BoneTitle: Ink and Bone

Author: Rachel Caine

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: The Great Library (Book #1)

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 045147239X (NAL/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0451472397 (NAL/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Zed


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.…

Quick & Dirty: A fantastic start to a promising series.

Opening Sentence: ”Hold still and stop fighting me,” his father said, and slapped him hard enough to leave a mark.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Since reading Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series, I have been a huge fan of hers. So I was super excited, and a leeetle apprehensive when I received an ARC of the first in a new series; The Great Library. Let me clear all those doubts away because Caine is here for the long haul!

There are three parts to learning: information, knowledge, and wisdom. A mere accumulation of information is not knowledge, and a treasure of knowledge is not, in itself, wisdom. 

This first book has the perfect mix of background, memorable characters and an intriguing storyline to make me look forward to the upcoming releases.

My favourite character has to be Wolfe. He acts like a badass teacher, always giving his students grief but turns out to be trying to help them in the best way he can. I loved his ‘you’ve got to be cruel to be kind’ attitude.

“I suppose you want me to apologize for calling you a bastard.”
“No need,” Santi said. “You should hear what his friends call him.”
“I have friends?” Wolfe said.
“They don’t care to admit it in public.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I might not care to admit to them, either?”

The main character, Jess, might not be relatable in the sense that he came from a family of smugglers, but his personality made him a very likeable person. I loved his interactions with the other students, his caution of letting others close and guilt of hiding his background. But most importantly, I adored his love for books. That’s a feeling all booknerds can relate to!

“Remember, losing one pint of blood’s an accident. Losing two is carelessness.”
Jess extended his right hand. It hurt, but he managed to hold it up, and after a moment, Dario got to his feet and walked over to grasp it. “We’re still not friends,” Jess said. “Thank God.”
“Imagine my relief.”

Each of the other students that are competing to work for the Library have very unique natures and Caine has put a lot of work into developing them all so that the reader is able to clearly distinguish between them. I appreciate that because when there are a lot of characters I find it very hard to remember them, and more importantly, how they fit in with the story.

As the story progresses, we learn that there is more to the Library than meets the eye. Being the most powerful institution there is, there is plenty of corruption that comes with it and it’s a mystery trying to uncover the secrets that the Library is built on.

The Library might have brought the wisdom of ages into the lives of the common folk; it might have kept humankind from falling into the darkness of ignorance and despair and superstition. But that didn’t mean the hands of those in charge were clean.
Just the opposite, in Jess’s experience.

Ink and Bone was a fantastic first book and it will definitely be a story I recommend to others!

Notable Scene:

“You’re a low kind of man,” Jess said. “But I’ve always known that. Da.”

Callum smiled. His eyes were like cold, dry pebbles. “Is that agreement I hear?”

“Did you really give me a choice?”

His father came forward and dug his fingers hard enough into Jess’s shoulder to leave bruises. “No, son,” he said. “That’s why I’m good at my business. See you become just as good at yours.”

The Great Library:

1. Ink and Bone

2. Paper and Fire

3. Ash and Quill (July 2017)


FTC Advisory: NAL/Penguin provided me with a copy Ink and Bone. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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