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Early Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (Great Library #1)

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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine // VBCInk and Bone (The Great Library #1)
Rachel Caine
Published: July 7, 2015 (NAL)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Rachel Caine re-imagines a world where the Great Library at Alexandria was not destroyed all those years ago, but instead thrived and became the foremost hub of information in the world with its branches, or Serapeum, found in every city. I say “it” when referring to the Library because it’s very clear the Library is this imposing omnipresent force.

With omnipotence, there will always be opposition. Here, it comes in the form of Burners. These are people who use Greek fire to make statements against the Library’s restrictions on what information is deemed “safe” for the masses. Another form of opposition to the Library comes from smugglers. Those who take original books—not the “blanks” the Library gives out that can only be filled by what the Library deems acceptable from their Codex—but original ink and paper and leather bound tombs, and gain profit from the sale/distribution of them. I should mention owning these original works is illegal (so stated by the Library), thus the smuggling.

Jess Brightwell was born into a family of smugglers, although they present a very distinguished front to the outside world. Early on, we know Jess loves books. Originals. He loves the feel, smell, the information they contain. He does assist in the family business, but his heart truly is not in it. Ever the strategist, Jess’s father decides Jess needs to join the Library as a mole for the family. Once Jess complies, he starts questioning his loyalties to his family, but once he starts opening doors to the Library’s world, he discovers its secrets run deep.

Can I just say, “Loved it, read it”? Will that suffice? No? Okay, well, here goes:

When all is said and done I was blown away by Ink and Bone. Caine intricately works through the twists and turns of Jess’s world. While Ink and Bone does feature a wide variety of secondary characters (all of them with good and bad qualities that I came to love equally), this is Jess’s story. The moment he signs on to train with the Library, his family problems get pushed to the background. Although they are always there lurking, and we’re reminded of them, they play second stage to setting up what’s really going on behind closed-doors at the Library. I look forward to digging into Jess’s family in future books, but here I was more than content to find out just what kind of sinister Big Brother-type we were dealing with.

Jess was a good, if somewhat unreliable character. He starts out thinking that because he’s in a business of secrets that there is very little he doesn’t know. Actually, it’s the opposite. There’s A LOT Jess doesn’t know about the world, but he gets a big dose of a reality check once he starts his training. Thus, the twists and turns. It’s a little eerie to think that Jess’s other postulants may have something to hide, like himself. But we discover everyone is hiding something. Some secrets we find out over the course of Ink and Bone and others I hope come to light somewhere down the line. Either way, we’re in for a very interesting ride.

I think Ink and Bone can appeal not only to fans of urban fantasy or fantasy, but also to anyone who loves books. You can feel Caine’s reverence for the word (written or computerized) jump off the page (or e-book as the case may be).

Sexual content: kissing

2 Responses to “Early Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (Great Library #1)”

  1. Danya says:

    I’ve seen nothing but good things being said about Ink and Bone, and I’m not surprised! I think Rachel Caine’s kind of proven herself by this point, you know? She’s written so many wonderful and truly unique books and has definitely grown as an author. Jess sounds like he has an unreliable narrator vibe to him – I really like those! I’m excited to read this although I admit that “big brother” type reads often give me the heebie jeebies.

  2. Nancy says:

    For a YA this is not bad at all, I don’t usually read YA , because I have a hard time as an older adult to relate to them . This is just good writing!!

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