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

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.…

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli


Ink and Bone was such an awesome read.  I loved everything about this book.  Rachel Caine has created a world, set in 2025, in which The Great Library of Alexandria controls everything.  There are no printed books, except in the daughter libraries, and the people can read only what the library allows them to.  Everyone has a "codex," which to me sounded like a tablet, on which they communicate and read from.  The Codex system was neat and I liked that aspect of the story.

It follows that in a world where printed books are scarce and tightly controlled (by magic, nonetheless!) that book smuggling would be a big deal.  No, a huge deal.  And Jess, our main character, well, his family are some of the greatest smugglers in London.  But Jess has a secret: he loves books.  He often reads the bound books before running them to their recipients.  Jess steals away his own copies because he recognizes their value: not in dollars, but in history.  He longs for a world where everyone can read 'real' books, whatever they want, not what The Library allows.

Considering all of this, Jess is a most unlikely candidate for Libarary service.  And yet, he is selected after making a high score on his entrance exam.  Jess and 29 other applicants make their way to Alexandria where only six of them will be chosen to become Library workers.  And Jess is no ordinary trainee, he is expected to be a smuggler inside the Library.  In fact, his father gives him a 'job' the same week he arrives in Alexandria.  

Ink and Bone was so full of suspense.  I loved the fact that I never knew what was going to happen next.  The training had a Hunger Games feel to it: it was that intense.  And the premise of the Library controlling everything was much more realistic than I'd expected.  Ink and Bone was extremely thrilling and very hard to put down.

The characters were developed so perfectly.  I loved that this was a longer book so I really got to know the characters well.  I grieved the loss of certain characters (whether by elimination from the competition or death) right along with Jess.  

I really loved Ink and Bone.  I can't wait to read the next book in this series!

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