Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – a Review
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.…
Ink and Bone begins with Jess Brightwell having to deliver a book to one of his dad’s “customers”. Illegally. Books are illegal to own, but that hasn’t stopped the Brightwells from being a family of “runners”, meaning those who illegally obtain books and sell them to the highest bidder. As Jess makes his way to deliver the book, things don’t go quite as planned. The Garda, the Library’s muscle, are everywhere and Jess has to get creative in order to meet the buyer. He delivers the book but soon discovers that the buyer is an Ink Licker, i.e., one who destroys books by EATING the pages……. Yep, that’s how it begins.
We flash forward six years to see that Jess’ father has made the decision to send him to try out for a place working for the Library. He knows that Jess isn’t really cut out to take over the family business and figures that he’d best serve his family as a spy while serving the Library. Jess, almost reluctantly, agrees and sets off on the long journey to Alexandria. Once in Alexandria, he discovers that there are thirty other candidates to fill only six positions. Uh oh….. Add to that the fact that he knows he can never return home, and that he may actually like some of his fellow students……… He knows that he has a long, hard road ahead of him. Unfortunately, he had no idea in the beginning just how hard. Everything that he and his fellow students thought they knew about the Library ends up being laughable. Because once the Library in Oxford (England) is threatened by war between the English and the Welsh, he and his fellow students are sent to the war zone to save as many books as they can. What follows is a heart breaking series of events and earth shattering revelations that changes everything they’ve ever believed in and forever changes them. At least, those who survive.
I have to say that when I started this one, I didn’t think I was going to like it. At all. I’ve never been a big fan of Dystopian worlds and the pace was slow. And, that bothered me more than you’ll ever know. I love Rachel Caine. Her Morganville Vampire series is one of my all time favorite YA series. EVER. So, based on that alone, I continued reading…..and a funny thing happened. I found myself so engaged with all of the characters that I didn’t want to put it down. The world that Caine has created is so imaginative that it will blow you away. The cast of characters is long and varied and very intriguing. The basic storyline itself has been done before, but not by Rachel Caine. She has rewritten history and created a world that will leave you wanting more. A lot more. The only problem I had with this entire story was the pace. As I said earlier, it’s slow, although it did pick up in the second half. I’m thinking that since we have the world built, the next one will be move along at a faster pace. You will fall in love with the premise. You will fall in love with the characters. And, in the end you will be wanting more. If you’ve never read Rachel Caine and are a fan of YA, you’re sorely missing out. Well done, Rachel Caine!!
Reviewed by Vickie
Copy provided by Publisher