Review – Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Title Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)

Author Rachel Caine

Description from Amazon

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. 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 knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn….

Initial Thoughts

I’ve owned a copy of this book for years. It was one of those “I’ll wait until the whole series is out binge read” kind of books so I never actually read it. Then, I did something really silly and applied (and was approved for) the fifth book in the series (when I haven’t read any of the others). I also have this ridiculous goal of totally clearing out my NetGalley queue for the end of 2019. I have 8 books left with 16 days to go. However, one of the books I have left requires me to read the first four books in the series…

Some Things I Liked

  • History and alternate history. I love alternate history. Man in the High Castle is one of my favorite shows and I love how thoughtfully the world was created in Ink and Bone. So much history and the shape of the world is impacted by the ability to access books and I loved how Rachel Caine set everything up.
  • “Magic school” vibes. Ok so this is not magic, but I loved the “Harry Potter-y” vibes of Jess’s time training to be a librarian. He made friends, he made enemies, some of those enemies became his friends, I thought the setting was perfect.

Some Things I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • Far fetched action sequences. I thought some of the action scenes were over the top and I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief at times.
  • Romance. I really wasn’t expecting any romance in this book and the little bit that we got was just blah. I didn’t engage with it and would have preferred if one of the other couples we learn about was the romantic focal point (instead of Jess).

Series Value

I definitely like this series. I will be honest and say that I’m not dying to pick up the next book, I am picking it up out of my obsessive obligation to finish my queue up this year. I would have eventually read the rest of the series if not for my pressing NetGalley goals, but not right away.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book. I think there are some really interesting concepts and it is a bold statement on how often humanity takes knowledge for granted. There are many thought provoking concepts in the book and I really enjoyed that.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman – if you like thought-provoking, semi-sci-fi / semi-dystopian worlds, with a smidge of romance, you need to read this series.
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – if you liked the library concept, check out this fantasy stand-alone.
  • Fireborne by Rosaria Munda – if you liked the way the story was broken up with journal entires and letters in each chapter, give this new release by Rosaria Munda a try. Once again, this book asks big questions about human nature and the way society should be structured.

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