I wanted to read Ink and Bone last year, but then I got a bit turned off the whole “books-about-books” genre after a few less than stellar reads that I couldn’t even get all the way through. On a whim I decided to check out the preview for this title on my Kobo and immediately got sucked in. I bought the rest of the book right away and spent the weekend immersed in the amazing world that Rachel Caine has built. It’s like a giant mashup of Harry Potter, Fahrenheit 451, The Book Thief, and 1984, which is something I never would have thought would work.
Synopsis: In an alternate history where the Library of Alexandria never burned, this great repository of knowledge has become both powerful and ruthless. 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.
“You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business to you.”
― Rachel Caine,
There is a lot going on in this book, and there are a lot of secondary characters to follow, but since the main focus is on Jess it was easy enough to keep track of the main plot. I wasn’t entirely sure that I was going to like the book at first because Jess’s book smuggling lifestyle wasn’t that interesting to me, but once he made his way to the library it ended up being a really good story. I definitely look forward to learning more about how the library works, as it wasn’t fully fleshed out in this book. I know that it has something to do with alchemy, but there also seems to be a large element of magic involved.
My one issue with the book is the sadly overused insta-love trope that so many YA novels have. Jess’s love interest doesn’t show up until about half way through the book and he is immediately drawn to her. I had initially hoped that their interactions would help make the relationship make sense, but they barely seem to spend any time together and yet he’s willing to throw everything he’s earned away to help her. I’m not saying they aren’t a good match, but I do think that someone with Jess’s past would be a bit more concerned about his own welfare than that of a some strange girl who has some obviously dangerous secrets.
LC rating: (great start to the series, can’t wait for more)
Other books by this author: