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.…
I saw a couple of great reviews for this one floating around in the blogosphere, so I thought ‘hey, why not give this a try?’
And then I stayed up till 2am in the morning to finish it.
Friends, that is high praise indeed.
The book started out fairly slowly, but this is understandable, what with setting up the world building and establishing the reader in this new society where information is strictly controlled by an overarching, somewhat hegemonic and threatening institution of The Great Library of Alexandria.
But once you’re around a quarter of the way through, it’s a rollercoaster ride of pulse-pounding action and emotion till the end. The word ‘page turner’ was invented for a book like this.
I came to care about so many of the side characters, and was DEVASTATED at what happened to my favourite. His stoicism in the face of what was about to happen was chilling and heartbreaking and it was only two lines but my soul hurt.
I loved my very gay older-couple ship. Author, I DEMAND that they make it through to the end, alive and well, to be happy gay farmers somewhere. *pets*
For book-lovers, of course, a whole story around books and people who work with them is awesome. The power dynamics are fascinating, the struggle for control and the lengths to which they will go is horrific, and the behind-the-scenes motivations and meddling is intriguing.
One thing that irked me is the MC’s puppy love for Morgan – it struck me as false and forced, somehow – I didn’t sense an inkling of chemistry.
Apart from that minor gripe, however, this was a wonderful read, with a diverse cast and plenty of adventure and emotion – from dodgy families to near death experiences, mysterious mentors and magical abilities, I am so looking forward to the sequel.