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

ink and boneRuthless 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.…

Rating: 4/5

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.

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22 thoughts on “Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) – Rachel Caine

  1. I totally loved this! Maybe a little more than you did, but it’s a great start to a series, and I’m so anxious to find out what happens next:-)

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  2. Awesome review, Hannah! I’ve heard the best things about this book and I’m definitely planning to pick it up myself. 🙂 Apparently there isn’t too much romance in this, so I think I might be okay if it isn’t oozing chemistry. Very curious about the gay ship though! 😀

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  3. Wow, sounds like an incredible read. The storyline is so original and refreshing that I actually want to read this myself. Its great how the side characters were well molded and lovable – they’re just as important as the MC, according to me. Great that you loved this overall, lovely review!

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    1. The side characters were fantastic, indeed – it’s a mark of a great book where the supporting cast are just as intriguing and worthy of attention as the MC. And I was really struck by the world building and originality!

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  4. Yep, this is high on my list too. I love Ms. Caine’s writing. it’s engaging and has been known, on occasion, to keep me up at night. So at least you’re not alone in your plight 🙂

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  5. All I’m stuck on is older gay couple and LIBRARY. So yes, this is also high on my list and I may have to find a way to get my hands on a copy! Awesome review 🙂 Glad you stayed up until 2am to finish it hehehe

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    1. XD I also likes that the author pretty much spelled it out for the reader – no hinting or glossing over as some books tend to do with LGBQT side couples. But it’s an awesome read, hope you manage to get your hands on a copy soon!

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  6. I actually didn’t mind so much about the chemistry of the two characters (I wasn’t really shipping them hard) but the rest of the story elements were just so amazingly done that they didn’t really factor in my reading experience. You have no idea how much it warms my heart to know you loved this one just as much as I did, Hannah! Seriously. I have an idea who your favorite was and what happened to him and trust me, I was aghast, too. I didn’t think the book would go that far but it did and I kind of loved it. It’s so refreshing and brutal at the same time, wasn’t it?!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. You perfectly encapsulated my feelings – brutal but refreshing indeed! And while I didn’t ship the main couple, I completely fell in love with some of the side ships that were happening, so there is that. Seriously, I have you to thank for introducing me to this one, and I’m so grateful! It was utterly magical. ❤

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  7. Great review! I also loved the book’s setting and mythology. While I didn’t feel for any of the characters nor did I think the romances were necessary it was a fascinating read. Beautiful review!

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