Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine


the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time… 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 his friend 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 didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. I often skip books that everyone seems to rave about because those books don’t need my voice added to the chorus of rave reviews. I prefer to focus on those books that aren’t mainstream, and if my reading and reviewing can help in some way, then I happy to do so. I finally picked it up in April and decided to give it a read. With over 6,500 ratings and 1,600 reviews on Goodreads and it’s four-star average rating, Ms. Caine obviously wrote something wonderful.

The thousands of four and five-star reviews are accurate. The story is fantastic. I love the idea that the Library of Alexandria continues to the modern era, and knowledge is worshiped almost cult-like. At the center of it all is an adventure not unlike things we’ve seen before, but Ms. Caine just does it so well.

There are some scenes that I had a bit of difficulty accepting, but the writing is so beautiful, suspending my disbelief was easy. The thunderous pace kept my heart pumping and my finger swiping. I just had to read one more chapter. One more chapter… One more chapter…

Many of the plot points that I had difficulties with were explained in later chapters that made everything click. The fantasy elements are there, but not in-your-face. Fans of sci-fi, fantasy, action, or adventure will love this book about books. The dystopian and totalitarian themes are an exciting read, and let’s not forget the “common man” versus an uncaring, unfeeling monolithic entity. But victory is not guaranteed, and that uncertainty makes this an excellent read.

Ink and Bone is a five-star must read, and I look forward to reading the sequel, Paper and Fire.

Rachel Caine is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than forty-five novels, including the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, the Revivalist series, and the acclaimed YA novel Prince of Shadows. Her newest, most ambitious series yet — The Great Library — recently launched with the first book, INK AND BONE. She was born at White Sands Missile Range, which people who know her say explains a lot. She has been an accountant, a professional musician, and an insurance investigator, and until very recently continued to carry on a secret identity in the corporate world. She and her husband, fantasy artist R. Cat Conrad, live in Texas.


About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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