A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
Having already read author Rachel Caine’sMorganville Vampires series years ago, I was excited to get reading her newest series The Great Library. If the cover wasn’t enough to hook your attention and tell you that some serious business was about to go down, the novel’s premise will. Imagine a world where the Great Library of Alexandria survived. What would humanity look like? What would the world be if all of those books had been saved and maintain through the ages? Ink and Bone tackles these questions and introduces readers to a unique, immersive world unlike any other.
Set in the year 2025, the Great Library stands in Alexandria, with its’ respectful daughter libraries located all around the planet in the form of Serapeums. Jess Brightwell’s family is dedicated to running books from the Library—original pieces that have withstood the test of time—to the highest bidder. Now in his late teens and having faced the horrors associated with running, Jess’s father manages to get him an opportunity that will make his entire bloodline proud. Jess will become a spy within the Library, by training to join their ranks. But as it turns out, joining the Library’s ranks of scholars is a more daunting task than Jess once believed. Danger lingers at every corner and there’s no knowing just how far he will have to go to become one of them.
What I loved most about Ink and Bone was the world that Caine has created. It is incredibly well-made and is easy to picture in the reader’s mind. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the novel’s setting. A future where the Great Library lived? What would that entail? So far, it meant a somewhat dystopic future where alchemists still exist in the form of heretics and where the ownership of a truly original book is outlawed.
All in all, the plot itself wasn’t at all what I anticipated based on the description given on the novel’s jacket. I imagined that the story would be all about Jess running books somehow while within the Library and while that does come in (as it’s essential to Jess’s character) there’s so much more to the story. The majority of the novel is nothing but Jess and his fellow Postulants being graded by their Proctor and going through various ‘gauntlets’ too earn their placement within the Library. Very Divergent with less fighting and more problem-solving oriented challenges.
The characters in Ink and Bone are all very diverse in both personality and ethnicity, and I feel that many readers will be able to find characters who they adore and characters who they despise. Personally, I enjoyed Jess’s character and the character Khalila. The two of them had great interactions that just felt soreal to read. They’re both head-strong, stubborn and incredibly sassy when need be.
Throughout the novel, you can’t help but wonder if what’s been deemed just in this world really is. The question of morality pops up throughout Ink and boneand leaves readers wondering what they would do if they were in this society. The novel does end on a bit of a cliff-hanger that should leave many readers eager to find out what happens next. My only issue with this book that I can think of, was the instances where high-intensity scenes would have their pace slowed down by unnecessary detailing. Other than that, it was a very entertaining read.
I would recommend this novel to any readers who are looking for a novel where a group of teen protagonists are faced with multiple challenges in order to achieve an end goal (i.e. the Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.). Any readers who are looking for a novel that is all thrilling action with instances of a romantic side-plot should also give it a go. Any readers looking for a well-written, unique setting should also give Ink and Bone a read.