Title: “Ink and Bone”
Author: Rachel Caine
Pages (hardcover): 355 pages
Original Publishing Date: 7 July 2015
Synopsis (from the inside flap):
“In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where 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 forbidden.
“Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from the 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 knowledge is more valuable than any human life — and soon both heretics and books will burn…”
Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:
- character death
- child abuse (brief) (non-graphic)
Representation in the novel:
- Muslim girl
- characters of color
- m/m relationship
Wow, this is my first five-star book in a while. But this book definitely deserves it.
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine takes place in a world where the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed. It now allows for anyone to access works from throughout history from something similar to a Kindle by using alchemy. Here’s the hitch, however: owning any physical books is banned.
The book follows Jess, a teenage boy who helps his family with their black market business of selling books. However, his father was able to get him a seat to take the initial examination to work for the Library as a way for him to spy for his family. The book primarily follows him, and the other teenagers who passed the examination, as they train to become Library employees, essentially.
At first, I wasn’t so sure how much I was going to like this book. The prologue seemed kind of awkward to me, in the way that it was written, and the world was initially confusing for me. But as I kept reading, the book does a wonderful job at explaining the finer aspects of the world without info-dumping the reader. I think I can say now that this world is probably one of my favorites.
The plot was also very engaging. I ended up reading the whole book in one day, which may affect how I think of the plot, but I never felt like things were going to slow or too fast. It was fun, and I enjoyed reading it.
The characters were also really fun to read. I don’t think I really disliked any of the main cast, and I especially loved Thomas, Santi, and Khalila. Also, pause for a second, because Khalila is a hijabi!! And she is so badass. I love her. She may not have the stereotypical “badass-ness” as Glain, but she is so smart and intuitive and…ugh. She’s definitely my favorite character. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about Morgan, though. I think, in comparison to the other characters, she was the least developed. Which is sad because she had a lot of potential. But it’s a trilogy, so maybe we’ll see some good development from her yet!
On top of that, there’s an m/m relationship, and ya know what? I absolutely loved it. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on between the two characters because it wasn’t blatantly out there. But as the book went on? Lemme just say, one of my favorite tropes is the one where everyone calls the people in the relationship by their last name, but they call each other by their first name (and vice versa). I just. Love this couple so much. 10/10.
But yeah, overall, even though it was a tad confusing for me in the beginning, I absolutely adored Ink and Bone, and can’t wait to read its sequel!