Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Knowledge is power.
Imagine the Great Library of Alexandria never having crumbled. Still standing, the library has spread to every corner of the world in major cities, using its knowledge as a source of power. Using it to govern what people are and aren’t allowed to know. Owning real books is forbidden. The consequences are dire.
Jess Brightwell, son of an infamous book smuggler, is sent to the Library to train in the Library’s services, but more importantly to spy and steal valuable books for the family business. His loyalties to his family and beliefs in the Library are tested greatly as he comes to discover that the Library isn’t what he imagined. When his friend, Thomas, creates a machine that does the unthinkable, does something that could change everything they know about the Library, that could change the future, everyone is thrust into danger. The way of The Great Library—books above life—begins to tremble. It’s only the beginning…
I am so EXCITED to finally get to this series!!!! To be fair, I’ve got a super long queue of books and it took longer than expected to get to The Great Library, but still. EXCITEMENT!!! LOADS OF IT! I love LOVE Rachel Caine’s work. At some point, I plan to get the Weather Warden series and to reread Morganville Vampires (again).
Onward and upward now.
Imagine how different the world would be if one of its greatest structures and base of knowledge survived? The Great Library of Alexandria did just that in this series. Much more twisted than I ever imagined, this series is bringing to life something I’ve always wondered about. What if books were truly seen for the power they have? The knowledge in them holds keys to not only the past but to help push the world into the future. It’s crazy. Ink and Bone is only the beginning of approaching the dark side of knowledge. Who can have it and who can’t. How dangerous it is and how it can take your life. Obviously, I’m mesmerized.
It was a slow start because I was getting used to this world that felt like so much like one I already livein, yet not at all. Books are illegal. LIKE WHAT!? If that’s the case I’d be just like Jess, smuggling them, loving them, having that ink tattooed into my bones, metaphorically of course. My love for books runs so deep so really I related to his character. He’s strong, smart, and more than that, he cares. He cares about people, about books, about his beliefs. That alone makes him magnificent because as a smuggler in a smuggler family it’s out of the ordinary and unexpected.
There is so much in this world that captured me in a bubble of wonder. The combination of modernism and ancientism (I made that word up, so what?) for one. Technology blends with beautiful stone architecture from Egypt, Greece, Alexandria. That same architecture grew in other parts of the world. It’s as if history wasn’t forgotten or preserved, but kept in working order, unchanging. I’m not doing justice by this, but truly, it’s splendid and breathtaking. But then again, I also have a very strong love for the ancient architecture of such times. Stone masonry like this has been long dead and preserved as nothing more than worldly museum pieces since metal became the staple architecture. *queue sad face*
As for the technology, it’s crazy. From books to bracelets. Statues meld with robotics, but they still hold the grace and fluidity that they appear to be alive. Be careful though. They could kill you if you’re carrying a book.
The story moved at a great pace and there wasn’t a bit left out that I felt compelled to question. Details I never imagined or thought about were explored with great depth. There was no rush. And the biggest element in this book is secrets. Secrets of the Library. Jess’s family secret. Thomas’s secret. Morgan’s secret. EVERYBODY HAS SECRETS! And they only dragged me in deeper because I want to know them. Just amazing writing.
The tone and imagery completely engulfed me. It was all so incredible. It was vivid and real in my mind, but not over the top to the point that it seemed incredibly fake. I felt like I could recognize a lot the places mentioned, even Alexandria, and yet, they were all different, askew. The world we know is tilted into a different world of ‘what if’. Fantastical and complete wonder. I know, I’ve said that more than once already.
When it comes to expectations, all of mine were dashed-in a good way. Sometimes you can predict what’s coming when you read, but I couldn’t. Things of which I cannot say happened, and that left me gaping and stunned in complete disbelief. My emotions were rocked and more than once. There were twists that I didn’t see coming at all. The life-threatening dangers chasing Jess and his friends: Thomas, Morgan, Khalila, Danton, Portero, Glain, and Dario, were unrelenting and the crazy thing? This is only the start! They are only scraping the surface of something much bigger.
So I did that rambling thing. I told you my geeking excitement was uncontrollable. I just can’t help myself.
I don’t say all of this just because Caine is one of my utmost favorite series authors. I mean, she’s right up there with Lemony Snicket and Kresley Cole for me and that’s pretty high. I get all Squeeeee and everything. My mum thinks I’m a spasm when I read her books. I have so much to say because she is phenomenal. She’s encompassed a world that I’ve only dreamt of before and I have thought about what it would be like if libraries had a stronger presence in the world. Granted, this is a dark direction and the ending was pretty shocking. I was in denial until I started the next book. Also, let me add that I wasn’t so sure about this series when I started it, but as I read and sunk deeper into it, I couldn’t put it down. This is a subject is so special and it really touched an important part of me. This is definitely a series I recommend, especially if you’re as much of a booklover as me and you love libraries and if you’d do anything to protect books.
“You’re clever, Jess, but Da’s wrong about one thing; you don’t just have ink in your blood. It’s in your bones. Your skeleton’s black with it.” (Brendan to Jess, p. 32)
“Don’t play to your strengths. Strengthen your weaknesses.” (Jess to Khalila, p. 85)
“Not all knowledge is books.” (Jess to Portero, p. 95)
“The books come first, sir. Isn’t that how is should be? Books before men?” (Portero to Scholar Wolfe, p. 204)
“Kisses could lie as well as words.” (Jess, p. 259)
“The Library isn’t a person. It doesn’t have a conscience, or a heart or a soul. It does what it has to do to survive!” (Morgan to Jess. p. 294)
More to come soon…
P.S Song today? Just Hold On by Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson.
Thoughts? Tell me in the comment section bellow.