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Friday, January 29, 2016

"Ink and Bone: The Great Library Book One" by Rachel Caine (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)




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OVERVIEW: 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 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

FORMAT: Ink and Bone is the first book in the proposed series titled The Great Library. It is a futuristic historical novel that is filled with adventure, mystery, betrayal, politics, books, and a fight for power. It has been described as a book that is Harry Potter meets Book Thief and Fahrenheit 451, and that is pretty accurate for it.

Ink and Bone was published July 7, 2015 by NAL.  

ANALYSIS: It is only the first month in 2016 and I may have just found one of my top books for the year. Ink and Bone, while it was published in 2015, is one of the best books I've read in a while. It is a mix of adventure, a battle for power and knowledge, Harry Potter-like school setup, historical fantasy, and a Hunger Games like feeling. It might sound like it is a lot for one little book, but it isn't. Everything is well-written and works out.

And the best part of it all? Ink and Bone deals with an issue that any booklover knows all too well – the thought of beloved books and novels becoming banned because the knowledge they contain is just too powerful. Toss in the issue of not being able to actually touch or feel books because everything is electronic based (the popular theory that eReaders will replace printed books someday) and you have a story that hits home to any bookworm.

Ink and Bone takes readers to a futuristic world where the Great Library in Alexandria has survived. The survival of that one huge library has led to multiple Great Libraries popping up in multiple major cities all across the world. With the libraries' growth came power. The libraries are now responsible for controlling the knowledge and contents of books that people are allowed to access.

People in this new, futuristic world get all their information on these electronic devices. The electronic devices are powered by alchemy. Original paperbacks and hardcovers are considered 'rare' and forbidden, which makes them like gold. This leads to an underground operation where book smuggling is popular, yet the higher ups do not like it and work day and night to put a stop to it.

Of course, this library setup has started an almost all-out war. People either fall in line and follow what the library tells them, or they believe that all knowledge should be accessible regardless of who you are or what your status is. The second group is considered outcasts and rebels, and the library actively works to stop them at all costs.

Ink and Bone follows the story of Jess Brightwell. His family is responsible for one of the biggest book smuggling operation. His family has decided to send him off to become a librarian and begin his training at the Library, but it is under one condition – he must spy for them.

Jess works tirelessly to pass the tests that are being administered by The Library. After all, only a handful are going to granted the ability to become a true librarian. While he is training, he soon begins to realize that things aren't what they appear with The Great Library and those in power might not being doing what is truly best for the rest of the world.

I will say that Ink and Bone started out a bit sluggish. The first 30 to 40 pages had a lot of details about the history, the setting, and the Great Library. While it was interesting to read, it didn't present an opportunity to really connect with any characters and since I didn't have enough background, I couldn't really understand what was going on and relate it to anything. I almost developed a 'who cares' attitude, but stuck with it.

At the page 50 mark, things just took off. The book was fast paced, detailed, and unique. The training the librarians-in-training go through as well as where they stayed reminded me of Hogwarts. It was like an adult version of it. I think it was this familiar feeling that made me really connect with the book. It was no Harry Potter knockoff, but it had that feeling to it that made me really want to just keep reading.

Ultimately, what I think made me love Ink and Bone was how true it rings to real life. There is a push to have books replaced with our eReaders, but no matter how hard people push for that there are booklovers (like me) who just love cracking open a printed book. The thought that not only could that be taken away, but that some mysterious 'higher up' would tell me what I could and couldn't read (and what those books contained) was fascinating to me.

When I completed Ink and Bone, I wish I could jump right back into the world. I even admit, a small part of me wished I could test to become a librarian. I was that attached to it. Truly, I think Ink and Bone shows just how much the YA world is changing. It shows that YA books don't just appeal to the teen audience and are truly for everyone – regardless of age.

I eagerly look forward to the second book in this series – scheduled to be released summer of 2016. I can't recommend this book enough. It really is amazing. It is magical, unique and fast paced. Give it a try and see for yourself!

2 comments:

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Nice. That's a powerful read if this early in the year you feel it's a top read. I've heard many great things about this book and series. Glad to see you enjoyed it as well.

Cindy said...

I have to admit that if I read it in 2015 when it was published, it probably would have been one of the top 3 for 2015. I just hope the sequel, which comes out summer for 2016, is just as good!

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