Title: Ink and Bone
Author: Rachel Caine
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: The Great Library, book one
Star Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Can you imagine a world, in which the Great Library of Alexandria didn't get razed to the ground?
I'd like to start this review with simply this: I've never in my life imagined a world in which a library could be a bad thing. This book scared the crap out of me. I couldn't imagine living in Caine's brutal, frightening world, and yet.. I could. I imagined myself in Jess's place, smuggling precious books across a beautiful, frightening version of Alexandria, populated by automatons and Scholars, who scour the huge metropolis of the city, sniffing out books the way rats sniff out food.
This book was like something out of a dream, and honestly, I loved it. Every frightening, emotional moment of it. The worldbuilding was excellent, near flawless, and the prose seduced me from the first page. This book is nothing less than a triumph, especially for those, like me, who sometimes have an unhealthy obsession with books, and words.
One of the reasons it was so compelling was because I could picture myself in this brutal, terrible world, in which words and printed paper are worth more than a human life. The book begins with Jess Brightwell, a book smuggler, struggling to make a place in a cutthroat family, whose war against the hold of the Library, is more important than lives. Jess gets sent by his own father into the Library's stronghold, where he begins to learn the secrets of the organization.
Unfortunately, Jess's love for words has him caught between a rock and a hard place, as the secrets and danger that the life of a Postulant of the Library begin to mount. Forced into a corner, Jess has no idea where or to whom his loyalties lie, and he and his fellow students must decide to bend to the power of the Library, or find their own way, and fight for their own future.
The characters of this novel were compelling and real; Jess especially was my favorite. From the brutal Scholars (including the proctor, Wolfe, who clearly has more than meets the eye), to the students themselves: gorgeous Khalifa, snarky, entitled Dario, sweet, gentle Thomas, the German giant, Glain, the harsh Welshwoman who is fierce and fiery, as per her heritage, and Morgan, who, like Jess, is hiding secrets of her own.
The only real problem I had with this novel was just that there wasn't any more of it. Could I have the sequel, please? Right about now? I can't wait! The bottom line: A thrilling departure from Caine's popular hit Morganville Vampires series, Ink and Bone is a promising, hard-hitting debut, that is a true tribute to lovers of words--I need more! Next on deck: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson!