Friday, 31 July 2015

Review : Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Title: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)

Author: Rachel Caine

Publisher: NAL

Release date: July 7th 2015

Goodreads summary: 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 he 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...

"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. You go there, to them, and we'll lose you forever."
This book came to me as a wonderful surprise, and will probably be in my top books of the year. 

We meet Jess as he's a ten years old boy stealing books in order for his father to sell them illegally. Yes, that's the most important thing that we learn in the prologue: owning books is forbidden and you're punished for it.
Owning it carried a death penalty. When you steal a book, you steal from the world, the Library propaganda said, and Jess supposed it might be true. Especially for this book.
Behind this black market ran by Jess' family for London, there are ideas considered heresies by the Great Library. For example, Gutenberg, because he created a print who would have unsettled the Library and was destroyed for it. In the book, we see that other characters have these ideas, but their work is always destroyed. Of course, the Library controls every access to book. Everybody has a Codex who can reminds us of an e-reader, with access to books as long as the Library wants it. You also have Burner, like the French revolutionary Danton (one of the characters is related to him), who burns books in order to protect them from the Library.

To be part of the Library, you have to pass a test. At age sixteen, Jess successfully passes it and is sent to a marvelous setting with twenty-nine other teenagers, Alexandria. From that point starts a competition to win one of the six posts available in the Great Library, learning from a suspicious character, Scholar Christopher Wolfe (such an interesting character, with an amazing backstory). Soon, Jess and his fellow students learns that no one is safe, even when you're part of the Library.

This academic part of the plot was amazing, it's something I usually really like in a book. Despite that competition, the students forms friendships, as much as they can. There is romance in this book, but it wasn't too heavy and it was mostly at the end, if you're not a fan of romance as a big part in YA books, you can read this one, you won't be bothered by it this way.

The plot was beautifully done, it was a little slow paced, but not in the bad way, it was also because the chapters were rather long, compared to other books. There was tension during the whole book who made me want to turn pages and never stop, this story was really addictive.

Overall, this book was really entertaining and the idea around it was unique: I liked to read about the Great Library, where nothing and no one can be trusted (in the end, the postulants are even afraid to work there, because it's so dangerous). Moreover, this book is set in 2025, so close to us, which is even more terrifying, because everything could happened (like the war between Welsh and British people).

Rating: 5/5

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