Rating: 4 Stars
Published: July 2015
Genre: Young Adult// Fantasy-Paranormal // Alternate History
Always remember the words of Descartes: The reading of all good books is like conversion with the finest men of the past centuries.
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… (Summary taken from Goodreads)
The first purpose of a librarian is to preserve and defend our books. Sometimes, that means dying for them – or making someone else die for them. Tota est scientia.
This was not at all what I expected, in the best possible way.
I didn’t feel a huge connection to the characters at first because it was a little hard for me to place them/picture the world. However, I loved Jess— even though I had been anticipating this book, I didn’t know a whole lot about it aside from the fact it revolved around some sort of library (and that was enough to make me curious).
“Being stabbed has made you cynical,” she said. “And you used to be such an optimist.”
I love how reverently they talk about books, these are my kind of people. It’s funny though, it’s almost a reimagined debate between e-readers and physical books– which is super cool. The personal journal idea was intriguing, it’s like the alternative to social media, except it’s private. In this case, it’s your legacy after you die. It gets archived. It’s a super fun concept because it’s something book lovers can relate to & it more easily puts the reader in the world of The Great Library. We can understand the character’s desire to change the world because it’s so different from the world we know where books are everywhere.
“A blank isn’t the same. He remembered holding this book, feeling the history of the leather cover someone had tanned and stretched and cut to fit. The paper that someone had laboriously filled by hand and sewn into the binding. Years, heavy on the pages. … An original. It felt like the old monk’s story was part of his own.
But when he read it in the blank, it was just words, and it had no power to carry him away.”
Christopher Wolfe, the name doesn’t entirely fit his description. He’s complicated. I don’t really know how I feel about him & Santi. They’re good for the kids but there’s so much uncertainty wrapped around them at first, they’re hard to like.
Jess is unique. He’s a fun main character. I certainly wasn’t expecting him but by the end of the book, I didn’t want to let him go. I liked his character growth and his struggle with family. I can’t wait to see what the second book brings his character. Speaking of family, Brendan disappeared, is there really a point to his character? 200 pages in and I don’t see it which is annoying. Update, finished the book and I STILL don’t see a book to Jess’s twin. I’m sure it’s something that’s going to come back in some sneaky way in the following books.
“I suppose you want me to apologize for calling you a bastard.”
“No need,” Santi said. “You should hear what his friends call him.”
“I have friends?” Wolfe said.
“They don’t care to admit it in public.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I might not care to admit to them, either?”
Dario and Khalila have a weird relationship. I almost don’t believe it but we’ll see where it goes. Dario is sly. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him but I knew he would make it to the end because that’s just what happens with rude roommates. Khalila has a very Hermione vibe. She’s smart as hell but still needs to grow.
I love Jess & Thomas‘s friendship. They are #goals. I love how much hope Thomas has. It’s almost contagious but it’s also like watching a train wreck (no pun intended). You know what the outcome of his story will be because there are clues along the way but when it happens, you still can’t believe it.
Morgan is a bit of a mystery. I didn’t like her at first, and I certainly didn’t trust her. But I totally warmed up to her in the end. I like her & Jess as a couple but none of the pairs were really OTP for me. They worked but I wasn’t IN LOVE with any of them.
“Kiss could lie as well as words.”
These characters get into your head by the end. I feel like I’ve been through war with them. Speaking of war, my goodness! The adventure never ends. I shouldn’t really call it adventure but it’s non-stop action towards the second half of them book.
The conspiracy! I can’t! This book is so good. The Library is so well, creepy & controlling. But I love this story–I love the concept, I love the book, I love the characters, and I highly recommend! I had no idea where this story was going. There were pieces I could see coming together but overall, this story was fresh and interesting.
Rachel Caine has short stories on Wattpad, check them out here.
I don’t think I’ve read any other books by Rachel Caine, but I certainly can’t wait to read Paper & Fire which comes out a few days after my birthday, happy happy to me!
Have you read Ink and Bone? If so, what are you waiting for?!