Monday, September 7, 2015

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Summary from Goodreads:
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.…
Wow! I’m in such a wonderful place right now, where all the books I’m reading are just amazing. Seriously, for a while there, nothing was speaking to me, and now everything is. This is probably my favorite book of the year (so far). I know I might be a little biased because I’m a librarian, but still the world Caine creates in this book is so interesting, so real, and so terrifying. I could not put this book down.
I can see this book being taught in classrooms. The topics it covers, the debates it can produce, and the questions it makes you ask, make this a book and series to keep your eyes on. I haven’t felt this strongly about a new YA book in a long time.
This is one of those books that as soon as I finished it, I had to tell everyone I know to read it as well. It’s that good. It starts out with a street rat/Aladdin type feel with children running illegal errands and getting caught left and right. And being caught means being killed. I was hooked from page one.
Then, the main character (a son in an affluent black market family) is sent to become a librarian. He’s been running from librarians every day of his life to help his family with illegal information deals, and now his family is asking him to become one. He’s sent to compete with teens from all over the world. He’s in a group of teenagers who scored high on the entrance test, characters from various countries. He has to pass tests, compete, and learn as much as he can so he can be offered a position. Not all the teens survive the tests.
Jess has to survive, do well, and also secretly still work for his family. Little did he know that becoming a librarian would be more dangerous than running books. Nothing is as it seems. He’s literally shoved into a warzone to help the library.
Besides all the action, and there’s a lot of action, there’s all the politics of this world. There’s the burners (aka: the rebels), the black market families, the book eaters, the book perverts, the librarians, etc. And there’s also scary mechanical lions, starvation, genocide, fires, magical/dangerous travel, alchemy, power struggles, secrets, war, and mystery.
In a world where printed books don’t exist (except illegally), and the government is in charge of everything people are allowed to read (on tablet-like devices), everything seems to be in chaos. So much is said about the written word versus the electronic. Even more is said about governments controlling the information of their people. And while this is a fantasy world, with magical elements, I can’t help but notice how possible it feels.
This is one of those books where you are constantly questioning who the good guys and who the bad guys are. You never know who’s safe. I was genuinely surprised by the darkness. And I was shocked by the warzone. I was even surprised by the ending. I cannot wait for the next installment, where I know I will be surprised some more.
This book has already been compared to Harry Potter, The Book Thief, and Farenheit 451. I’d say it’ s a pretty adequate description. I give it a 10/10. I hope more people read and enjoy this and it gets the attention it deserves.

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