Print books are a black market commodity as the Library provides all the knowledge anyone needs in the Codex. Jess Brightwell has always cherished books, even as his family is part of the black market that smuggles and sells print books to the highest bidders. Unfortunately, Jess holds little interest in following the family business so his father offers him an ultimatum- Jess is to gain admittance to the Library and become an internal asset to the family. Jess has always loved the mystery of the Great Library but he’s about to discover some secrets that have remained hidden for years. What happens when knowledge holds absolute power over the people?
The world building in INK AND BONE is outstanding! Rachel Caine crafts a dark, richly layered world full of political machinations, war, and even the oh so mysterious alchemy that underpins the Library. The scenes with the automaton lions (and other creatures) are spooky. However, it’s the ink-lickers and burners who truly horrified me and solidified the eeriness of a world where physical books are a rarity.
Rachel Caine does a beautiful job with character development in INK AND BONE. Jess is an interesting main character and his love for books permeates every action he takes. However, he recognizes that there is a line between the love of books and the love for human life- a line that the Library doesn’t appear to recognize. I particularly love the glimpses we get into the lives of Jess’ fellow classmates although I have to admit that Scholar Christopher Wolfe’s story intrigues me the most.
INK AND BONE is the first book in The Great Library series and oh my, am I hooked! I’m always a sucker for books about books and it only gets better when the author is none other than the wonderful Rachel Caine. If you love fantasy or dystopian young adult novels, don’t hesitate to give INK AND BONE a try. The deeper themes set INK AND BONE apart from many of the other books in the genre and make it a highly recommended read!