Author: Rachel Caine
Published: Allison and Busby, 2015
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Ink and Bone #1
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4 out of 5 stars
The Great Library of Alexandria controls the worlds’ knowledge. Knowledge is sacred and no-one is allowed to own their own private books in their homes – it is a crime. But where there is a law, there is always someone willing to break it. Jess Brightwell is from a family of book smugglers, sent to Alexandria to be trained to become library personnel as a way of benefiting his father, Jess soon learns just what the library is capable of.
This was a most interesting book and I came to really love it. I mean, it had me at ancient library and the world, characters and writing made sure that I went no-where. It starts off in the past with Jess when he is ten years old and shows his life with his family and just how much he reveres books. We then see him gaining entry to go train in Alexandria which is where it starts to get real interesting.
The concept of this book is such an interesting one and unthinkable one because I don’t think it really sunk in until way into the book that wait… THEY CAN’T OWN BOOKS?! It hit me like a freight train suddenly; they’re not allowed books in their homes. How dare they! A world where you are told you cannot own books; a world where it is so tightly controlled, is a deeply sad world. All knowledge is property of the Great Library of Alexandria; everyone even have journals they write in, their whole lives, that when you die the journal is given to the library for archives. Essentially…they are major control freaks! My level of loathing for some high level personnel in the library is sky high. They are evil! They seem to be in the habit of destroying lives and something in particular happens towards the end, that I can’t even… It is deeply sad and I was crying; I couldn’t believe that this happened and I so desperately need certain people to be removed from power.
The characters that I did like were each different in their personalities which was lovely to see and the bond that they formed was really sweet – tough times can really bring people together. I even started to like Dario a little. Scholar Wolfe I came to like and respect more and it just goes to show that first impressions are not always correct. It was lovely to slowly see more of Wolfe be revealed and I kind of have a real soft spot for him now.
The writing is well done, although sometimes it can feel a little slow and I also lost track of the length of time that had passed sometimes. The diversity of the characters and world was such a joy to read about and I was excited because I’ve never visited Alexandria before, in a book or real life. There’s also a war going on between Wales and England and I wondered whose side I would be on because I’m English but also part Welsh, but quickly decided I’d be on no-ones side because war is stupid! I’m on the side of no-one dying. The deep love that Jess has for books – and knowledge – is truly beautiful and touching.
“Jess understood at a fundamental level, that when he’d seen that book be destroyed, he’d seen a light pass out of the world.”
“Not all knowledge is books. Those out there, they’re history in stone. Men carved them. Men sweated in this sun to put them there, to make their city more beautiful. Who are you to say what’s worthy for men to see today, or tomorrow?”
All in all, Ink and Bone was a fascinating world to read about, with great characters and a villain you can really hate – I can’t wait to see what else unfolds.