Publisher: Allison and Busby
Release Date: 7th July 2015
Edition: UK paperback, purchased
Other Titles by this Author: Weather Warden series, Morganville Vampires series, Revivalist trilogy, Red Letter Days duology, Outcast Season series, Prince of Shadows
Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.
In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.
Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar…but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.
Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life – and soon both heretics and books will burn…
I’ve been a fan of Rachel Caine’s for a really long time and I’ve been fascinated with ancient history for even longer so when I heard that Caine would be writing a series about a world where the Great Library of Alexandria had survived, I was immediately sold.
The Great Library is the dream of booklovers, scholars and historians everywhere so it was fascinating to see the idea turned into something scary and corrupted. Ink and Bone take place fifteen years in the future of an alternate London. The Great Library has wielded control over original books for hundreds of years and possession of these books is illegal. Only digital blanks authorised by the Library are allowed to be owned by individuals, so there’s a thriving black market for these priceless tomes. Jess Brightwell’s father is a famed smuggler and he’s sent Jess to Alexandria to compete for a position inside the Library and provide valuable information for the Brightwell’s family business.
Jess thought he knew all about the corrupt power of the Library but life under the tutorage of Scholar Wolfe in Alexandria he realises that there’s even more danger in his future than he expected. I loved the secrets and the mysteries and the feeling that Jess couldn’t really trust anyone, and if he did and ended up genuinely liking them, they could be pulled from under his feet. It kept me on my toes!
When the postulants are nearing the end of their training and being given their posts in the Library they are called to Oxford to rescue a slew of original books from the Bodleian Library. But Oxford is now the front line in the war between Wales and England and there’s a chance they won’t make it back to Alexandria. I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure why Wales and England are at war, but it was very obvious that the Welsh were winning significantly. The people of England are poor and starving and resigned to dying under the hands of the Welsh. I really would have liked to know more about the war as most of the action in Ink and Bone takes place around it, but that could very easily have been me missing something – I read a lot of this novel very late at night! The action was intense and I loved the way it brought the postulants together and firmly onto the same team.
Ink and Bone has an incredibly diverse cast and even though not many of the characters are likable, they’re all really interesting. The way that their backgrounds, families and origins influence their opinions and experiences of the Library was really cool and I loved that each character had different strengths and weaknesses. I especially enjoyed Wolfe’s development. He went from an annoyance to someone that everyone liked and respected; he had a hell of a lot more going on underneath than first appeared. He ended up being one of my very favourite characters.
Ink and Bone is a novel of secrets and spies, corruption and danger; a brilliant opening to an intriguing series.