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Review: Ink and Bone


Title:Ink and Bone

Author:Rachel Caine

Series: Book 1

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩



This is basically a world/universe where the Great Library of Alexandria survived and through alchemy, the Library can deliver any book to someone instantly onto their “blanks” (in my head it’s like a tablet). However, owning personal copies of books/originals is forbidden. In this way, the Library controls the flow of knowledge. Books are viewed as more important than lives. Jess Brightwell and his family are part of a network of book smugglers that are sold on the black market. When his father sends him to try out for a position in the Library he’s excited to have the chance to finally leave his past behind. But it’s not long before he figures out the Library has its secrets too.

divider-51Favorite Characters

My favorites were definitely… way too many. I liked many of the characters but if I’m picking a top three I’d probably narrow it down to Jess, Morgan, and Wolfe. Jess was made fun of for liking books beyond the reason that they were a source of income. I could relate to being that weird person just because you like to read. I think most book lovers can. I was also right there with him when he was horrified at a book being damaged. Trust me, I nearly cried in Supernatural when they were going to set the library in the bunker on fire.

Morgan was great too because she was strong enough to do what she needed to. She was resourceful and spirited, she never gave up. I liked Wolfe for the same reasons. He seemed like a jerk at first, but I’m so glad that we got to know more about him (especially from the Ephemera).

divider-51Favorite Scenes

► This one exchange between the scribe of Pharaoh Ptolemy II and Callimachus in the first ephemera had me laughing out loud. It was so simple, but the way it went from formal to “screw you” was so quick it caught me off guard.

His divine wisdom can kiss my common arse.

► I also liked the idea of Jess coming from a family of smugglers, and how he was the black sheep of the family. It was interesting too, how the brothers ended up changing sides pretty much when they grew up.

“You’re clever Jess, but Da’s wrong about one thing: you don’t just have ink in your blood. It’s in your bones.”

► The concept of the Library was great. It was pretty much the center of the story, but I mean… wow, I just really loved it. The Ink Lickers, Burners, statues, the Iron Tower–just everything.

The library holds itself to be the keeper of both knowledge and wisdom, but it is not true. So much should never be held in the hands of so few, for it is a natural, venal habit of men to hold to power. And knowledge is the purest form of power.

► Dario could be a real pain, but he was funny and came through when they needed him the most.

“Well, it’s like kissing one’s sister,” Dario said. “If you have the bad taste to do it, you don’t talk about it.”

► I liked Wolfe because he knew when to follow orders and do what needed to be done (even if he didn’t like it) in order to keep others safe. But he was also really freaking bold. I liked that he still had the courage to write what he thought.

If you ever wanted to prove that the Library is full of coldhearted bastards who value books above lives, we have done that for you.



I’ve been meaning to read this for a while because I loved her Morganville Vampire series, so here goes:

This book had a really interesting concept. It’s a futuristic/alternative universe where the Great Library of Alexandria survived, and owning books is forbidden. It felt like a really interesting interpretation of the dangers that come about from censorship and controlling the flow of knowledge (maybe a little like today, huh?). The Library had a much darker side than I imagined it would be, and I think that made the story interesting because it did catch me a bit off-guard. At the same time, however, it’s kind of a while before you really find that out.

At the same time, however, it’s kind of a while before you really find that out. The story slows down a bit during the testing period with Wolfe at the Ptolemy House. To be fair, it does give the reader a chance to really get to know these characters. If you feel it’s a little slow just hold on until they go into the war zone to retrieve the books and then it really picks up fast. This is where the characters grow and you get to know them as they are inside. Before they were influenced by a competitive environment, but now it’s a need for survival and it brings out their true natures.

This is also where you find out what really matters to the Library, and what they’re willing to do to get it done. The Ephemera may seem like afterthoughts but it answers a lot of questions about the main characters’ state of mind and motivations.

Overall, I’d say it’s a great start to the series. I’m already starting the second book and I have the ARC for the third, so I’m excited to see where the series goes.


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