Monday, July 27, 2015

Ink and Bone

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
by Rachel Caine
352 Pages

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.…

Black market book buyers, alchemy, alternate history, boarding school, rivalries, murder, government secrets... whew. Of course I picked it up because the premise was an alternate history where the Great Library of Alexandria survived. But the Library Controls. All. Information. Nobody is really even allowed to own books or a written word. Citizens receive tablets, and the library sends them a book, but when the citizen is done with the book their tablet is erased. No owning anything. Even newspapers don't stay around, so there's no written history. Our protagonist is sent to Alexandria in a scholarly competition among 30 kids to see who can get the 8 open spots in the library. So there are rivalries as in any competition, a very hard to please teacher, a rather uncaring government entity, and a dangerous assignment that proves which the Great Library of Alexandria values most: lives or words. 

I had high expectations of this book and it almost lived up to them. The beginning was rather slow, and didn't get interesting until we got to school. And didn't get exciting until their first real assignment. And to be honest, I thought some of the minor characters were more interesting than our protagonist. Despite this I still stayed up too late one night desperately reading, and wishing for the sequel as soon as I closed the book. 

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