Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

“Knowledge is all. The Library’s motto … it meant that nothing – nothing – was more valuable. Not even lives”

My love for books came a little late in life. At the time, I was a reader of physical books in hand. Since then I have only kept my favorites in print and have adopted various editions of kindle readers. Sure, I love the feel and smell of a book, but I love the convenience of an e-reader more.

The Great Library - illustration
Illustration of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt.

Whether or not you agree with me, Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine will transport you to a world where it is illegal to own real books. Imagine that you’re only allowed to own “blanks” which will provide you with the information and stories approved to be read by “The Great Library” of Alexandria (google for a history lesson). If you are caught in possession of an original work, it is confiscated and you are prosecuted. The wealth of information and knowledge is protected and distributed by The Great Library.

This control of information creates a huge black market for books. This is how we meet our main character Jess, known as a “cutter”, which is a runner of books. People pay high prices to obtain original works, and Jess is one of many kids who must run across the city with the books in hiding and avoid capture. Capture can lead to immediate death for the cutter and all of their connections. Following an unfortunate occurrence where Jess witnesses the destruction of an original book that he treasured, Jess no longer has the grit for being a cutter. He’s offered a reprieve by his unforgiving father but doesn’t realize until years later that it was all just clever scheming by his father for the use of Jess as a spy.

The power of The Great Library is maintained by its scholars, obscurists, and High Garda (library army). In Ink and Bone we see how little regard the elder scholars hold for human life. Nothing is more important than knowledge, but said knowledge must be controlled. Innovation is unwelcome. Those who wish to challenge or improve the system are silenced.

While working to become a trusted member of the Library, Jess will face situations where his loyalty will be tested. He faces the chance of death many times. There is heart ache and tragedy in this story but plenty of intrigue and suspense. promise gif I promise, you won’t want to put this book down.

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