Read It! "Ink and Bone" by Rachel Caine

Read It! "Ink and Bone" by Rachel Caine
Posted on 08/24/2020
"Ink and Bone" by Rachel CaineRead It!

Review of "Ink and Bone" by Rachel Caine
by Nicole S.

Hello! I was very excited to share this book club pick with you because I enjoyed it so much I had to get my hands on the rest of the series! I had suggested the book “Ink and Bone” by Rachel Caine to my friends for the virtual book club because it was one I had been wanting to read and had many fellow librarians highly recommend the book.  

The premise for this book was incredibly interesting to me because it revolved around the idea that the Great Library of Alexandria never burned down and now the Great Library holds all the power in society. What a concept! The Great Library is found in every city and they govern the knowledge and power. Through alchemy, the library shares knowledge and great works of history to the public however the personal ownership of books is considered forbidden. The story follows Jess Brightwell, who still believes in the value of the library despite his family’s business in the black market selling illegal books. Jess has been accepted to train at the library, which excites him, but his father wants to use it as an advantage to spy on the Great Library. Jess will have to decide where his loyalties lie – and even more so when its discovered that his friend has invented something that could change the world and the Great Library’s hold on knowledge.  

I enjoyed this book from cover to cover. Having understood the library’s value at a young age, it was such an interesting idea to have the Great Library be the one to hold all of the knowledge of the world and the power as well. What was a little hard to grasp was the setting and description of the world in this story. We start out in London in the year 2030 however the technology and buildings are described as it is still only the start of 19th century. That sparked a long discussion in our book club about why they had a hard time picturing this book as in the future. Since knowledge isn’t equally distributed to the masses that means even the earliest inventions we were accustomed to learning about didn’t exist. Instead of these inventions there is the discovery of alchemy, which is used throughout the Great Libraries as a way to transmit messages, items and even people back and forth.  

I also could find myself relating to the main protagonist, Jess Brightwell. He views books not as commodity or black market value but for the content and knowledge held within the books. He highly respects the values of the Great Library, or at least the values the Great Library used to hold, in high regards. As time progresses we learn that the Great Library isn’t what we initially view it to be and how it has evolved into something. Better or worse? I will let you decide if you end up reading this book! If you end up enjoying this book as much as I did you are in luck because it is the start of a series! There are 5 books in total to “The Great Library” series.  

If you like having the library as a big setting in the story check out other books like “The Invisible Library” series by Genevieve Cogman and “Sorcery of Thorns” by Margaret Rogerson

Look for my next post as I review our next book club pick “Nothing to See Here” by Kevin Wilson.   

For more reviews, virtual programs and more, visit the APL blog here.
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