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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The general premise is that the library at Alexandria was never destroyed. Instead, it thrived and became The Library, a world power unto itself. It began as a shining ideal, to preserve all knowledge and make it available to everyone, through “blanks” (books) they supply. Over the years The Library began to care more for preserving and expanding its own power than its original mission.

Jess is a book smuggler. He’s part of the underground that sells illegal original books to anyone who can pay. He fears The Library because they’d kill him if they caught him. Then he gets the chance–or the curse–to enter Library training.

There’s a huge theme about paper books vs ebooks running through this story, with The Library’s blanks taking the part of ebooks. Now, I was reading this as an ebook and didn’t find it to be just “words on a page” that didn’t move me, as Jess thinks about blanks. But that theme isn’t alone; it’s accompanied by that of who controls the knowledge. And that’s where I really felt The Library’s evil. (To sum up: all books good; suppressing knowledge bad.)

There’s one piece of knowledge in particular The Library suppresses. A piece of knowledge that crops up in different places and times by different people, no matter how hard they try to erase it. It’s the absolute perfect thing for The Library to suppress and it had me thinking about the tremendous changes the lack of this would have wrought on the world. Loved it.

Chapters of ephemera are interspersed with chapters of action, and that’s a style choice that worked very well for this book. The ephemera is knowledge, of course, communications, books, etc. And it’s there, underpinning the story even though our characters don’t (yet) know it. It’s also the foundation of The Library, and that foundation is rotten. It was a nice touch.

I’m in for this series. I love thinking and reading about communication and knowledge and stories, and this is right up my alley.

View all my reviews

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Written by tldegray

January 4, 2016 at 10:16 am

Posted in Book Reviews

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