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…(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
First off, this isn’t another dystopian: it’s an alternate universe, one in which the Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, books are unbelievably precious, and the library controls just about everything. And that’s not an exaggeration, either. I mean EVERYTHING.
Our main character, Jess, comes from a family of book smugglers. There’s no such thing as a printing press, so no one actually owns original copies. Book smuggling is hugely against the law, so, naturally, book smugglers use children (called Cutters) to deliver the books. I mean, I understand using kids to an extent (they’re small and cute and are often looked over, and I wouldn’t think they’d be punished as badly as an adult), but they run across the city in packs. THEY RUN. IN HUGE PACKS. AND DRAW ATTENTION TO THEMSELVES. I mean, have two or three or four kids running after a ball or something, but don’t have a pack of twenty or thirty kids just bolting across the city. It practically screams, “WE’RE DOING SOMETHING MOST LIKELY AGAINST THE LAW, PLEASE ARREST US!”
Also, it was confusing because there was science that was possibly magic? Like they’ve got blank books that sound like tablets that the Scholars use, but there’s also this weird teleportation thing and also Obscurists? I really have no idea. Possibly science, possibly magic…maybe a later book will explain more.
Also, what was the purpose of Ink Lickers? Maybe it’ll come into play in a later book, but I really didn’t understand it. The Burners, too, seemed almost thrown in as an afterthought, but everything hints about having something more too it.
And the characters…Jess was an adorable little book lover, who had a strange feud with Dario, which is really unreasonable and also rather funny. There’s Thomas, who is a sweetheart and everyone likes and he’s basically a big, fluffy teddy bear who’s also super smart. Then there’s Khalila, who’s basically the smartest of the smart; she got 100% on a test that’s supposed to be super, super hard. There’s Glain, the Welsh girl who doesn’t really get along with Jess because of the whole “we’re from two countries that don’t like each other thing”. Morgan, who shows up late and is super mysterious and also Jess’s love interest. And, finally, Wolfe, the instructor who seems like he’s going to be a bad guy at the beginning of the book and is actually NOT.
There’s also war and blood and secrets and beautiful writing. But it’s not exactly a book you can read in a few hours: it took me a couple of days to read it even though I could have read it in a day. You never really get bored, you just kind of meander your way slowly through it.
But, basically, THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT BOOKS, which is like the greatest idea ever, and even if I did have a few problems with it, I still totally recommend it. Because BOOKS.
So, uh, I’ve been accused of plagiarizing my own blog. I thought it would be worth it to post a couple of reviews on another website, but they didn’t accept my review of Panic by Lauren Oliver because they said I plagiarized it. From here. That resulted in an argument about how this is my blog and I wasn’t plagiarizing and they didn’t believe me. DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOW, OH MODERATORS OF OTHER WEBSITE?
Anyways, how many of you have read Ink and Bone? Did you like it? Did you not like it? DO YOU LIKE BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS? I sure do.