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Ink and Bone (Great Library) Library Binding – April 5, 2016
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Dark, riveting, heart-in-the-throat storytelling, with characters who caught me up and hold me even now. A don't-miss read! "New York Times" Bestselling Author Tamora Pierce
Caine has always given readers entertaining and interesting books Fans will fall in love with Jess and want the next book out immediately. "USA Today"
Caine s elegantly detailed descriptions bring Jess s world to vivid life in a fast-paced, action-oriented plot that will leave readers breathlessly anticipating not just the next page but the next book in the Great Library Series. "Publishers Weekly "(starred review)
A thrill-a-minute adventure This first entry into the Great Library series has pieces that mirror the excitement and bitterness of the Hunger Games series and contains some of the psychological elements of the Harry Potter books. "Booklist" (starred review)
A strong cast of characters and nail-biting intensity make for a promising start to this series. "School Library Journal"
A modern masterpiece Fellow bibliophiles, expect to be some variation on struck awestruck, dumbstruck, starstruck, maybe even thunderstruck A new series to thrill every bookworm s heart! "Christian Science Monitor"
"Caine's world where books and libraries dominate is not for the faint of heart...What's not to love? Imagine Harry Potter where the real magic is found within the pages of ancient texts. This book proves the adage that knowledge is power." "RT Book Reviews" (41/2 stars, top pick)
Reminds me of Jim C. Hines libriomancy series An intriguing world. "Locus""
About the Author
- Publisher : Turtleback Books; Bound for Schools & Libraries ed. edition (April 5, 2016)
- Language : English
- Library Binding : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0606393285
- ISBN-13 : 978-0606393287
- Reading age : 14 - 17 years
- Lexile measure : HL750L
- Grade level : 9 - 12
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.4 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Jess lives in a world where books are controlled by The Great Library. The Great Library controls the flow of information in the world. Jess starts off as a runner for his family. His family steals original versions of books and trades them in the black market. Jess isn’t really interested in the family business. His father could see that early on, and set him up with a good education. An education good enough to get him into The Great Library’s service so he could continue to work for his family from the inside. Working for the The Great Library would mean Jess is employed by the enemy.
There are three kinds of people in this world.
Librarians: work for The Great Library and control the information of the world
Dealers: who steal and deal original copies of rare books
Burners: who burn books for political protest
Everyone has a journal at birth and is encouraged to write about their lives, the journals become part of the library once a person dies. The Great Library looks good and safe, but it is actually the very thing keeping progress from happening in this world. No one but the library gets original books. In a whole lifetime, you may gain access to an electronic book or get a copied one. Almost no one gets to see an original book.
Books are power in this world. Since the library has all the power, and people don’t know any better, a position with The Great Library is a coveted position. In this word there are no printing presses, no way for a book to be shared. All of the best ideas and technology are used for the library only. Oppression is a thing. Which brings a need for Burners. They don’t want the library to have all the power, they burn books and librarians in protest. They are a real threat to librarians throughout the world.
Jess is sent into training with The Great Library after passing the entrance exam. He might be the most promising student from his part of the world, but he finds he is just one of many who wants a life working with books. The whole story follows Jess in his studies and his rivalries with other students in Alexandria. Some of this story was reminiscent of Harry Potter, but these kids are older. The stakes are higher. The students are more twisted, and there is much more at stake.
The world building in Ink and Bone is pretty amazing. We get to see so much of this world and it is flawlessly described for the reader. I had no problem seeing the world. I have to admit the beginning of this book is a bit slow, but once I got past the first few chapters, and into Jess’ journey, I was completely sucked in. All of the characters are well written. Jess is torn throughout most of this story between reaching his potential for the library and pleasing his family. He knows more than most of his peers and that knowledge is dangerous.
There was a bit of romance, but it is so damned complicated. I loved Morgan and Jess together. There is also some great friendships. Those are hard won though. They also get pretty complicated. Within this story is a great adventure and a lot of danger.
This book made me so grateful to have access to books and knowledge without persecution. I really enjoyed this book. It ends in a good place with no cliffhangers. I want more of the story though, so I can’t wait to read the sequel. Fans of books and YA fictional history will enjoy this story.
An alternate reality where the Library of Alexandria survives?!?! It’s every book lover’s dream- sign me up!!!!!
Actually, that’s exactly what I did. I originally put in a request through Netgalley to view “Ash and Quill”. I quickly learned that “Ash and Quill” was book number 3 in “The Great Library” series and I would need to be (better) acquainted with the characters AND story line. Luck must have been on my side because I also had the opportunity to review “Ink and Bone” (book number 1 in “The Great Library” series”. I was destined to read this series- so I took it upon myself to purchase book 2 to bring them all together.
What exactly does this world look like with preserved knowledge? Pretty similar to today, just a larger emphasis on knowledge running the world. Even in this bookworm’s world, someone is always hungry for power. People are still put into groups, and it seems each group has it’s own caste system. And yet again as we spiral down to the underprivileged, groups and caste systems dissipate and it’s an absolute free-for-all for survival.
The Library, which is essentially the government, primarily focus on:
“Knowledge is Power”
However, knowledge is not meant for all. It’s true that the highest positions within the Library are privy to every and all information. It is up to the positions of power to filter out (or in) what they deem necessary. If it’s an original work that could bring about rebellion, the inventor is labeled a heretic, his/her original text is sent to the black archives, and the library is saved. If it’s an original work that benefits the present and future, the Obscurists (think of them ALMOST as magicians) will copy the original work into blanks. Blanks could be a hit or miss. Information may be omitted or added to depending on the idea the Library is trying to convey.
“Knowledge is Power”
It is in in that simple motto where groups start to break down.
Smugglers: wish to preserve original books: it is their trade: money to be made.
Burners: political statement: will burn any book to break the Library’s hold on originals
Obscurists: the group in the library that “mirror’s” original books
Scholars: protect any and all books, no matter the costs
Readers are introduced to Jess Brightwell- who at the time is 10 years old. The Brightwell family runs a book smuggling operation- not just any books; originals. Just because you are a young member of the family, does not mean you are exempt from smuggling duty. Jess knows for certain he does not want a future career within the family business. One prominent memory for Jess was a run were a customer dubbed an “ink licker” ate an original book, for:
“. . .there’s no act of possession more complete than consuming the unique. . .”
Jess may have been born into a book smuggling business, but ,
“. . .[he] was born with ink in his blood. . .”
making him consciously aware that he would do anything to protect a book.
Tired of paying for a son who refuses to take over the family business, Callum (ever the opportunist) decides to use his son for bigger and better things; placement in the Library, and a chance to make return investment on years of tutelage.
Jess passes the placement test, sending him to Alexandria with a train full of hopeful postulants. Whilst on the train ride, we learn of the other characters who will frequent the books:
Thomas: from Germany. Has a large build, and hopes to get placed in engineering.
Khalila: from the Middle East, very pretty, the first person to EVER score 100% on the exams.
Glain: Welsh, solid dislike for Jess since he’s English and they’re in a war; very plain, brash.
Dario: spanish, arrogant- used to getting what he wants.
Morgan: late arrival; on the run from the library, safest place is right under their nose for the time being.
Scholar Wolfe: intimidating; black robes, shoulder length hair, not the average teacher. Forced into teaching as a punishment (although the reader will not know that until much later).
Santi: member of the High Garda, assigned to Scholar Wolfe
So for the most part this is our rag tag team for the series. Naturally there are other minor characters introduced throughout, but these here are your main focus.
Scholar Wolfe is expected to whittle down his applicants to 6; through lessons, practical life lessons, hand on tasks, as well as common sense training. The Library deems them fit to go on a mission to Oxford for the retrieval of Originals at the sister library. The problem? They are walking right in the middle of the English/Welsh war.
Even in this alternate reality, history repeats itself. Usually, repeated ideas are the most dangerous, and most likely to draw (unwanted) attention from the Library; which is exactly what Thomas has done. Thomas has invented a machine that renders Obscurists obsolete, as well as challenging the powerful hold the library has on it’s information flow. What innocent Thomas is unaware of, is his invention has actually been “invented” before. . .centuries, decades, and years prior. Each invention discovered, each inventor silenced and/or tortured, and all evidence of either of the two ever existing wiped clean.
Luckily, our crew of miscreants has someone seasoned in the Library’s conduct; Scholar Wolfe. It is through Wolfe’s intuition that leads Jess to realize Thomas has been taken. It is through a hypnotic trance that Wolfe is able to tell the group where Thomas may be kept, and it is Wolfe’s ability to help everyone steer clear from the Library as much as possible.
Throughout the 3 books it’s Battle—–>Rescue—–>Rest—–>Repeat. Not only do we have human obstacles our group must face, but also automated (specifically engineered for the Library) and chemical.
Unbeknownst to me, I originally thought this was only a 3 book series. Upon looking up information on Goodreads, I learned that it is actually a 5 book series (YAY!!!!). In my personal opinion, this series (all around) is an amazing read. I typically love alternate realities, but lately it seems that they have been overdone. By breathing life back into the Library of Alexandria, it gives a historical spin on what “could have” been our future. The story line flows- for the most part, I did not hit a boring spot that I had to put down and take a break. Caine has developed this world beautifully- everything is well thought out, described, and intoxicating. The depth of the characters makes you easily fall in love with them- and I HIGHLY suggest at starting with book 1, do not skip books.
It is also my opinion that this series be developed either into a video game (yes you read that right!) or a TV series. Yes, I loved it that much, and I really think it would do well! So, here at Quitterstrip, I cannot wait to continue with this series.
All 3 books get a solid 4 star rating
Top reviews from other countries
The book centres on Jess Brightwell, a young man who is sent to the Great Library in Alexandria to study and hopefully work for them. But the Libraries in this world as not like the libraries we all know. In Jess's world, the great Library has seized power; it has its own army and it has made it illegal to own your own books. The library maintains that what it does, it does for the greater good. But is it really a force for good? Or will it do anything to hold onto the power it has?
I really liked this book! It’s a fascinating look into the power of information, who has it, who controls and why. It really dives right into exploring the power of knowledge and the written word. And books! You can tell this book was written by a bookworm, it really captures the magical quality of books and why we read. The first scene in the book with the lengths Jess has to go to complete his mission and the Ink Licker, though rather disturbing, really hammered home why reading, knowledge and history is so important.
There was a few things I didn't like about this book, hence why I only gave it 4 stars. The relationships between some of the characters felt a little forced, especially Jess's and his love interest. The blurb on here is also quite misleading; the so called heresy is not the primary focus of the book! So much other stuff happens! Which I won't get into as I don't want to spoil the book for anyone else, but there is a lot more to this book than Jess just discovering what his friend has done.
Maybe a slight spoiler here, but the book is quite dark. There is a lot of death (not all we see, but still, it’s there), there is a war and the Great Library itself has a very ruthless streak. So you can imagine the kind of stuff that is hinted at or mentioned. None of this is that explicit, the author does not go in that much detail, which I think is a testament to how well she has written this book and parts still made me very uncomfortable. This is no means a light hearted read, but it’s a very good one! So if I haven't completely put you off by this review, check it out for yourself!
It's 2025, the Great Library of Alexandria never fell and instead it and its agents rule the written word. Jess and h S family are book smugglers, selling real books to the highest bidder, a job that requires stealth and cunning to deliver contraband under the noses of the English Garda.
When he is 16 years old Jess' father informs him that he will never be ruthless enough to take over the business because he values books more than his own life, instead he has bought him an opportunity to join the library by taking the entrance exams in London.
Soon Jess is on his way to Alexandria with a group of similar postulates to undergo a series of tests to determine who is worthy to join the Library, whether as garda, scholar, obscurist or other.
Imagine a world where: automata guard various daughter libraries across the world; where everyone is given a personal journal at birth, which is then returned to the Library at death; where Burners rebel for the freedom to keep their own thoughts private from the Library; where people can download books into 'blanks' to read and the wealthy can own a library of blanks; where the Library is omnipotent and resistant to change.
I love a good fantasy series, I grew up on David Eddings and Robert Jordan and this reminded me of why I love them so much; the group of characters, the misfits, the rebellion. So glad I already have the next two books ready to read.
Bonus? It's only 99p on Kindle at the moment.
This is an alternative world in which the great library at Alexandria was never destroyed and where all books are controlled by the Library which is now a state employing its own police as well as librarians. Jess comes from a family of book smugglers and he has obtained his place on a training scheme for potential library employees in order to assist his family. The group of young people brought together to train come from very varied backgrounds and are united in their hatred for their trainer and the harsh regime. As time progresses unlikely alliances are made and it turns out that nothing about the Library is quite what it seems.
In Jess the author has created an independently minded young man who is torn between his family and what he knows is right. He has a lot of useful skills but he comes to rely on his fellow trainees and their skills and friendship too. The author has created a diverse bunch of people in ways which are not very obvious at first. The argue and fall out and even betray each other but adversity strengthens them and they find that they have a common enemy in the increasingly sinister Library.
This is a hugely imaginative book which reads very like a steam punk novel - there are some automaton which are truly frightening.. The characterisation is great and there are some great set pieces. It is the plot that makes the book a success though as we move along at a great pace from one crisis to another not always knowing where we are going - an excellent read.
Fun fact: Rachel Caine's Morganville series is what got me into serious reading. My sister bought each book as it was published and when she outgrew them, she gave them all to me. And I'm not kidding, Rachel Caine's (and Darren Shan) vampire novels are what inspired me to write and strive to become an author. And I think The Great Library will overthrow Morganville as my favourite Caine series. It was SO GOOD!
Seventeen-year-old Jess comes from a family of book smugglers, in a time in which it is illegal to own printed novels. If you want access to a book, it must come from the Great Library in Alexandria, but owning the books yourself is against the law. Jess is sent by his father to the library to train with other students to get a position in the Great Librarian - but also to be a spy for his family, and get books his family to smuggle. But soon Jess realizes that the Great Library isn't what it seems. His loyalties will be tested in many ways, and Jess will be forced to choose a side.
Right from the start, this whole book was so suspenseful and ominous. No book will ever be perfect but, damn, this was so perfect for me. The beautiful description of Alexandria, to the frightening appearance of the Burners and the Library. (I'm not kidding, I was mentally screaming when a man started EATING A RARE ARISTOTLE BOOK)
I think my favourite thing about the book was the diversity. I loved the supporting characters so much, and they were the best part of the book for me. Jess is the protagonist, but there are several other students. There were twenty at first, but only six spots are open. Dario, Jess's roommate in Alexandria, is a nuisance, but I think I liked him by the time we got to the end. Khalila is an intelligent girl. (she's also wearing a hijab which made me sooo happy!! I kept telling my family- "Look there's a Muslim character in here! She's smart and amazing!") Thomas is a friendly boy with a very smart creative engineering mind. Glain is a cold Welsh girl, mainly to Jess, because of the conflict between their home countries. Morgan is a late arrival, mysterious and odd to everything, especially Jess. Wolfe is the Scholar who is in charge of the students, and he is ruthless and a bit scary. Captain Santi keeps guard of the students and Scholar. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like Wolfe at first but he’s an interesting one, once you get to know him...
I highly recommend this to anyone!!! A creative, alternative history world with amazing writing and characters who love books. I'm so excited for the sequel, and I'm so glad I'll be done with exams by the time it's released!
We meet a string of characters who complement Jess’s quest; Thomas is the friendly giant who excels in engineering, Dario is the pain in Jess’s butt, and Morgan is the potential romantic interest. My favourite character is Wolfe, the tutor, who takes no prisoners. He reminds me so much of Snape from Harry Potter, even down to the flowing cloak.
The characters are brought to life with expert ease; the fast-paced story keeping you hooked from the first page until the cliffhanger ending. Although the story is left wide open for book two (and hopefully three and four), it is wrapped up in such a way that you don’t feel cheated.
There are tears, laughs and tender moments, where the characters you believed were one thing, shock you and tested your beliefs.
Any fan of young adult and fantasy will love this book.