I HAD heard a lot of good things about this book, although I haven't read the author's previous works before, so I was very ambivalent when I started.
1. I wasn't really expecting to love this? I don't know why, but I never really felt like picking it up. But seeing the really good reviews on Goodreads, I thought I'd give it a try.
2. Loved Jess from the very first sentence where we met him. (Although I thought Jess was a girl at first? So I was pretty confused for about a minute.
3. Firstly, he's the son of a criminal. That in itself made me love him. But he has so many other fabulous qualities! I mean, he's SMART and SWEET and so CONFLICTED over his family and friends! Plus. HE LOVES BOOKS. HE READS A HECK OF A LOT. (I have found my kindred spirit in him. Shush, he is mine.)
4. And his friends? THE BESTEST THING EVER. But we'll get to that in a moment because
5. THE CONCEPT OF THIS BOOK. FABULOUS! MARVELLOUS!! *WILD APPLAUSE* If I was rating just based on the idea behind this book, I'd give it 5/5 stars! Not to mention the execution was incredibly successful!! A Library! In an alternate universe!! That impacts the lives of everyone living there!! Governed by power-hungry people who value books over life!!
6. Gah, and the writing! Pulled me in with the first sentence. I thought the pacing was a bit off in a FEW places, but the narrative voice of the author is SO GOOD. It pulled me in to the story, and FORCED ME TO CARE ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS WHO WILL SURELY BREAK MY HEART.
7. And speaking of these characters, I adored them all; Khalila (who uses her intelligence like a weapon and is awesome and also wears a hijab - YESS DIVERSITY!!), Thomas (who is a sweet little German teddy bear who is ALSO crazily intelligent), Glain (who is Welsh and militaristic and slightly abrasive but still made you care about her), Dario (who is Spanish and rich and fiery and kinda bratty, but who you will still secretly like despite the aforementioned brattiness) and Wolfe (who is their mentor and tries his best to make us dislike him but fails utterly.)
8. And basically this wonderful cast of characters who are so diverse and makes you want to squish them.
9. I have to admit I was lost a little with the way this alternate universe worked. They have lots of complicated ways of doing stuff, and confusing terms (and I'm still not sure what "blanks" are?) and lots of different important people like Obscurists and the Magnus Artifex (is it truly terrible that I STILL don't know exactly what they do? I mean, they gave this big explanation pretty early on, but my goldfish brain kind of skipped over all those parts.)
10. So it's not the most perfect of books, and I can't give it a full five stars. But GOSHH I still really liked this book. The characters, the writing, the constantly evolving plot, the CONCEPT (ohh, the concept!!!) AND JUST WELL DONE, RACHEL CAINE!! *applause once more for this lovely lady*
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 his friend 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…
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Publisher: Berkeley Publishing
Release date: July 7th 2015
*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy!*