How The Great Library Got The Better Of Me - Ink and Bone (Review)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

TITLE: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)
AUTHOR: Rachel Caine
RELEASE DATE: July 7th, 2015
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“In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

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.…”

Did Not Finish

RELATED: Bitter Blood (Morganville #13)Daylighters (Morganville #15)

My Thoughts:

Overall, I rather enjoyed Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series and I thought her YA standalone Shakespeare retelling Prince Of Shadows was pretty good too. When I found out she was writing a book about The Great Library and it sounded like a dystopian novel, I was excited.

Page one was basically a letter from the head honcho at The Great Library saying women weren't good enough to learn. And page two was the response saying "His divine wisdom can kiss my common arse. We blind and hobble half of the world through such ignorance and I will not have it."

It was wonderful and I was going to love this book, I just knew it. 

Unfortunately, this book and I were not meant to be.

What I liked:

  • The Setting.

The world Rachel Caine created was interesting. It was sort of a steampunk-dystopian mashup. The Great Library controlled everything. Owning an original book was a crime where you better hoped you died quickly if caught. 

Then there was the whole Victorian Steampunk era feel this world evoked. Even though the story was set in the future, we traveled on trains and in carriages, dodged killer automatons, and it was just awesome.

My What I Didn't Like:

  • The Characters.

I tried. I really wanted to love Jess and co. But I couldn't. Right from the very start Jess and I did not get along. I don't know why, I can't put it into words. He was an interesting boy, trapped in this book smuggling role with a father who would disown him should he be caught. Yet he bored me.

And the rest? I didn't connect with any of the characters we met on the train or at The Great Library either.

  • Slow

Despite an epic cop chase, complete with killer automatons at the beginning, the book just did not have enough going to keep my attention. 

About the time I stopped reading (pg 76) we were starting to get more details about the world through Q&As at the "school" they are in. I use the term "school" lightly because they had roles to fill, wanted only the best, and I don't think anyone would have cared if they all died in a mishap. 

But there wasn't enough action there for me. I found myself skimming these details out because I did not care much.


There was a tiny grain of curiosity that my boredom didn't completely snuff out, so I might have continued reading Ink and Bone if I didn't have to return it to the library the next day.

I may pick this one up again or I may not. I think I'll wait to see what more of my blogger friends think before I decide.

"Not going to ask what I'm about, are you? Well played. You're like your brother in that way: both thinkers. Means you're sharp, and that's good. Need a sharp mind out in the cold, cruel world."

"You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never just be a business to you."

"A man cannot be reduced to paper, to lines and letters! He cannot be consigned to a shelf! A life is worth more than a book!"


  1. Congrats on being able to put down a read that is not working for you. I need to do that more often. But, as you know, time is too short to read a crummy book! Have a great weekend.

    1. Why is it so hard to ever put down a book? Especially one that just isn't working for you?

      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. I finished this but I am so glad I'm not alone in not liking it. Everyone talks about how it's the greatest book ever for booknerds~!~!~!~!~!~! and I'm like "oh no what am I missing??" Thanks for the great review (and the reassurance)

    Jamie @ Books and Ladders

    1. Same here! So glad I'm not alone. I was tempted to restart it to make sure I was reading the same book as everyone else. But then I remembered why I sat it down and got over that impulse.

      Thank you for stopping by.


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