Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Publication: July 7th 2015 by NAL
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Add this on: Goodreads

In a world where the Great Library of Alexandria was not destroyed, the library now rules supreme. Knowledge is both valued and strictly controlled. Jess has been sent to become a Librarian by his family of illegal booksellers, to spy on the library. As he endures the trials that come with becoming a Librarian, he begins to uncover disturbing secrets about the Library itself.

This is the first Rachel Caine novel that I've picked up, and also my first review on Paper Boulevard, so lots of firsts (on second though, perhaps two does not qualify as "lots", but I digress). Let's do this thing.

Jess took time to grow on me, but I found myself enjoying the cast of characters introduced once he got to Alexandria. Candidate Librarians of the Great Library come from all over the world, and are narrowed down from there, so the novel started off with a fairly broad cast of characters, and was narrowed down to focus on a few of them fairly quickly. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book.

A lot happens in the plot. We see Jess being sent by his family of pretty ruthless black market book sellers to the Library, his grueling training experience, including his first (somewhat unexpected) mission. With so much going on, and the new friendship Jess forms, the romance felt, honestly, rushed and unnecessary. It just didn't feel like there was an actual connection between them, and I can't quite put my finger on why.

I had mixed feelings about the world- on one hand I enjoyed it, on the other, I felt like there were unanswered questions. I imagine some of these will be answered in future novels, but some of the underlying aspects of the world still aren't entirely clear to me. If the Library took over during the time of Ancient Greece, how is the English language dominant, for one thing? How did the Library control effect how the world developed, aside from the obvious? Those questions aside, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this world, and I'm hoping to learn more about how the somewhat magical element works.

Overall, despite some elements that didn't work for me, I still enjoyed this novel, and I'm likely to pick up the sequel when it comes out, with hopes that some of my questions will be answered.


author image

Kelly

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at at my own blog since 2012, and I'll be helping Yani out here on Paper Boulevard as a co-blogger.
Kelly

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at my own blog and I'll be helping Yani out here on Paper Boulevard as a co-blogger.

14 comments

  1. Aww! I'm sorry you had mixed feelings about this book! I absolutely loved it! It was my first Caine book as well. I'm curious about same of her other series... anyway, I hope you (and I) love Paper and Fire when we get to read it next year!

    Fabulous review :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. Thanks!

      I'm hoping that this will be one of those series that gets stronger as it continues, because I think it definitely has potential to be something I really enjoy.

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  2. Happy to read your first review on the blog, Kelly! ❤ I would grab a copy of this someday so we'll have something MORE to talk about. Yay!

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  3. I hate unanswered questions, but this seems like an interesting read overall.

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    1. I'm hoping that some will be answered in the next book, but some seem to be gaps in the underlying worldbuilding, which is always unfortunate. It was still enjoyable, though, and if you're interested, it might be worth a try!

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  4. Sad to hear that the romance was rushed and there were unanswered questions but this is a really interesting concept. I didn't know there would a sequel though, I thought it was a standalone, but that's good to hear!

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    1. It really is an interesting concept- I do enjoy that the world is (essentially) ruled by the library, which pretty rigidly controls all information. I wish that there hadn't been that many falterings in the structure of the world, but it was still an enjoyable read. There's a titled sequel, and it is advertised as a series, so I assume there will be more than just two.

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  5. Wonderful review Kelly, I have this one to read this month and I'm looking forward to it! However, the answered questions and the romance would be something to look out for. Lovely review!

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    1. Thanks! It's such an interesting concept, and I did enjoy it despite a few things that I didn't love. I can't wait to hear what you think of it!

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  6. I hate when books have so many unanswered questions, hopefully in a sequel more will be revealed? I love when lots of things happen in a plot, so it's good to know this one moves along fairly quickly. Lovely review!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. I definitely appreciated the plot in this one, and hopefully the world and story will be more fleshed out in the next book. Thanks!

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  7. I'm glad you enjoyed this, Kelly! I'm sure those questions will have answers in the later book(s). And that cover is gorgeous :)

    Haraiah @ Random Things In Action

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    1. It is quite an interesting cover, I'm looking forward to seeing what the sequel's looks like. I'm really hoping that my questions will be answered, I'm not a fan of loose ends like these.

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