Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)

Ink and Bone


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 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… (Summary and cover courtesy of


I really liked the idea of this book, but was disappointed in the execution.  At the beginning I found it quite slow and then once the story did get going, there were a lot of “oh how convenient” moments.  Jess is put in an awkward position being at the Library and yet he continually does whatever people tell him to do.  I never got the true sense of what he wants to do at any one point.

Jess finds a romantic interest to add a little more flair about halfway through the book, but it felt forced and never seemed to develop naturally.  It was an insta-love that they then maintain and I just didn’t quite buy it.  I liked the concept and may continue the series because of that enjoyment, but I’m not sure where the story will go.  This novel felt chopped off at the conclusion like the author wasn’t sure where to finish things.  In the end, I think this is a book with fantastic world-building and a great concept, but a so-so story.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Dystopian young adult fans who find historical twists intriguing.

Want to read the whole series?

  • Tigers in the Cage (The Great Library #0.1)
  • Stormcrow (The Great Library #0.5)
  • Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
  • Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)