Series: The Great Library #1
Published by NAL on July 7th 2015
Our reviews of this author: Paper and Fire
Ink and Bone is an addictive, intense read that shares a love for books with the reader.
In the world of Ink and Bone, knowledge can sometimes be viewed as a virus, if left to spread, it can cause corruption. So, what do you do with something infectious? You try to contain and control it. That is what The Great Library does. All physical books are possessed and controlled by the Great Library (does that sound “great” to you??). Owning books is illegal. Like, very illegal. There are automatons that will seek out and destroy not just people caught in possession of a book, but any poor bystanders that may inadvertently get between the automaton and their target. The Library does allow people to read and learn. It just must be from selected/approved works that are downloadable onto what they call blanks. They don’t use the word download, there’s some magic involved here, but ultimately, it is the same concept of downloading. It’s censoring to an extreme.
I loved this book, I loved how the importance of books is stressed, I loved how you could see the longing for both physical books and the ability to access what ever they might happen to want to read. I found it refreshing as the source of conflict even though I know it is far from a new concept. I also became quite attached to Jess, out protagonist. He comes from a family of smugglers, grew up with access to real books. He has seen the darker side of The Library and has read and appreciated much of what is banned for public consumption. Pretty much, he loves books and while what his family does is illegal, he can see the value in it, can appreciate why people want these books, and feels the difference between holding an actual book versus holding a blank. Even though I am a huge fan of ebooks, I would never want to deny someone the experience of holding and appreciating an actual book.
While Jess may appreciate the desire to own books, he is also not blinded by family ties. He can see faults in his family, including his twin brother and his father. His father has decided Jess can best serve the family as a spy from within the Library. This requires passing a test, going to school, and then being selected to serve. It is a prestigious/honorable position. It will put Jess in with the books he loves (in a legal way). So what will happen if Jess gets placed as his father wants? And what will happen if he does not? There are some very exciting and tense moments. The book was very well paced and actually, incredibly hard to put down.
The only thing even close to a negative I can think of is that there is a touch of romance that I felt came on rather quick. But I liked the romance, so I don’t want to really complain. It’s just the way it is. Given that I can have a strong negative reaction sometimes to quick romances and this one I just felt seems a tad rushed, but still very good I think speaks highly of it.
I don’t read much Young Adult, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It has everything going for it, a great concept, a very likable protagonist, an addictive quality that keeps you turning pages way later than you know should. Highly recommend.
Review originally posted on Tenacious Reader.