Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

 

Ink and Bone cover

In another timeline, in another world where magic and science overlap, the library at Alexandria was never destroyed. Instead, it grew. In the time of the pharaohs the library spread it’s knowledge to satellite libraries known as Serapeum, making copies of it’s knowledge so that it would never be lost.

Millennia later, The Library rules the world. Knowledge is power and the library controls all knowledge. Those who want to read must request the texts be loaded to their tablet like devices called blanks; empty books who’s pages fill with text sent from the Library archives. Original copies of books are banned from circulation.

Jess Brightwell has been raised with a reverence for original books. His father runs one of the biggest smuggling organizations in London and specializes in books. Jes has been raised in the trade, but when he is invited to train at the Library itself, he cannot pass up the opportunity.

In Alexandria, Jess meets others like him. Young people who have dreamed all their lives of working for the Library and who will do almost anything for the chance. At home, Jess was the smartest person in the room, the typical young hero in the making. He did what his family asked of him but in secret he treasured the books they smuggled, frequently sneaking away to read them before they were sold. Exactly the type of protagonist readers can sympathize with and grow to like quickly. It helps even more that in Alexandra, Jess is average at best. He goes from being the shining star to one star among many. It’s a strange feeling that adults will recognize and younger readers will benefit from being exposed to before they go off to college or the workforce.

The book really kicks off when Jess’ mechanically skilled friend Thomas develops a secret machine. It’s innocent enough, and has the potential to change the way knowledge is shared with the world. But neither Jess nor Thomas know that this machine has been developed before, and that the library decided centuries ago that it was too dangerous to let exist. Those in charge of the library soon find out what Thomas has done, and he, Jess, and the other postulants find themselves fighting for their lives against the very organization they came to Alexandria hoping to serve.

Ink and Bone is a great opening in what is currently a series of three books (though two more are planned).

Find this book on: Goodreads

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