Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Publication Date: July 7th 2015
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Length: 410 pages

Huge thanks to Allison & Busby for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.
In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.
Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar... but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.
Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life - and soon both heretics and books will burn...

This book was terrifyingly brilliant. In an alternate world where the Great Library of Alexandria still stands, the library rules all. It controls knowledge in ways that were both outlandish and magical, but also not that far removed from what we experience today. The book offered a seamless blend of that – things magical and extreme and things that struck remarkably close to home and made reading this even more alarming in places.

I took my time reading this because I loved being immersed in this world, I loved letting the story unfold in small pieces rather than storming through it all in one go. However my restraint broke around two thirds of the way through and I ended up not moving between then and the final page. It was addictive, it was brutal, it was incredibly well written and utterly compelling. It grabs you right from the first page with one of the most intense and adrenaline filled openings I've read in a while, and whilst the tension eases off at points it never fully releases you from its grip. The story grabs you by the hand and demands you pay attention to it.

I loved that the story was led by a male protagonist. I adore my female protagonists like you wouldn’t believe, but it’s refreshing to read a book with a male lead every now and again and this was a truly fantastic one. The characters were complex, varied and so diverse. I loved that the characters unfurled piece by piece as we got to know them. No one was black and white, everyone was complex with shades of grey, and you never fully understood or knew the characters. Like people they were always shifting, changing and had backstory and secrets that crept in to tease and tantalise.

There are echoes of Harry Potter – accepted to an elite school, sent off by train, almost magic like moments – so if you’re a Potter fan you are going to love this one. Plus if you like books in general you’re going to be utterly smitten, they are treated with the love and reverence they deserve.

It’s a truly fantastic book. Alarming and twisty, I loved this alternate view on the world and how everything changed as a result. It’s a brilliantly crafted story filled with complex and wonderful characters, heart breaking moments, brutal and terrifying moments, books, love, fights. It is stuffed with magic and wonder, and marks the start of a truly addictive series.

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