Thursday, October 29, 2015

XBR4OF #7 Ink & Bone

Xyra's Book Review for Older Followers

Ink and Bone

By Rachel Caine


  • I loved Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire series and wanted to try her new creation. It's very interesting.
  • PG-13 for violence
  • There are no sexual situations, but there are budding romances and established relationships. If you are uncomfortable with same gender relationships, you may want to skip this series. Again, there are no specific details and we only gain this information near the end of the book.

The Review

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, that was interesting, but in a good way. I'm not sure why I wasn't expecting what the author gave us by way of the story - maybe I didn't read the introductory blurb correctly or missed key elements. Overall it was much more steampunk than I had imagined. That portion should not have surprised me at all considering dear, slightly mad Myrnin from the Morganville series.

In fact, the violence and death should not have surprised me either. So why did this story about a group of young people competing for a spot in The Library stump me? I'm just not sure. Perhaps my love of our libraries blinded me. This library is not our library. [It could be when you consider how those in power like censorship or if eBooks were the only reading material permitted.]

Rachel Caine created a world/an alternate universe where The Great Library of Alexandria (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) was not destroyed. Instead The Library became super powerful, gathered all written material, and decided what should be destroyed/hidden, kept, or shared. The society created through this endeavor is filled with burners, ink lickers, smugglers, etc. It is a well thought out world.

The story structure is comprised of chapters filled with action and in between we see correspondence from high ranking Library officials. These ephemera provide the reader with additional information the postulants do not have.

The setting and structure aside, a good story also needs good characters or character development. I really like how Rachel Caine developed her characters.  The unsympathetic ones we dislike from the start. Sympathetic characters we like right away. Others may start out seemingly unsympathetic until we find out more about them either through action of a Library missive. Then we may like them more, love them, or be wary of their potential.

Wolfe: physically he appears in my mind's eye as a combination of Karkarof (with much better teeth) and Snape from the Harry Potter series. Wolfe's secrets become known to the reader early on, but not all the details are revealed. His character opens slowly and he moves from stern and unapproachable to caring and proud. He does his best knowing his limitations.

Santi: easily my favorite character (I fear for his future). This soldier and body guard is much more. The way his character evolves, as well as his relationship with Wolfe and his students...impressive. He is quick and his thinking tactical and wise. There is a reason he holds the rank he does.

Jess: the main character, the hero - I have a love/dislike relationship with him. Instead of seeing his efforts as contributions, he whines about being used. Get used to it, kid - everyone's talents and expertise is used to help situations and survival. Outside of those instances he focused on being a victim, Jess grew from a scared student to minor soldier to caring friend. He sees the growth of the others and as his/her situation changes he embraces the others as comrades in arms and then friends.

If you like books with diversity...this is the series to try. Boys and girls from all over the world compete to become a part of The Library. Each has their own reasons. Each has secrets.

In the end, I really liked and enjoyed this book. Some scenes were shocking, but I wouldn't give the movie an R rating. More like a PG-13 for violence. While I look forward to the next installment, I hope the series isn't quite as long as Morganville.

Happy reading!

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