Ink and Bone By Rachel Caine

Jul 18, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Fantasy & Fangs

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Ink and Bone, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.

In the year 2031, the Great Library of Alexandria exists as the only legal repository for original books in the world. To own a book is to risk death; the library enforces its proclamations with the ruthless Garda who conduct raids without mercy. Even personal journals are ultimately owned by the library, as the Doctrine of Mirroring allows rare Obscurists to recreate every book in print to be housed within the library.

Jess Brightwell first smuggled books when he was ten years old, and watching an Ink-licker literally consume a priceless tome remains part of his memory six years later. Jess has never been able to accept his father’s callous and practical attitude that designates books solely as black market merchandise. When Jess receives the much sought-after opportunity to become one of six—out of thousands—postulants within the library, it comes with the assumption that he’d be working as a connection for his father’s illegal operations. book

Once within the Alexandrian Library, Jess meets his fellow competing trainees, all knowledgeable about books but different in backgrounds and beliefs. This is a world of alchemy, where Burners call for the destruction of the library and its hoarding ownership of books, Scholars are as much warriors as they are teachers, and Librarians are the armed guardians of books. Ephemera notes and letters are inserted before chapters. The printing press is feared as the greatest threat to the ruling power, and they will spare no mercy to stop its creation.

While this is a young adult novel, the impressive character development and even stronger writing ensure that it appeals to book lovers of any age. Although there’s an element of normal teen interactions, this is no angst-driven novel of teenage hormonal dramatics. Domineered by an imposing but surprisingly complex Scholar, the young students form a realistic bond as they become allies even knowing they’re ultimately competitors. The concept of a world where the knowledge in books is hoarded as a source of power is brilliant, and not necessarily impossible.

Prolific fantasy author Rachel Caine crafts a fascinating and fully developed new world that shadows ours far too uncomfortably. Readers (and librarians) will love the series’ concept, and everyone will find Jess an engaging hero who gradually learns to champion independent thought. The sense of jeopardy and danger of challenging the library drives the novel to its stunning end, and will have readers anxiously awaiting Book Two of The Great Library.

To enter to win a copy of Ink and Bone, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Ink,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 25, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.

Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Ink and Bone sounds intriguing where the old saying goes “knowledge is power.” Thank you for a chance to win.

  2. I’m so excited for this book! Every review I read just makes me want it even more. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

  3. Would love to read this book. Currently looking for something new and this book sounds interesting. Thanks for a chance to win it!!

  4. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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