Book Review: Ink and Bone


ashley | Ah, books about books! Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine starts out rather familiar, chosen students are sent by train to a far away school to learn and educate themselves in the hopes of being selected for six coveted spots in The Library. But that’s where familiarities end and a whole archive of knowledge and adventure begins.

This takes place in the future, where books are illegal to own and the Great Library controls the content people have access too, unless you have enough money to pay for originals to be smuggled on the black market. I really liked the world that was created to house this story, the Runners, Cutters and Burners are all a really interesting concept and though they aren’t straight out described, the positions come to life very vividly through the first chapter.

I was reminded of so many other great works in various scenes throughout, which isn’t to say this isn’t original, more that it plays on similar dark themes that have made an impact on pop culture over the years. Themes that I love reading about. There are heavy political tones mixed so wonderfully with lighter magical elements all tied together with these beautiful descriptions of Alexandria and the books themselves.

The magical elements are great. I love reading an author I’m not familiar with and their take on certain things like teleportation or communication. I love everyone’s varying interpretation of what could be possible in a world with infinite possibilities. I love seeing an author’s creativity flourish and there were some really great parts of this book where Caine’s did just that.

I also really loved the friendships that grow in this story. It’s hard not to compare it to Harry Potter again, a group of students who band together in a learning environment and kind of end up learning more about how important friendship is. Their loyalty to each other and the way they push themselves to their personal edge for the sake of their friends, it’s really a great, strong message for young readers and I feel sometimes this isn’t celebrated enough in books. A lot of YA books make a hero out of the outcast, which don’t get me wrong, I love that and personally relate to that, but it’s nice to see the other side of the coin sometimes too. Scholar Wolfe and Captain Santi are also great characters, they’re kind of made out to be strict jerks at first, but as you get to know them more, you start to see their real intentions and true colours and I love the development there.

As a side note: while it doesn’t come right out with the comparison, I like how things allude to the book vs e-reader argument us readers often have. The Codex is basically a futuristic e-reader and most people have been deprived of ever having held a real book, creating some great descriptions of the benefits of having actual books.

I’ve thrown around the word love a lot in this review, so it’s easy to assume that I loved this book. I did love it, I thought it was a great little adventure book, I like how the educational portion was wrapped up in this one book and the sequel will find the students in their appointed positions, trying to change the rules of the Great Library. This is a series I definitely look forward to continuing.


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July 7, 2015