Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thorwback Thursday: Ink and Bone Review and Giveaway

Hey everyone, guess what. The paperback for Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine is coming out three months earlier than anticipated. Exciting stuff, right. I mean this was one of my favorite books of 2015 and the sequel is one I absolutely cannot wait for in 2016.

So when Penguin asked me to help spread the word about the paperback release by reposting my review as a Throwback Thursday, I of course said "ABSOLUTELY!" I love this book so much and any opportunity to gush about it is okay by me. I mean I know I already suggested a few of you read and you did and liked it so maybe I can get a few more. And if you read this review and think, I totally need to read that book well you are in luck my friend because the nice folks at Penguin are providing me with a copy to giveaway so check out the Rafflecopter below. Unfortunately this is a US and Canada only giveaway. I'm sorry international friends.

But first, onto the review...

Title: Ink and Bone
Series: The Great Library #1
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: July 7, 2015 by NAL (Penguin Group)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.… 

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. 

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service. 

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Penguin First reads in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This book right here, is everything I wanted it to be an more. It seriously delivered. Ink and Bone is an engaging read perfect for fans of historical mysteries who are ready for a wild ride full of magic and mystery.

I was completely engrossed in the world that Rachel Caine was able to create here. It is one of the most multi-faceted worlds I have come across in a long time. For one thing she was able to create a unique and interesting boarding school that is full of magic. I'm a sucker for books set in a boarding school and the Library definitely satisfied that for me. It was like Hogwarts in the best possible way. The characters arrive in this school where they have their lives upending learning about different kinds of magic and putting it into practice. And this magic was also really cool. It was one part steampunk, one part alchemy. And while I loved reading about the characters learning, it was when they went out into the larger world that things got really good. I'm used to think that I didn't like revisionist history but it has to be done really well. Ink and Bone was a bit like The Bone Season in that it is set in the future but because of something that happened (or in the case of this book, didn't happen) things are very different. This book walked that perfect line between feeling like historical fiction and feeling like speculative fiction. It almost felt like a dystopian world in some ways. You see, this is a world at war, a world where the average person is stifled by a ruling entity that will do anything to stay in power. And it's the library! I'm sure it's hard as a bookish person to see the beloved library play the role of antagonist but boy were they terrible! Seeing the characters torn between those two worlds added so much conflict and drama.

And this fantastic world was made all the more engaging by Rachel Caine's writing style. Ink and Bone was also atmospheric and engaging. Her writing takes you into another world that you can immerse yourself in. Each chapter is started with a bit of extra information that added a level of dramatic irony and made the book more well-rounded. Dramatic irony is another thing for me that can be hit or miss. It can get frustrating very quickly if it comes off as the characters being obtuse. I don't like knowing things the characters don't. But in the case of Ink and Bone, it added to the mystery. And boy was this book was full of mystery. There were so many twists and dramatic reveals I never knew what was coming next. And things were perfectly timed and plotted. It felt like each reveal served to expand the story and drew you to an exciting climax that had me on the edge of my seat. When it was all over I was desperately hoping for the next book.

And the mystery of Ink and Bone also extended to the characters of the book. Like all good boarding schools, this one is populated by a diverse cast of characters. They're the brightest and most promising students worldwide taken to become a part of the prestigious library. And the conflict outside the library is mirrored by the students in the library. Each student was interesting and well-rounded. There were those you love and those you hate. But each of them had great character development throughout the book. In particular I really like the main character Jess. He seems like the kind of person who never really fits in completely but is still always able to assimilate. That in particular made him easy to like and root for because you want him to find where he belongs but appreciate that independent streak in him. But I think my favorite character was the teacher, Wolfe. He reminded me so much of Snape and if you know me you know that's a good thing. He is unnecessarily hard on his students but in the end comes to respect them and protect them. But the best part about Wolfe is his secrets. As the book unfolds we slowly learn more about his past and yet I still want to learn more. He's so complex and enigmatic. All the characters are enigmatic and fantastic!

My only criticism is that the pacing was a little problematic. It had a bit of a slow start as the world was being developed and we were connecting with the characters. I expect that in new fantasy books. But then when things did pick up, it was an action-packed story that may have been a little too thrilling. I know that sounds like a weird thing to say but it just didn't have the flow that I like to see when it comes to the pacing of fantasy novels. It moved too quickly through the ending of the book and I felt like I was missing some important things because it just moved from moment to moment with me even being able to catch my breath. The pacing just felt a little unbalanced. I would have liked it a little more if the action was evenly balanced throughout the book.

But when everything was all said and done I really loved this book and cannot wait to find out what happens next. Even just writing this review is getting me amped up about this book, that never happens. But now that I can step away from it, I can say that I absolutely loved it. It is the kind of book that is familiar, reminding me of great things about books I love, while still being unique and different. It was incredibly engaging and I would absolutely recommend it.

I give Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine 9.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! You need to read this book. Fans of fantasy and dystopia will find a unique and fascinating world with great characters and thrilling action. It felt familiar and creative at the same time and is an amazing first book in a new series I am excited to see develop.

Have you read Ink and Bone? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Did I convince you? Enter the giveaway and tell me why you are excited to read it. Or if you have already read it, why are you excited for the sequel.


  1. This sounds wonderful, I hadn't really heard much about it before! Great post xx

  2. I really loved this one too! I cannot wait to see where the next book will take us! And I agree with you about the pacing, it was a bit of slow... slow.. and full throttle!!

  3. So I have to admit that I haven't read Ink and Bone yet, but it's been on my tbr list for a while now. I've heard that the supporting characters are great- and that always makes a book for me. Hopefully I'll read it soon.

  4. I haven't read the book yet but if it written as well as her vampire series, count me in!

  5. Read it. Loved it. Can't wait for the next one. July! Ugh!

  6. A magical school, mystery, and a 9.5/10... yes, please! By starting this series now, I won't have to wait too long for the sequel ☺.