book review: ink and bone by rachel caine

Saturday, July 29, 2017

hey frens!

i'm here today with a full book review of a novel i mentioned in my last post (micro reviews of books i recently read!): Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. going into this book, i really didn't know what to expect-- like no clue whatsoever of what it was about other than the fact that it was a book about other books. lots and lots of people had recommended i read it, so i jumped at the opportunity to review it for Blogging for Books!!

i'll get on now and share my thoughts on the book~~

Ink and Bone 
by Rachel Caine

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 his friend 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… 

let's see...

- i thought that the premise of the world was pretty cool and something i hadn't really seen before. basically, in the world of Ink and Bone, the Library of Alexandria survived, and now it regulates all the books and controls what people read. it reminded me of something sorta similar to Fahrenheit 451 in this respect.

- I LOVED THE SHIP BETWEEN SANTI AND WOLFE. i loved the fact that this book had a gay couple, and the dynamic between the two was awesome.

- which brings me to my next thought: the diversity in this book was absolutely amazingly done. the whole premise of the novel was a bunch of people from all over the world competing for jobs at the library, so of course you are going to have lots of diversity involved. my favorite character was definitely Khalila. she wears a hijab and is SUPER DUPER SMART and doesn't take the BS when the other characters are acting stupid / treating her like she can't take care of herself. THAT'S MY TYPE OF CHARACTER <3

- dario's character development !!

- while i liked the idea of the world, the actual world building was not done so well. i still don't understand how some of the magic works despite the fact that the whole book was rather info-dumpy? and it felt like i was going into a sequel book with the amount of effective explanation of how everything works. ALSO, the fact that this was a dystopian/alternate history novel through me off. i was expecting a historical fantasy going in, and i don't know that being a dystopia worked very well for the story-- it felt forced.

- Jess (our MC) felt bland to me. you know how much weight characters carry for me in books, and while i loved some of the secondary characters (Wolfe and Khalila), i didn't feel that Jess was particularly special in any way. all of the characters competing with Jess to get a job at the Library were so clever and well-rounded, and i didn't find Jess to match this. i was kind of confused that he did so well in the competition. i didn't get the idea that he loved to read although he said he did.

- the second part of the book dragged :(( i liked the first half of the book. i really did. i'm always a sucker for books with a competition aspect to them, especially when it's a competition that tests the characters' smarts. but then the second half of the book happened, and it went in a direction that, frankly, kind of confused me. it felt like the first and second halves of the book were disconnected and weren't even the same story (if you know what i mean?).

all in all...

rating: ★★★☆☆

i really enjoyed parts of the book, but other aspects didn't impress me at all. the positives and negatives mostly balanced themselves out into a "meh" book that i didn't love but didn't dislike. i thought the concept of the book was excellent and very innovative, but the actual execution of these ideas was not as great as i hoped it would be. i will say that although i didn't care for Jess, i loved the secondary characters especially Dario, Khalila, and Wolfe.

have any of you guys read this book? if so, what are your thoughts? i would love to know! do you ever end up liking the secondary characters in books better than the actual MCs? 

xo, madeline


  1. Even though I gave this 5 stars, UM, well...I agree with literally EVERYTHING you said here. I think for me it was the case of the good outweighing the bad.

    Only thing I'm slightly NOt 100% on is Jess being bland. Sure he was quite a normal guy and umm...nothing special about him, i feel like MC's are always so extravagant these days and if I was an MC, i'd basically be as boring as Jess.

    YES it did drag and the world-building and the war with welsh was alll INfo-dumped. HELLO NO.

    I definitely LOOVEEE Khalila (I just started the 3rd book Ash and Quill and she iss wayy more sassier)

    LOVED WOLFE x SANTI. AHEM AMAZING. And the hilarious rivalry between Dario and Jess --- I live for this.

    1. yeah, i can totally see why you loved it, but i guess it was the other way around for me (the bad outweighed the good).

      YESSS KHALILA. i might just read the rest of the series to get more of her sassiness + Santi & Wolfe.

  2. Jess was a TINY bit bland, but I mean... it was realistic? At least he's not a speshul snowflake lol. But I get it, like why is HE the MC and not someone else? YEAH THE WORLDBUILDING WASN'T THE BEST but I felt like it was still okayish??? I LOVED THE PREMISE I AGREE!!!


    1. i definitely see your point there-- i'd much rather Jess be realistic than a speshul snowflake! i liked Jess ok and didn't have that big of a problem with him, i just didn't LOVE love him, y'know?

      (i might just read the rest of the series simply to see more of Wolfe x Santi???)

  3. Eeep I really loved this one!! IT WAS SO MAGICAL AND BOOK APPRECIATIVE. *falls in love* I actually only just re-read it and I'm about to read Paper & Fire! I LOVE Santi and Wolfe, omg preciousness. And Wolfe is such a grumpy mother hen, he's perfect. Also I looooved all the diversity and how it impacted the world. It was so well done!! I do agree the world was super confusing though. Like I've read it twice and I still don't really get it.😂 I'm hoping the further books actually explain the magic haha.

  4. I have heard so many great things about this book, so it makes me sad to see you were a bit meh about it. :( Nonetheless, thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage


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