Rachel Caine’s new series The Great Library is off to a promising start. Book one Ink and Bone introduces us to a futuristic world with steampunk elements. Jess has never known a time when the Great Library doesn’t rule over everyone. It dictates what people can read and only allows books to be read via tablet: real physical books are forbidden. His family specializes in black market books so when the opportunity arises for a job within the library his father doesn’t hesitate to pay for him to get an audition. It would be perfect having a family member inside the library working as a spy. But once Jess starts his journey he finds that things are not that simple and in fact they are quite deadly.
What an outstanding beginning. The atmosphere was engrossing and detailed. I could feel myself in the gritty side streets of London as well as the sweltering desert of Egypt. I also liked that in many ways this futuristic world felt old and reminiscent of the Industrial age. This book was complex with layers of intrigue and I enjoyed learning key tidbits (both past and present) through letters between the heads of the library. I should also mention, that this book is packed with action. Whether it be with the tests that the candidates have to complete or braving a war zone, I often found myself quickly turning the page to see if everyone was okay. That being said, Caine never sacrifices her character development. Jess went from being a bullied son to finding his courage, using his intelligence, and creating lifelong friendships. This is a great read for fans of the Divergent series, Infernal Devices or all book lovers.