The Paper Kind

Creative living.

Book Review | Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone is the first part of The Great Library series by Rachel Caine, which is continued in Paper and Fire. Ink and Bone is set in an alternate history. The main character Jess, leaves home to join the mysterious library. This series has a Harry Potter feel to it, so its a must read if you’re looking for another Potter fix.

Ink and Bone cover displayed on ipad screen


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…


I have to thank Jess over at EverTheCrafter for recommending this book to me, which she did after I tried to read The Invisible Library and failed (it was a terrible book). Ink and Bone is sort of similar in that it’s a book about books. But it is also so much more. In Ink and Bone, the Library of Alexandria still exists. But the Library has turned into an evil organisation that controls all the information in the world. It does this by keeping all genuine books locked away. Only allowing people to read copies of them through ancient Kindle-like technology.

Maybe it’s just cause I do graphic design and have been learning about printing recently. But I love the fact that the most dangerous thing in this universe is a printing press. Copying or creating new books is banned. Johannes Gutenberg, the creator of the printing press, is in jail for his invention.

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Jess comes from a family of smugglers who trade and sell original copies of books. But Jess doesn’t want to join the family business. This is the point where I started getting Harry Potter flashbacks. Jess, along with other applicants get on a train to Alexandria. Where they hope to compete to get a position at the Library.

Comparisons to Harry Potter

Another note, I don’t mind books that have similarities to Harry Potter. What I object to is books where one of the major selling points is that it’s like Harry Potter. Those books tend to never be as good as they claim.

Have I mentioned that I liked this book yet? It’s a great YA adventure story. I love that one of the characters is a muslim. And that her character is more than just her religion. Two of the male characters are in a relationship and no one questions it. I love this book and am going to pretty much immediately start the second.


Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 7th July 2015
Book Depository

12 responses to “Book Review | Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine”

  1. I saw this book at the book store last year (yes, a real live Barnes & Noble, so hard to find these days) and I thought about getting it, but I wasn’t sure if it would be another YA adventure with the same tropes. Did you find it to be different in any way? How was the characterization?


    • I don’t know. The thing that always annoys me about YA is the insta-love. And though it did have relationships it happened over a period of time and felt genuine. The characters are all very well done, they all have their own motivations in life and their backgrounds are an important part of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this book, too. And, like you, I didn’t get into The Invisible Library at first, but then I got the audio book, and I actually liked it after all. I have more patience when listening than when reading. 🙂


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I’m Emma. I am a designer, calligrapher, and content creator, sharing my love for paper goods. Expect pens, pencils, and some really fancy paper!


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