(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: Ink and Bone
Published by Penguin on July 7th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Books & Libraries, Fantasy & Magic, General, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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 take no shame in the fact that I begged and pleaded to get a copy of this in my hands early.
A world where the library is a huge presence in every single city. A world where the library decides what people have access to in the way of knowledge and information. A world where the library forbids the ownership of books… color me intrigued you guys.
Our main character Jess Brightwell has grown up in a family where books are a way of life… Stealing them from people who don’t take caution and smuggling and selling them to the highest bidders is how his family has earned a living, and a reputation. But Jess wants more out of his life and his father puts the wheels into motion by sending him to Alexandria and into the arms of the library itself to train.
Faced with trials Jess is entrenched in more than just a test to become a librarian…it’s a race to protect the friends he makes along the way and eventually uncover the secrets that those in power don’t want anyone knowing about.
Let me just get this out of the way, this started a bit slow for me. I don’t know what it was… if it was just laying the groundwork for the story, but it took a little bit for me to get engrossed. But let me just say that once I did, and I certainly did… I couldn’t put the story down.
This was my first book by Rachel Caine. I’m dying to get my hands on the rest of this series.
I think the best part of this book for me was the amazing and diverse cast of characters Caine has created. Of course we have Jess, but when he arrives at the library for his training, he’s among a huge group of students… some who he clicks with and some … not so much. Of course we have Wolfe and Santi who weren’t quite what I was expecting when I started reading. Wolfe in a way kind of reminds me of a version of Albus Dumbledore. There are a few reasons I say this… one, he’s incredibly protective of his students. Not in the same way Dumbledore was, but in enough of a way where looking back at his role in the story, I can see the similarities. Two, he’s not exactly who he appears to be… he’s got a very interesting past, of which we don’t know the full story but I’m excited to find out.
I also ended up really enjoying the crew of students that we get to know along the way. Kalila, Glain, Thomas, Dario – I can’t wait to see where book 2 takes us with each of them. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I know some of you will wonder about romance… there is one. It’s very subtle and obviously not meant to be the main focus of this story, but it’s there none-the-less. It added the perfect layer of drama and even some intensely sweet moments.
I will say that I loved the way Caine chose to tell the story… and by that I mean, there are brief excerpts within the story that share some history as well as allude to some other things going on. I thought it was definitely a welcome addition to provide a bit of the backstory as well as share some additional information on characters we needed to know about.
With excellent world-building, an intriguing story and captivating characters, you’re definitely going to want to grab this one as soon as you can.
I for one am excited to see what Caine does in book 2 and where Jess and his friends will be when we rejoin them.
Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.