Although it is ostensibly Young Adult (YA) fiction, and the primary characters are teenagers, Ink and Bone is still quite engaging and thrilling fantasy.
The premise is what the world would look like if The Library at Alexandria had never been destroyed and had instead somehow grown powerful enough to eliminate and prevent the development of the printing press.
However, in addition to monopolizing the archiving and distribution of information, The Library uses alchemy to magically move books from one location to another and is also able to design automatons (robots) to enforce their edicts that the private possession of books is illegal.
There were some aspects of the world which really don't make much sense (it's 2025 but there's no modern technology like machine guns or nuclear weapons or television or radio?) However, the author Rachel Caine does a VERY good job of putting the primary protagonist Jess Brightwell in repeated dangerous situations that are quite thrilling. Another compelling feature of the book is the strong group of companions that are going through the training to become scholars and join the Library with Jess. And several of these companions do not survive to the end of the book.
A very nice feature of the book is the diversity of the characters (there's a gay couple that is central to the plot, and there is a female character who always wears a head scarf and a big blonde Teutonic guy who is really smart (very good with his hands) and many of the characters are described as dark-skinned or "nut-brown."
Overall I'm glad I finally read this book and I am very much looking forward to reading the sequels!
Title: Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1).
Author: Rachel Caine.
Paperback: 352 pages.
Date Published: July 7, 2015.
Date Read: January 2, 2016.
GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★ (4.0/5.0).
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).