The Great Library (Book 1 & 2)

Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire were the first books I've read this year. And even though I've read a lot more since then, I still think these books were some of the best I've read so far in 2019. Which is why I would like to write a little bit about them here on my blog. Rachel Caine is very well known for The Morganville Vampires series, which I haven't read yet simply because I was intimidated by the sheer amount of the books in it. But after reading The Great Library series I'm definitely planning on reading her previous books too, for I'm rather fond of her writing style. In this series she created a beautifully imagined universe full of intricate detailes and unforgettable characters...

Title: Ink and Bone
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Publishing date: 2015
Pages: 410

"You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. 
Books will never be just a business to you."

Ink and Bone is the first book in The Great Library series, which takes place in an alternate universe, if you will, where the Alexandrian library was never destroyed. In this world people aren't allowed to own books. Every tome is catalogued in the great archives of the Library and people can read only the projected copies of the books. The society values knowledge more than human life and the group of main characters soon realize that their lives are as fragile as the paper itself.

Our main character Jess Brightwell is a son of the black market dealer, which makes his post in the service of the Great Library rather difficult. I really enjoyed reading from his point of view. Because of his past clashing with his current duty, he is very interesting character. I honestly haven't been quite succesful in figuring his personality yet. He is extremely devoted and determined and I believe that his heart is in the right place, but his character is definitely moch more complicated than that. And I can't wait to find more about him in the following books.

Rachel Caine is exceptionally skilled at setting up the atmosphere. Her rich descriptions made me believe in the universe she created from the very fisrt chapter. It's a science fiction mixed with fantasy, but I swear the story felt real to me the whole time I read. I was fascinated with the inventions, thrilled by the ambiance and transfixed by the elaborate plot. She kept me at the edge of my seat, intrigued and constantly guessing.

Title: Paper and Fire
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Publishing date: 2016
Pages: 411

"Books spoke mind to mind,
 soul to soul across the abyss of time and distance."

I thought that Ink and Bone was a brilliant start to the series, but I found myself impressed by the sequel, Paper and Fire, even more. In this book, Rachel Caine lets her readers look even deeper into the souls of the main characters while spinning the storyline into something even darker and much more complex. This book takes us on a new adventure when Jess decides to redeem his friend who unconciously commited a heresy by envisioning a letterpress. Jess and his allies realize that they are standing opposite the twisted stance of the Great Library. And even though there's a very little to no chance at all of surviving the conflit, they have to try to break free from the suffocating joints of the society they live in no matter the cost.

At this point in the series, I found myself really enraptured by the friendships, but I have to admit I don't care for the romance aspect of the story one bit. It might be because of the fact that there wasn't a time for it to bloom amongst the machination and political intrigues, but I wouldn't mind at all if the romance wasn't included. If I'm being honest, I root for another pairing but it's highly improbable of happening, so that's quite disheartening. But then again, I think that the power of the story lies elswhere, so I am not that concerned by the romance anyway.

I would highly recommend this series to every passionate reader and a book lover as this work is a compliment to book art and literature itself. Rachel Caine's witing style is rich, beautiful and touching; her idea very clever and original and the execution beyond expectation. I can't wait to see where the next installments in the series will lead. I'm sure there's a lot to look forward to...


  1. A já se těšila, že konečně uvidím tvou velikou barevnou knihovnu! ^^
    Ale o téhle sérii už jsem slyšela a připadá mi zajímavá. Bohužel moc nevím, jak na tom v blízké budoucnosti budu s časem, nicméně na nějaký wish-list si ji můžu dát, však ony ty knížky s roky kouzlo neztratí. :)

    1. Ahoj Vlasti, to je od tebe tak moc milé, že vyhlížíš moji novou knihovnu. :-) Bohužel to ještě nějakou chvilku potrvá. Vyrábíme ji s taťkem sami a k tomu rekonstruujeme pokoj, ve kterém bude stát. Je to hodně práce, ale bude to stát za to. Děkuju moc za zájem. Opravdu mě těší, že mám s kým tuhle radost sdílet... :-) Ohledně knih, určitě věřím, že na tebe počkají, a nebo přijdou jiné skvělé příběhy... Měj se moc krásně.


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