Today I bring you a review from a very highly anticipated read to me. It’s Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine.
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This book was recommended to me several times by a friend whose opinion I really trust. The only thing I knew before starting this book was that it was set in a world where the Library of Alexandria wasn’t destroyed. I saw there was an arc available on Net Galley and I just needed it!
Maybe if I had read the synopsis before picking this book, I wouldn’t be so excited to read it because it’s as confusing as the book itself is. So, since I can’t explain the book, here’s the official synopsis: “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…”
Unfortunately, I was to be disappointed by this book from the first chapter. It was just so dull. It didn’t help that the world building was confusing af. This feeling stayed with me until about half of it. I even considered abandoning the title altogether but I kept my hopes.
My main problem with it was that I just couldn’t fully understand how the Great Library works and what their goals really were. If you can’t really comprehend the bases of the world a book is set, either the characters’ stories are interesting enough to keep you hooked or you just loose all your interest. The latter was what happened to me. The story revolved so much about that damn world. I could grasp what was happening but not why that was. And that was pretty important. Besides having issues with the world building, the writing itself was really mediocre, which didn’t help at all. I was expecting more from such a well acclaimed author.
Like I said, I didn’t really care for the characters of their quests mainly because of the poor world building but I have to let something out of my chest. The main character has a bunch of colleagues throughout the book. One of them is called Joachim Portero and I didn’t even gave him much thought. To my surprise, he is introduced as portuguese in some later pages. Why the surprise, you might be asking. Well, I’m portuguese myself and I would never have identified that character as my fellow national brother because that is not a portuguese name. Not much is told about him, sure, but he is introduced as being from Portugal and I would expecting him to have portuguese ancestry since the contrary isn’t stated. Goddammit, there’s even a portuguese variation of that first name so why just not name him that?! I was kinda upset. I never had encountered a portuguese character in a book and I wasn’t really happy to see it misrepresented when I did. The rest of the cast of characters is pretty diverse but that other fail made me really suspicious of their accurate representation. It felt to me like there was zero research on both the author’s and the editor’s side. I was really really disappointed and I know this isn’t really crucial to the book itself but it definitely influenced my opinion on the book so it had to be mentioned (although it might sound petty of me).
Overall, I just thought this book really dull and uninteresting. The main idea and premise had potencial, sure. But the execution just felt flat to me. I honestly don’t think I’ll pick the rest of the books from this series or any work from the same author.
Anyway, let me know what you think of this!
See you soon,