Word Nerd Review: Ink and Bone
by Trisha Quezada
What if the great library at Alexandria had never been destroyed? What if all the knowledge of the world was instead compiled there and could be instantly transferred to a book that every world citizen carried in their pockets? What if, along with that, all original works were forbidden, paper books were smuggled goods worth fortunes, and the keepers of the library weren’t as benevolent as they appeared? Set in a steampunk style world where Alchemy powers everything, Ink and Bone is an adventure tale that pushes the reader to think about censorship, technology, and the power of information.
Jess Brightwell is a book lover. And a smuggler. But his greatest wish is to be accepted by the Library as a student, though his family is counting on him to be their spy. Once he passes the entrance exam, he finds that things are not as they seem and he’s forced to make some tough choices about where his loyalties lie. With Jess’s friends and instructors as the main cast of characters, this book is filled with intrigue, adventure, tests, alchemy, and more. It’s a completely captivating world. I’m listening to the 2nd book now and it’s just as good as the first.
Considering I read the first book on my Kindle and I’m using Whispersync to transition back and forth from the audio book to the Kindle version of the second, the underlying questions posed about who controls access to information really resonate. Though that’s a critical theme, Caine doesn’t moralize on the topic or distract from the world or story. The topic is just embedded in the motivations of the heroes and villains to such an extent that each time I set the story aside I can’t help but think about how those questions relate to today’s world. Well, that and I plot out when I’ll have time to read/listen again! I’ve definitely resented having to work through my lunches this week.