Published July 7th 2015 by NAL
Available on hardcover, paperback, kindle, ebook and audio
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian
Source: Thanks to the Publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review
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 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…
WOW. JUST. WOW.
Only thing I’ve read from Rachel Caine were the first two books from the Morganville Vampires. From what I’ve recall they were quick and enjoyable, the writing style was a little too Young Adult for me and she has a thing for cliffhangers. So, after I paused at the end of a sad scene at 50 pages from the end – some ranting on Goodreads was needed – and to wipe tears and nose, I started to get really, really worried about how it would end… well, I’ll give you this… no cliffhanger.
The wordbuilding is freaking amazing!! The Library. The Book Smugglers. The Book Burners. The Guards. The Automata Guardians. The machines. The concepts. The structuring. I cannot praise it enough. Rachel Caine gave us a rich and imaginative world and an alternative reality in which not only the Alexandria Library didn’t burn, it also rules the world.
The story is told with some notes shared between characters or powers at play alternating with the main storyline, giving the reader an insight of some angles we didn’t think first.
We also have some complex characters. Easy to like and hate, and most of all, connect. All of them with an unique set of skills, some with secrets and untold stories. We see them act, and suffer and grow through the story, from London smuggler routes to Alexandria, to war scenarios in Oxford and back to Egypt. In a very-fast-pace-action-packed-page-turner type of book.
Ultimately, it is also a book about friendship, love, and choices. Choose between live and die, between duty and want, between freedom or hope.
And books. Precious books.
“You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business to you.”
― Rachel Caine,
“Losing one pint of blood’s an accident. Losing two is carelessness.”
― Rachel Caine,
“The first purpose of a librarian is to preserve and defend our books. Sometimes, that means dying for them – or making someone else die for them. Tota est scientia.”
― Rachel Caine,