Ink and Bone (Book 1), Paper and Fire (Book 2)
The Great Library series by Rachel Caine
[Image courtesy of rachelcaine.com]
Imagine a dystopian world in which real physical books were no longer in legal circulation and the only copies left were kept by one Great Library that was as powerful as the Church. Printing presses were never started, and people read “library-approved” books on “Blanks” that were replicas (think tablets and ebooks, although I don’t think Caine explicitly said they were in digital formats) of the originals kept by the library. Thousands more were left in the Great Library’s Black Archives to rot, because the knowledge in those books were too “dangerous” to be released to the public.
Yes, I can see the horror on your face.
If you’d like to read about how a group of young rebels was going to bring down the Great Library and save the world from such a horrible, book-less society, this is the series for you.
Ironically, I discovered Caine when I was browsing through the local library’s catalogue. I was hesitant at the first to start on this series, because the third book is due for publication only in July this year, but I was too intrigued by the premise and too eager to get my hands on a good fantasy series again that I decided to give it a shot, convincing myself that four months won’t be too long a wait for the next book.
The story is fast-paced. The plot is simple. The characters are distinct and recognizable enough, although some readers might find them somewhat two-dimensional at times.
Without giving too much away, I think what drew me to the story was really the horrible prospect of having no access to any book that I want anymore, and this is one series that I really want the young protagonists to succeed.
Now that I have finished the second book, the four months to the next book seem like forever.
VERDICT: This series read like young adult fiction at times because of the young characters, but the story holds enough intrigue and pace to interest adult readers too. If you’re sick of telling digital-fanatic people physical books are precious, these books might make you feel better.