Review – Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine – Another Fantasy Favourite

Ink and Bone is a BOOK about BOOKS (!!!) – does it get any better?

I rarely give 5 stars out (well, that’s a lie) but this book TOTALY deserved it. I mean nearly every aspect of this book was literal PERFECTION. I AM IN LOVE because fantasy mixed with dystopia with a love for words and a magical library mixed in! I mean, who could ask for a better book?

Ink and Bone.png


Knowledge is power. Power corrupts.

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime.

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar . . . but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world.

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn. . . .


I’ve never read anything by ‘Rachel Caine’ before, so I didn’t have much to go on. After Cait ( Paper Fury)  and May (Forever and Everly) going on about how awesome it was, I knew I had to read it. I put it on my TBR about 2 months ago, and by sheer luck, I found it in my library. Yes, I do like that unoriginal (because 3 other books are called this) title and COVER. Like first, it looked pretty UGLY to me, but now I can’t hep but staring at it – it’s just wonderful.



I feel like this book was PLOT AND CHARACTER driven but I still loved the plot.There was magic, I think? I mean you could make books disappear straight to the Archive. You could practically teleport (with some down-sides) I mean how much more magical does it get? There’s no spells or whatnot but it’s definitely got that fantasy element which I loved.
AND IT WAS BASED AROUND BOOKS! They have blanks which are like e-readers? And the Codex is kinda like their online library. IT WAS SO DIFFERENT AND ORIGINAL. I loved the whole getting into the Great Library and having this whole test thing. It reminded me so much of HP, the friendships and experiences and the nightly escapes – it just added to THE FEELS and the magic

AND THE POLITICS! I mean the Burners and Ink Lickers JUST CREEPED ME OUT A LITTLE but that extra evil in the story made it so much juicier! I mean who else comes up with such genius ideas? The political side to this story shows how the Burners were like these ‘terrorists’ and The Great Library this dystopian government. I LIVE FOR THIS. Morgan’s dad, The Smugglers, all these acts of rebellion, it was so FREAKIN’ COOL!

“When you steal a book, you steal from the world”

The premise is essentially GREAT. Knowledge is freely available but original copies of books are really valuable and you’re not allowed to own your own books (GASP). You’re only allowed Blanks which allow you to read ANY book from the ‘Codex’ (this like catalogue of books) which the Obscurists ‘mirror’ for you. Basically, the premise is what really made me get sucked into this world. It took a while for me to understand how things worked, but Caine manages to balance world-building and characters and plot and EVERYTHING!!! Even the pace was adorable, okay??? It’s set in 2025 and gosh that’s scary because that’s close. But of course, nothing like this would ever happen?

“There are three parts to learning: information, knowledge and wisdom, A mere accumulation of information is not knowledge, and a treasure of knowledge is not in itself, wisdom.”


They were all so diverse and well-developed and WONDERFUL. And they all grow up and mature near the end which is sad but also wonderful to see. And they all had their own secrets and history which just added more depth to them.
I am so glad that we had a good main character, Jess. I’m sick and tired of reading these heroes who are the ‘chosen one’s and are really perfect and ‘sassy’. It’s just getting annoying now and SO JESS WAS WONDERFUL He wasn’t ‘the chosen one’ though he had rare qualities about him. He made mistakes and he had flaws like the rest of the characters.

I LOVE Khalila, she’s Muslim and represented so well! She’s clever and smart, and yes, a little ‘sassy’ but not your typical character.
Dario was really rude and snobby at first (though I couldn’t help loving his character), but he grew out of his posh upbringing and became an awesome character.

Glain was also great! Some people might have found her boring but THAT WAS HER PERSONALITY and she was very realistic. She didn’t sugar coat anything and just because she wasn’t every socially able, DOESN’T MEAN SHE WASN’T AWESOME. Like she tried and that was the best.


Morgan was the only one I struggled with, to be honest. I didn’t expect much from her at the beginning and she ended up being ‘the chosen one’ But i started to love her too! Mainly because of Jess, but she was still quite great and I FELT SO BAD FOR HER AT THE END.

I can’t leave out Dario’s constant ongoing battle with Jess, was hilarious and a wonderful addition to the story.

“Jess extended his right hand. It hurt but he managed to hold it up, and after a moment, Dario got to his feet and walked over to grasp it. ‘We’re still not friends.’ Jess said. ‘Thank God.’
‘Imagine my relief.’ Dario went back to his bunk”


I loved it! It wasn’t this OVER DRAMATIC SHORT SENTENCE EVERY SECOND rubbish, it was real. It wasn’t too complex, but there were some parts I loved, like quotes I remember and perfectly perfect scenes that made laugh, hold my breath, or smile.

Not to mention the format. I loved how between every chapter there was an EPHEMERA (which I’m not sure means) but there was basically this WHOLE backstory with Wolfe and Artifex and Obscurists which JUST ADDED TO THE WORLDBUILDING.
Did I mention I LOVE WOLFE?! His character development WAS REAL and he was so kind and good and HE HAD A HISTORY, and probably my favourite character. And Santi was also LIKE GREAT because he just was there for Wolfe and I really liked his personality.

Ink and Bone Pic


“He pulled out his personal journal and pen. Jess understood the impulse, all too well, to spill out the bile and hurt into ink, where no one could see it.”


Basically, I loved it and you must read it now. THE PLOT TWISTS MAKE SENSE and you don’t see them coming, There are diverse characters not just added in FOR NO REASON because of they awesome personalities as well, and it’s a BOOK ABOUT BOOKS, so you’ll be sure to love it! I had no doubt to give this one 5 stars, because yes, IT WAS AWESOME AND I MAY BE FANGIRLING OVER IT FOREVER.

Do you love fantasy books? What are your thoughts on books about books? Have you read Ink and Bone – what did you think? Adding this to your TBR right now – because you should be?! Have you read a book similar to this – dystopia and fantasy mixed together? What did you think of this book review?


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51 thoughts on “Review – Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine – Another Fantasy Favourite

  1. It sounds very good, and interesting. I’m literally about to go to the library, so I’ll try to find this one!
    I totally agree with you. I am sick and tired of ‘Chosen Ones’.
    I need help! I’m writing a novel (the draft title is The Wrong Side of the Bed) this November (#nano). I don’t have an official blurb yet, but It’s about a girl named Emryn (the MC/Protagonist) who falls in to this crazy magical world, brought there by a combination of grumpiness, magic mirrors, and waking up on the Left Side. She goes to a village, were everyone and everything is grey, except for herself and a mysterious man named Jeff. Jeff sends her on a wild goose chase to find the Silver Stone (which doesn’t exactly make any sense. Silver is metal, not rock?? But Jeff was making it up in a hurry, I guess he didn’t think it through… I could add that in some dialogue….?) so on her ‘quest’ that Jeff tells her that ‘is the only way for her to get back home’ She goes up a mountain and is injured by either an avalanche or a creature, I haven’t decided yet, and is rescued by our Supporting Character, Amor. They have a special bond as they exchange history, secrets, and fight monsters together. I want to find a way to put stress, suspense, and diversity into Emryn and the story as they work their way up the mountain to achieve obstacles Jeff (known as the Dark Lord, they have no idea it’s Jeff) has placed. At the climax they find out Jeff really is the Dark Lord and they make him repent from his evil ways. They go home through the mirror.
    What I need help with is I don’t know how to make this story unique, or diverse.
    Sorry for such a long comment.


    • -coughs awkwardly- excuse me for butting in I just had a question: What is Jeff’s motive for sending her on this wild goose chase? Maybe give her a purpose in terms of why she does end up there. incorporate the story behind the greyness of everyone else vs her and Jeff being in color. My first though was Jeff stole the people of Left Side’s color for himself? I imagined the greyness being a sort of representation of lack of magic. So he steals their color because their color has their magic in it. And he wants magic so he can go back to the Right Side maybe and rule with his magic, where magic doesn’t necessarily exist in the same sense as on the Left Side. And because he sees the MC with color he tries a couple of things: Steal her Magic (which for some reason cannot be stolen?) or do away with her before she figures out his plan and restores color to the Left Side. As she and the Supporting character make their way up the mountain maybe have her learn the magic that used to belong to the Left Side’s world.Like because she’s colorful instead of grey she has magic that she doesn’t realize and because she doesn’t realize it she doesn’t know how to make use of it. She’ll learn the history of Left Side Magic and because she’s from Right Side she doesnt know how to use it because there it’s common. Does that make sense? Also maybe when Jeff repents does he returns color to the Left Side OR she maybe could forcefully have him return it.

      Sorry for butting in randomly! But I was scrolling to the bottom to comment and couldn’t help myself ;; I hope you don’t mind! Also feel free to use or not use any of the suggestions I made. I usually like to expand on ideas and brainstorm this way even if I don’t write the story. the ideas kinda just burst out of my brain.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen this book talked about, but I’ve never been really tempted to actually pick it up and read it. Although the title sounds really compelling I wasn’t sold based on the summary. I’m not sure why though lol because the idea itself is quite interesting. But maybe I’ll give it a chance. After all we shouldn’t judge books by their covers… er Summaries? lol. Added to my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. THE US COVER HAS MY WHOLE HEART AND SOUL. It’s so pwetttttty. 😍 But like dude. This whole book was freakin amazing??? P&F was still good, but not as great as this smol bean!!! Yes, I agree, Jess was an AMAZING MC. Flaws, mistakes, special but not… *sighs*

    SERIOUSLY. THE SETTING AND PREMISE THO. Like a dystopian fantasy that also has historical vibes and involves books and libraries and MAGIC??? *fangirls* It’s so peeeeeeerfeeeeeeect. The worldbuilding was DEFINITELY strong, as well as plot and characters and pretty much everything.

    *to anyone stalking the comments, this is a SPOILER* But omg Mahriya you have to fangirl with me about HOW. CUTE. Wolfe and Santi are??? At the beginning I didn’t like Wolfe, obviously, but then I grew to love him! And Santi. Santi is great. Or maybe their ship is great. IDK honestly.

    At first I was confused because I was like AM I READING FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A TEN-YEAR-OLD??? And I realized that I’d missed the “six years earlier” part. #onlyme


    Liked by 2 people

  4. I really love this series ❤ I was lucky enough to get an arc of the third book so I went ahead and pretty much read these all one after the other and they are really great. Haha, if you ever need someone to talk to this series about I'm here xD Plus her other series are pretty good too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you love it too! AN ARC!!!OF!!!ASH&QUILL!!! I am infinitely jealous but so excited that YOU GOT IT. I’ve read the first 2, and I’m dying to see what happens in the last one! I don’t know much about her other series but they look very vampire-ish dso idk?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha yes, I was super lucky honestly. I didn’t think I would. And I can tell you it definitely gets more intense! And it’s actually not the end! I was so surprised with the ending because I thought it was a trilogy but, no, there’s at least another one coming!

        And yeah, The Morganville Vampire series is one with vampires, but I really enjoyed the concept and overall story. It’s basically this small modern day town where vampires are in charge. They limit access to the outside world, and have their own system/rules (humans pay blood taxes where they have to donate to the blood bank a certain amount every couple of months), there’s pretty much a curfew where if you’re out after dark you’re kinda fair game. The characters are really great too. I would say if you did want to check it out I would probably buy the first volume because it’s a kinda long series and you save money getting those that have like 3 books in each one.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Books about books speak to my POOR BROKEN SOUL I LOVE THEM MUCH! Also, that cover (and even the unoriginal title) are absolutely flipping gorgeous. I may or may not be drooling right now (AM NOT).
    Of course I’m adding this book my TBR. Pfft, what do you think this is?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG it sounds AMAZING!!! A book about books sounds like my ideal book! I like that it’s set in the future,I think that’s really really cool!! 😍😍 Thank you so much for your amazing recommendations! 😊❤
    I’m dying to read it now (along with The Six of Crows of course!)

    Liked by 1 person

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