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BOOK REVIEW: Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel Caine

BOOK REVIEW: Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel CaineGlass Houses (The Morganville Vampires #1)
by Rachel Caine
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood. Will she be able to face the town's terror or will she drown like everyone else?

 

So. I’ve always been a lovey dovey vampire lover as opposed to the GRR, I’M AN EVIL BASTARD kind. But, as it turns out….I fell really hard for this book. And, instead of sexy bites shared between vampire lovers (or, rather, a human AND vamp), we had the scary as shit psycho vampires. Honestly, I was disappointed at first. I mean, really. Who doesn’t like a little neck biting action? WHO I ASK, WHO?! But as the story progressed, it gave me something….a little more.

 

 

-and Dad, who was glowering at Shane in the background, was as tall and twice as broad. “Is it him?” Dad asked. “Did he get you into trouble?”
“Not me,” Shane said. “I’ve just got that kind of face.”

I won’t say it wouldn’t be a cool future twist (I’m looking at you, book two *wink*), but, for now, I’m satisfied. Why am I satisfied, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. Instead of sexy neck play between two lovahs, we have a million other things: Mean girls who are actually VERY mean, evil vampires that cause a lot of heroic romantic suspense, not one, but TWO sexy boys, and a cast of four characters that live in a house together, doing everything they can to protect one another. Oh, and there’s an EPIC twist somewhere in this story-I like. I approve.

For me to love books that are….well….paranormal, the author better be hella creative. In this case?? She was. And I even thought it was a BIT more addictive than my other vamp series I’m reading…but only by a hair! To me, that’s amazing. I LOVE Evernight-I love the atmosphere, the boy, the main girl (most of the time), but sometimes it’s a bit lighter and not as intense in the writing area. I love that, but starting this series certainly made my heart pound in ways that are completely out of this world.

This book was creepy as shit, but it doesn’t really kick up the scary SCARINESS until book two. Oh yeah, I’m running through these vamp series like candy, so, yeah, I’m extremely behind on reviews FYI. These poor books aren’t getting NEAR the reviews they deserve, I realize. But, I digress, my point is this: These books are a lot more adult. They aren’t really……mature, per se, but they do border that fine line where you’re like, shit, are they really going to burn this guy alive? And are they honestly going to kill off one of my favorite characters brutally? I really can’t say….and I kind of dig it.

Now, okay, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t defend my darling males. You’ve got Shane and Michael. Michael is who everyone seems to like. I guess I did, too? But that’s only because I let reviews influence me. From the very beginning it’s clear that Shane is totally into Claire and he is going to be uber protective of her. I love this. So, in essence, I LOVE Shane. He is nothing but sweet and kind and funny from the very beginning-And when things get serious, so does he. So…what’s not to like? I swear, people lol. Who cares!!! But. Anyway. Moving on. Michael is great, too, but….I don’t see the large hype for him??? Other than loving him as a main character-I do, too. I guess I’m just still trying to figure that one out. Not trying to dwell on it.

She didn’t look up.
He came a step closer, and his bare feet and sweatpants came into her vision. “Claire. You’ve got to promise me.”
“I can’t,” she said. “I’m not some little kid. And I’m not your sister.”
He laughed, low in his throat. “Oh, yeah. That, I know. But I don’t want to see you get hurt again.”

OH OH OH!!!! And, okay, I must say-these might be some of my favorite kissing scenes EVER. Or, at least, in a long long time. I just am extremely enamored with how she writes the exchanges-sexy, sweet, swoony, and then there’s how she explains the body? I don’t know…I just was very attracted to the way she described something as beautifully simple as kissing. It’s like authors forget how to, you know?? I have very high hopes for, ahem, future endeavors hehe.

God this review is so weird. I’m sorry guys-I’m sitting at work and going back and forth between work and writing this sad excuse for a review, so that’s likely it. I’d rather post something rather than nothing at all so, well….here you go. All I can really say is I adore this series very much and I am EXTREMELY excited to see what’s next for my darling Claire and Shane-I love Eve and Michael, too, but babies first!!! I think a lot of people are missing out on this-Yes, it’s silly. Yes, they get into some crazy situations….but it never once felt cheesy. So. Um. SCORE. That is all.

**************

Shockingly..I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!! I’ve been waiting FOREVER to try and I am so glad I waited until my comeback (from being sick) for my month of vampires….Though, these vamps are pretty mean lol And I ADORE Shane. EEPS.

RTC!!

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RELEASE DAY + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

RELEASE DAY + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

RELEASE DAY + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel CainePaper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
by Rachel Caine
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

A year ago, Rachel Caine gave me something I didn’t know I needed : an alternative world where The Great Library of Alexandria has authority over life or death, where lions aren’t only wild animals but also creepy automatons (of course I love them) – A world in which smuggling books is no small feat *cough* it could kill you, okay? *cough*

Today Rachel Caine comes back with the sequel of Jess’ adventures, and if I didn’t like it as much as I loved Ink and Bone, I still think that this premise is absolutely fantastic and have hopes for the last one. Really, though? I cannot wait to see what you will think, so why don’t enter the giveaway and make an opinion for yourself?

My review of Ink and Bone : 4 stars

In my honest opinion the strength of Ink and Bone lies first in the plot, which is entertaining as hell, and in the world-building, which contains several of my main interests : think books, automatons, alchemy, a dystopian world ruled by Librarians who control every knowledge (or aim to) and an academy blended together. Exciting? FUCK YEAH.

Random facts you might want to know about Ink and Bone (because there’s no way I’m spoiling the story for you)

✔ After reading I went to my bookshelves and HUGGED my paperbacks. Not my Kindle. The thing kind of scared me.

✔ It presents an alternative history that actually MAKES SENSE (most of the time) : think about our history with a twist, the uprising of the Great Library, an organization that controls every book and then, holds a great deal of power. No press. No Gutenberg. I know, *GASP*

✔ Oh, they have lions automatons as guards : HOW AWESOME IS THAT???

✔ I loved the concept of Codex and every invention, really. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s say that the Great Library developed a number of mechanisms, first of all the ability to transfer and erase words on every book sold, because they’re all blanks, sort of ereaders controlled by the Library awhile originals are carefully kept in Alexandria. An example? Look at your book, and imagine that it would be possible for someone else to alter or erase its content in one second without even being at the same place as you. OMG BUT THAT’S POSSIBLE! Frightening, right? I thought so. Especially given that printed books are outlawed.

Concerning the characterization, I have to admit that I’m not completely convinced by it because it lacks of depth. Indeed the characters felt quite blank sometimes – not in a boring way, but they weren’t fleshed-out enough in my opinion, especially the secondary ones like Jess’s fellow students, who were border stereotypical on some aspects. That’s why I’d have wanted them to be less transparent in their intentions and more intricate. However, I did enjoy Wolfe’s character a lot, because he was complex and multi-layered : here’s the kind of characters I can love.

“I suppose you want me to apologize for calling you a bastard.” “No need,” Santi said. “You should hear what his friends call him.” ” I have friends?” Wolfe said. “They don’t care to admit it in public.”

As for Jess, the main character, I’m afraid that my complaints prove to be the same. Indeed although I can’t say that I didn’t care about him because it would be false, at the same time I can’t deny that I kept feeling that something was missing to completely win me. Oh, well. I don’t know. Perhaps I’m not used to that kind of books (which emphasizes on the plot, let’s say) anymore. Indeed almost every one of my favorite authors (Marchetta, Moskowitz, Robin Hobb, even) focus primarily on the characterization and that’s okay with me, because that’s what I seek most of the time. Not here : not that Jess’s character wasn’t interesting, but he never stood out either. Now, perhaps does it serve the story’s purpose, in a way? Concerning his personality, he’s not flawless and I’m glad he isn’t : indeed he makes mistakes, he has at first a restrained vision of the world (yes, he’s sometimes full of shit stereotypes, but now, he’s 16, give him a break) but how in the world could it be different, tell me? From his upbringing spent as a smuggler for his family’s business to his training in the Academy, he has always been used, and genuinely doesn’t know how to deal with real relationships. However something about him rubbed me the wrong way, and that’s the fact that he cares about books more than people. Well, even as a book lover (no shit) it made me a little uncomfortable at times, I must confess. Fortunately it doesn’t stay that way, because despite the fact that books are rare in his world, I wouldn’t have stand a character who happily watches people getting starved and killed because of books. Sorry guys. I’m TEAM HUMANS. (I’m French, after all. Yes, that’s relevant. You’ll see) But then, little by little, he evolves. Day after day, he realizes that the world is not near as simple as he thought he was. Page after page, we get to know him better, to understand him more. Chapter after chapter, the choices he has to face become more and more difficult and the lines between right or wrong blur… For that, I thank you, Rachel Caine.

For that, I’m eager to read the next book because I feel how strong his potential can be. Finally, for most of the book, I got the feeling that the romance was… Well… I’d say “low-cute”. What is it, you’re asking? It means that I’m happy for them, kind of, but I don’t care and to me it was unnecessary since the author openly didn’t focus on it, so much that the story would have been as great without it. Now, (don’t hit me) but that’s what I thought about the romance in Harry Potter too. I just don’t care. That’s not why I loved the books. So, yeah, I wasn’t a big fan of this romance which stayed in no-chemistry territory, until, until, until suddenly I started to feel something, and that was as glorious as unexpected. Now, and that’s something I rarely write, but to me the pacing was perfection : I was never EVER bored and the writing just flowed smoothly, making the read completely addictive, and some parts were so full of tension that my heartbeat increased.

PS : French are rebels, eat lambs and drink red wine : of course they do >.< PS2 : No, Dario, Spanish wine isn’t better than Cahors. DUH. PS3 : I might be (a little) subjective. MAY-BE.

Giveaway to win a copy of Ink and Bone (US only)

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My review of Paper and Fire : 3 stars

 

 

 

 

The novelty wore off. Sadly, if it stayed entertaining, Paper and Fire confirmed the complaints I had with Ink and Bone, and lost a little of its charm along the way.

✔ As it was the case with the first book, we’re on for a ride in a fast-paced and action-packed story which manages to stay out of boredom territory at all times. It is addictive and that’s rare enough to point.

Moreover, alternative history is my jam, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the world-building kept my interest awake. This said, more we go on in the story, more the similarities with regular YA Fantasy novels – Dystopian? – become hard to hide. That’s why even if I kinda worship the Lion automatons (really, they’re just so much fun!), the bunch of kids trying to overtake a Great Power in a world in war with Resistants… tires me a little. Call me cynical.

Not to mention that looking back… I can’t not see how little happened in this book, and by that, I mean, things that actually matter for the story’s progression. If I compare the ending of Ink and Bone and this one, I’m let with a bad after taste because in all honesty, I expected more. More craziness, more originality, less useless scenes about characters I don’t care about…. and less predictability.

✔ Let’s talk about the characters, okay? They’re great. No, really, they are. The relationships dynamics are interesting, we get at least three romances (without forgetting the LGBT diversity), they have to make harsh choices, and yet…

And yet I don’t feel anything for them. Take Jess, for example. The boy’s sarcastic, a little wild, damn, he’s a reformed smuggler (I do love my thieves) and is in love with a girl who’s locked in a high-security tower. Perfect, right? Too bad his story never, ever, pulled at my heart strings and let me so devoid of any emotion that I wonder if my heart’s working. And don’t get me started about the tedious romances (plural) that never managed to give me butterflies. Please don’t give us romances if we’re not going to feel any of the supposed heartbreak or joy. Don’t, because their uselessness is way too noticeable. Ugh, annnnnd arguments I didn’t even UNDERSTAND. What’s the problem with me, really?!

Unfortunately I can say the same about every one of these characters. On paper they work, I like them enough, but in the end, they lack complexity and I don’t care about any of them, or, rather, I can’t connect with them. For all the hardships they endure, they still feel like visitors in their own story sometimes. Or that’s just me.

✔ As usual, Rachel Caine‘s prose flows smoothly and makes for an enjoyable and easy read.

But.

BUT.

It relies way too-much on narratives choices that annoy me a great deal. I’ll call them “forewarning” but really, I could say, “these things authors do when they think we’re too stupid to figure it out”.

1) The letters : So the story is filled with letters from different important figures from this world, and are meant to inform us about other’s intentions. Their problem? They destroy any kind of tension in the story.

Let’s take an example, shall we? So our MCs are about to be imprisoned (GASP), and wonder if they’re gonna be betrayed by someone. Of course, being sensible readers, we’re scared too, poor kids don’t deserve that.

A page later though, we get a letter.
From this person.
Who says she won’t betray them.
Before we even get to that part of the story.

I mean, why the fuck not? I’ll tell you why : if I know everyone’s intentions, my mind can never wander in fear. Plus they’re so low on authenticity, I can’t even.

2) Useless scenes, as in, involving characters I don’t care about who do things I don’t care about and whose purpose stays very unclear. They’re few, yes, but already too many for me.

Why 3 stars, then? Because despite its flaws, Paper and Fire is a book which offered me a few hours of fun. Sometimes it’s enough, but that wasn’t what I expected after the rollercoaster that was Ink and Bone. Oh, well. I still hold hopes for the last one 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

BOOK REVIEW: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel CaineInk and Bone (The Great Library #1)
by Rachel Caine
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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 he 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.…

 

Give in. Give up.
Survive.

 

Beautiful. Mesmerizing. Addictive. So many words come to mind when I think of this story. I have many regrets as of late, and not being able to read my dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy is one of them. But perhaps the larger crime is that when I do attempt to stick one of these stories in my reading schedule I’m either:

A) too tired
B) too tired
C) too tired

Oh, and did I mention my time has been severely limited? I’ve always been that girl that scoffs when people say they are ‘too tired’ or ‘don’t have time’. I mean, we have the time we make, ya know? And believe me, I still live by this. I set aside adequate time to read this story, only to realize that after about 10 pages (at times while reading) I wouldn’t even know what had happened. That was when I decided it was time to set this story down and pick it up when I had time.

Doing this pained me-I never put aside those I truly cherish, and this story was just magnificent. But when you can’t do it…you just can’t fucking do it. So, as I read 50% on Saturday, I decided to read the last 50% (the most action-packed, heart-wrenching parts of the story) when I had the chance. And oh man, did it kill me-what if when I picked it up, the characters/pace/plot were like strangers to me? But as I (surprisingly) gained a large amount of time yesterday, I picked this story up and it was like I’d never left.

“No, it’s alright,” he said, and tried to sit up, but the brief nap had stiffened his sore muscles, and it was a clumsy process. He grabbed at the robe to keep it more or less closed. It was mostly a failed attempt, and it exposed the livid black-and-blue of his side. She took in a breath and came to help him rise. He yanked the robe back together and tied it shut.
“Don’t apologize,” she said. “I’ve seen worse.”
“You mean the bruises, I hope.”

It speaks volumes to me when I can put a story down and come back to it with much (if not all) the same feels. Jess’s story intrigued and delighted me, making me feel like I was in this magical world that has long since been lost to me. Dare I say that this reminded me of a very twisted version of Harry Potter mixed with The Testing? Not one moment was dull and more than once I felt like I was trapped in a super psycho version of Hogwarts.

Reset the board and keep playing.

That’s not to say I felt the story was anything like Harry’s, naturally. No, what we have here is dark, sinister, and twisted-wrapped in a neat little package so people believe the Library is good, whole, looking out for the betterment of the world and those who wish to prosper in it. But what lies beneath is much more terrifying (Cue The Testing vibes) and unlike anything Jess could have imagined.


 photo tumblr_mftv2hFCaA1ric07zo1_400_zpsiicc9n1b.gif

What if all you had ever worked for, everything you dreamed of, everything you put your whole life into turned out to be exactly what the underbelly of the world said it was? What if your life’s goal turned out to be like making a deal with the devil? And what happens when all of your newly found friends began to disappear in horrible and unimaginable ways…..and not just when they get sent home? What then?

What would that be like, to have that single, unshakable faith in the world, to not see all the shadows?

Jess was a truly remarkable character. I remember when my lovely friend Anna was talking about him-She got the vibe that he cared more about this futuristic world where books were coveted holier and more valuable than human lives. She wanted him to care, to fight for people. And in a way I see what she’s saying-He was kind of out for himself, ya know? But then here’s me, right where I always am: Team Boy. I mean, come on. He’s a book smuggler, brought up in an illegal business only to pass a test to be admitted for the chance to become a Library Scholar/Representative/Whatever. He is against other students and time and again proves how cunning he is….and yes, he rocks a ‘tude….and I fucking loved it.

Jess is smart and he knows it. He does what he has to to move onto the next round, doing what must be done to move on….but he begins to change. He starts to care. Those people he looked at with competition in his eyes start to become his family, these people who are standing in his way. And would you be so quick to befriend those who could possibly send you back to the horrible world you once lived in? I think not. But Jess…Hmm I loved Jess. Shocking, isn’t it?


You said stay.


 photo greatgats8_zpsvnoi2bny.gif

And the romance. Daaawww I loved it. While not the main plot point, it still touched me deeply and ripped my heart in two. Morgan and Jess’s journey was a tremulous one, danger and secrets swirling around them like an unkempt tornado of peril and destruction. I think that was my favorite part about their romance-which is sick-but I’ve never said I’m sane, k? Desperation, despair, and longing convolute what is, making for an emotional vortex that you don’t realize you’re being sucked into….until a plea and raspy voice (Have I mentioned raspy voices in books are my downfall in an emotional scene?? Muaha) are staring you right in the face and you just know it’s going to haunt your dreams long after you’ve finished and gone to bed.

He wanted to laugh at himself for being so stupid. He wanted to scream until his throat bled.


 photo tumblr_m4gjkdgaJp1r3rcd2_zpsblbxbz5y.gif

I just…I can’t say why I loved this so much. And I can’t say I gave it my all-which breaks my heart. A 5 star book has been lowered because, again, I didn’t have the time to give to it, so I can assure you I will be re-reading this as soon as humanly possible. Jess’s turmoil touched something deep inside of me, and I longed for him to succeed, to break away from the horrible life he grew up living. I am a sucker for male POVs….and I’m more than certain I will be searching for more male POV books-they seem to be my favorites lately. Again, shocking, isn’t it?

BOOK REVIEW – Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

BOOK REVIEW – Prince of Shadows by Rachel CainePrince of Shadows by Rachel Caine
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A thrilling retelling of the star-crossed tale of Romeo and Juliet, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series.

In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honor and—if they survive—marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born.

Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona—and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona…

…And will rewrite all their fates, forever.


Wow. Here I am, in love with a Romeo and Juliet retelling. Who would have ever believed that it was possible? Not me for sure.

Romeo is a foolish infatuated kid who composes poems like we would write a shopping list. Yay! Finally I found in Benvolio a hero who shares my opinion of Romeo : as a kind but inconsistent and immature teenager who craves for drama. God, I’ll take the Prince of Shadows on any day.

“It’s Romeo. He’d swoon over a dancing bear if it wore a skirt.”

My thoughts exactly.

Tybalt Capulet is an abusive asshole who deserves to die from a slow and painful death (I’m ready)

I have a love/hate relationship with Mercutio, but mostly, I can’t help but love him.

“I love Rosaline”, Romeo said. “One risks anything for love”
Mercutio gave him a disbelieving stare, then turned to me. “You actually let this infant out in the streets, Ben? On his own?”

Their friendship was so fierce and heartwarming that I found myself smiling more often than not.

Romeo and Juliet’s love story is filled with madness. Indeed the direction chosen by Rachel Caine to portray Romeo and Juliet’s love story was surprising and pleased me a lot. I don’t want to say too much but I found this way so much more understandable and believable!

Benvolio is such a complex and captivating character. I shall marry him someday. The oldest of his generation, he can’t afford to be a dreamer like Romeo : by all appearances he’s (almost) exactly what we could call a wise fellow : strong, discreet, respectful, and if he sometimes sheds the blood, it’s only to protect himself. Except that appearances can be deceitful and that’s for the best : indeed Benvolio is none other than the Prince of Shadows, famous thief who strikes, revengeful, in the most important houses of Verona.

“I smiled, feeling fierce and free and wild in ways that no one would ever believe of the quiet, solid, responsible Benvolio Montague. At night I could be something else than what my city, my station, and my family required.”

Benvolio is trust-worthy and loyal where Romeo is charming, but restlessly fights against his own inner demons, either impossible feelings or thirst for blood.

“There was a wilderness trembling inside me that begged to let fly, and let the arrows fall as random as rain.”

I loved this about him – How couldn’t I? It makes his character so much layered and real.

Rosaline is an heroine I can admire : strong-minded, smart, brave. I fell in love with them both – and suffered for them. One might say that it was insta-love, but I don’t agree, as their relationship grows slowly, after perhaps an insta sparkle of interest on both counts, and with reasons, because they’re both different from other people around them and both bounded by secrecy. In any case it didn’t prevent me from loving the story because there was a splendid characterization and yeah, I fell in love with them.


Don’t get fooled though : It would be grandly unfair to reduce this book to a love-story, because even if it is present, it’s far, far away from being the main plot. Verona’s world is brutal, unforgiving, filled with secrets, political alliances, violence and betrayals. Each path can lead to destruction, and one might act like a wolf to escape wolves’ wrath.

How to survive in this pack of wolves? How to avoid all the low blows and manipulations present along the road? How far will you go to protect your family, your friends, your love?

How to live a life where deception is the norm and personal happiness a stupid and impossible dream?

The writing is utterly beautiful, and creates an haunting atmosphere that I wasn’t able to escape before the last sentence. From the very first page I was transported into Verona, enthralled by Rachel Caine’s vivid and superb words.

⑤ Whether because of the awesome action scenes or the slowly growing tension, I felt so many emotions – compassion, hope, rage, love, with always, in this world, the despair lurking.

Frankly? As far as retellings are concerned, it was fantastic. Why, it almost makes me want to read Romeo & Juliet again – except I won’t, because this is the story I want to carry in my heart.

BOOK REVIEW – Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

BOOK REVIEW – Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel CaineInk and Bone (The Great Library #1)
by Rachel Caine
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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 he 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.…

In my honest opinion the strength of Ink and Bone lies first in the plot, which is entertaining as hell, and in the world-building, which contains several of my main interests : think books, automatons, alchemy, a dystopian world ruled by Librarians who control every knowledge (or aim to) and an academy blended together. Exciting? FUCK YEAH.

Random facts you might want to know about Ink and Bone (because there’s no way I’m spoiling the story for you)

✔ After reading I went to my bookshelves and HUGGED my paperbacks. Not my Kindle. The thing kind of scared me.

✔ It presents an alternative history that actually MAKES SENSE (most of the time) : think about our history with a twist, the uprising of the Great Library, an organization that controls every book and then, holds a great deal of power. No press. No Gutenberg. I know, *GASP*

✔ Oh, they have lions automatons as guards : HOW AWESOME IS THAT???

✔ I loved the concept of Codex and every invention, really. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s say that the Great Library developed a number of mechanisms, first of all the ability to transfer and erase words on every book sold, because they’re all blanks, sort of ereaders controlled by the Library awhile originals are carefully kept in Alexandria. An example? Look at your book, and imagine that it would be possible for someone else to alter or erase its content in one second without even being at the same place as you. OMG BUT THAT’S POSSIBLE! Frightening, right? I thought so. Especially given that printed books are outlawed.

Concerning the characterization, I have to admit that I’m not completely convinced by it because it lacks of depth. Indeed the characters felt quite blank sometimes – not in a boring way, but they weren’t fleshed-out enough in my opinion, especially the secondary ones like Jess’s fellow students, who were border stereotypical on some aspects. That’s why I’d have wanted them to be less transparent in their intentions and more intricate. However, I did enjoy Wolfe’s character a lot, because he was complex and multi-layered : here’s the kind of characters I can love.

“I suppose you want me to apologize for calling you a bastard.”
“No need,” Santi said. “You should hear what his friends call him.”
” I have friends?” Wolfe said.
“They don’t care to admit it in public.”

As for Jess, the main character, I’m afraid that my complaints prove to be the same. Indeed although I can’t say that I didn’t care about him because it would be false, at the same time I can’t deny that I kept feeling that something was missing to completely win me. Oh, well. I don’t know. Perhaps I’m not used to that kind of books (which emphasizes on the plot, let’s say) anymore. Indeed almost every one of my favorite authors (Marchetta, Moskowitz, Robin Hobb, even) focus primarily on the characterization and that’s okay with me, because that’s what I seek most of the time. Not here : not that Jess’s character wasn’t interesting, but he never stood out either. Now, perhaps does it serve the story’s purpose, in a way? Concerning his personality, he’s not flawless and I’m glad he isn’t : indeed he makes mistakes, he has at first a restrained vision of the world (yes, he’s sometimes full of shit stereotypes, but now, he’s 16, give him a break) but how in the world could it be different, tell me? From his upbringing spent as a smuggler for his family’s business to his training in the Academy, he has always been used, and genuinely doesn’t know how to deal with real relationships. However something about him rubbed me the wrong way, and that’s the fact that he cares about books more than people. Well, even as a book lover (no shit) it made me a little uncomfortable at times, I must confess. Fortunately it doesn’t stay that way, because despite the fact that books are rare in his world, I wouldn’t have stand a character who happily watches people getting starved and killed because of books. Sorry guys. I’m TEAM HUMANS. (I’m French, after all. Yes, that’s relevant. You’ll see)

But then, little by little, he evolves. Day after day, he realizes that the world is not near as simple as he thought he was. Page after page, we get to know him better, to understand him more. Chapter after chapter, the choices he has to face become more and more difficult and the lines between right or wrong blur… For that, I thank you, Rachel Caine. For that, I’m eager to read the next book because I feel how strong his potential can be.

Finally, for most of the book, I got the feeling that the romance was… Well… I’d say “low-cute”. What is it, you’re asking? It means that I’m happy for them, kind of, but I don’t care and to me it was unnecessary since the author openly didn’t focus on it, so much that the story would have been as great without it. Now, (don’t hit me) but that’s what I thought about the romance in Harry Potter too. I just don’t care. That’s not why I loved the books. So, yeah, I wasn’t a big fan of this romance which stayed in no-chemistry territory, until, until, until suddenly I started to feel something, and that was as glorious as unexpected.

Now, and that’s something I rarely write, but to me the pacing was perfection : I was never EVER bored and the writing just flowed smoothly, making the read completely addictive, and some parts were so full of tension that my heartbeat increased.

PS : French are rebels, eat lambs and drink red wine : of course they do >.<
PS2 : No, Dario, Spanish wine isn’t better than Cahors. DUH.
PS3 : I might be (a little) subjective. MAY-BE.

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