My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.…
Beware spoilers ahead!
Do not be deceived by the synopsis. This book is very dark and there are characters that died. I was surprised by this as the synopsis did not hint at a dark world or the deaths that occurred. In fact to me the synopsis sounded like a 3 star. But I was deceived by that synopsis and was pleasantly surprised.
Every chapter in this book begins with an Ephemera which shows us how the world came to be and letters that show us the characters motives. This is book is in third person and because of that it was hard to connect with Jess. When I found out something about him I sit there and think “Really I didn’t think you felt that.”
Now on to the plot. The book begins with the prologue Jess at 10 years old. On his was to make a run for his father. His is told to be careful because his older brother was killed that year. The run does not go smoothly but he does manage to deliver the book to his contact. We are then taken to the first chapter. It takes place 6 years after the prologue. Jess is 16 years old. His twin brother Brendan tells him that their father wants to see him. Together they make their way home.
Jess goes to his fathers office and waits for his father to tell him what he wants. His father explains that because Jess has no interest in the family business he has enrolled Jess to take a test so that he may become a librarian. Jess is appalled by this as he has feared the library his whole life. His father tells him that he either takes the test or he will cut off all of Jess’s funds and eventually kick him out. Seeing no other option Jess agrees.
He passes the test with a pretty good score (the highest in London). He is then told to take a train so that he may begin his training. Aboard the train Jess meets Thomas who is from Berlin, Glain who is Welsh, and Khalila is from Riyadh. When they reach their destination they discover that there will only be six students who will be appointed positions within the library.
Their teacher Christopher Wolfe is everyone’s worst nightmare. He has no mercy and is extremely harsh. Throughout the book you do realize that he isn’t all that bad. Jess’s roommate is Dario whose from Spain. Their first meeting does not go well and sets the tone for the rest of the book. In the sense of what they think of each other and how they treat each other. Later on in the book we get a different student whose name is Morgan from Oxford.
All the characters in this book have a secret motive. Or so it seems. Either way they are all mysterious and you do not fully know of their motives and reasons for taking the test.
There is romance in this book. But it does not take away from the plot nor is there a love triangle. For me personally it’s a little hard to ship said couples because all the characters are mysterious. But I can totally see why they work well together.
I loved how the Caine was able to create such a dark yet beautiful world! The diversity was awesome to read about! As were the relationships the characters had with no another. And don’t get me started on just how much the characters grew in this book! I have a very good feeling that the second book will be even better than this one.
Overall this was a great read! I will for sure read the sequel. I recommend this to fantasy fans and people who love books.