THE GREAT LIBRARY SERIES BY RACHEL CAINE || Terrifying Librarians & Characters You’ll Want to Die for

I’m having a tough time coming up with a coherent review for The Great Library series by Rachel Caine. Take The Book Thief and intensify the smuggling aspect, then take Big Brother concept from 1984, and the academic vibe of Harry Potter – mix it all together and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous series on magical libraries!

So, if you trust me enough…

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If not, let’s get on with the SPOILER FREE review!

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A world in which The Great Library of Alexandria did not burn down is every bookworm’s dream (probably). Imagine; it is said to have consisted of 700,000 scrolls. 700,000 SCROLLS. Can you imagine the vast amount of knowledge and history we’ve missed out on?

That is what Rachel Caine’s world re-imagines. In Ink & Bone, we’re introduced to an alternate reality where the library still hands. However, the world is not the utopia we might have expected. The Alexandria Library has become the super power of the world;  it controls nations, it fosters scholars but dictates which knowledge can be shared and which cannot, it is regarded with a holy reverence by the people.


Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine



“Guard yourself at all costs, and when you can, fight for the soul of what we both love.




Instead of books, citizens are provided with blanks, a device similar to a modern tablets, where people can access books that are allowed by the Library. No one is allowed to own physical copies of books. Which might have you wondering, what about the printing press?

Innovations are not welcomed. Ideas are killed. Ruthless and merciless is the Library; it safeguards knowledge, yes, but for its own good. Revolutions end in death. And no one, absolutely no one, is an individual.

Great Lib

It is during this breathtaking history that we are introduced to Jess Brightwell, son of the biggest and most powerful book smuggler. Personally, this sounds like the right trade for me. Jess’ family is cold and brutal – they neither hate nor love each other. Everything is business even the family! I absolutely loved how Rachel Caine wrote Jess’ family system because it’s hard to figure them out. We know them to cold and mean, but knowing how their mind works is different! We read of how they survive not only in this historical alternative but within their family.

Jess is THE quintessential bookworm. Look at a book with just the slightest malice and you’re sure to send Jess into a fury. Just like every other person, Jess worships the Library and what it stands; becoming a librarian is his dream and he pursues it with a religious fervor,  but the more involved he gets Jess realizes that the Library is not as benevolent as he once thought it to be.




His gaze fixed on them, and instantly he felt that sensation: longing. He wanted to take those books in his hands and experience the texture of the covers, the smell of the pages. Books spoke mind to mind, soul to soul across the abyss of time and distance.



 Jess and his fellow postulants were written so amazingly! They drive themselves past exhaustion to excel within the Library, they competitive and passionate nature remind me so much of our present day youth. In spite of knowing the Library’s true nature, Jess and his companions fight to change it. They do not see the Library as the one that is evil but the people that control it; they do not want to dismantle the system, they want to better. This particular trait in them inspired me so much. Our world today is riddled with many injustices and every day – in our small ways – we fight.

Speaking of the characters, the come from all over the world! You cannot imagine my excitement my reading experience gave me. This book is drenched with culture and beautiful places, and languages and religion – I love it! Also, there is a great representation for sexual diversity and mental health!




“If a ghost can speak of love, then know I adore you still. You are my beloved, and I will be waiting.




I urge you to pick up this series because it deserves to be hyped! I was surprised after reading the first book that not many people talk about this series…? Whyever not? The setting is outrageously unique – power hungry bookworms, ink-lickers, Translation chambers, automatons. The series does not shy away from showing us the ways of power hungry rulers and how the consequences of their war fall on the innocent. This series will break your heart in so many ways you cannot imagine. You will laugh and cry, then swoon and rage; it is a beautiful mesh of activism and the youth. I promise you that with each book this series only gets better and more intense.

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Purchase the books!


Ink and Bone: Book Depository || Amazon || Amazon Kindle

Paper and Fire: Book Depository || Amazon || Amazon Kindle

Ash and Quill: Book Depository || Amazon || Amazon Kindle

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While I wanted to talk about the characters in more detail, I decided I would keep it for my book four review since I did not want to spoil anything!


Preorder your copy of Smoke and Iron!

Hardcover: 448 pages

Price: 17.99 USD (Amazon), 16.09 USD (Book Depository)

Publisher: Berkley (July 3, 2018)

Camillea Reads is an affiliate of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Book Depository. This is an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the sites. This in no way affects my opinion of the above book.

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I hope my review convinced you enough to pick up this series! This is so worth your time not only is the world-building impeccable but you will also find yourself sympathizing with the Library.

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Disclaimer: Text dividers are from Freepik. Camillea Reads uses affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission whenever purchases are made using the links. 


12 thoughts on “THE GREAT LIBRARY SERIES BY RACHEL CAINE || Terrifying Librarians & Characters You’ll Want to Die for

  1. Marie says:

    Loved your review! ❤ I have heard great things about this series from fellow bloggers and I have to say, it sounds INCREDIBLE, I can't wait to finally read it 😀 Thank you so much for sharing! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iris @ Hoard of Books says:

    Ooh, I love this series!! The world is SO fascinating and horrifying and amazing, and AGDKHJGASDFAF!!! And the CHARACTERS!!! I love them. So much.
    Also I want book four really desperately.


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