“The truth was what the library wanted it to be.”
Set in an alternative world where the Great Library of Alexandria survived the fire that resulted in the destruction of the accumulated knowledge of the ancient world. The Great Library is now a separate country, protected by its own standing army, grown with vast power, with it’s own unquestioned and unrivalled supremacy. Jess Brightwell has been sent into the Great Library as a spy for his criminal family.
Fun fact: Rachel Caine’s Morganville series is what got me into serious reading. My sister bought each book as it was published and when she outgrew them, she gave them all to me. And I’m not kidding, Rachel Caine’s (and Darren Shan) vampire novels are what inspired me to write and strive to become an author. And I think The Great Library will overthrow Morganville as my favourite Caine series. It was SO GOOD!
Seventeen year old Jess comes from a family of book smugglers, in a time in which it is illegal to own printed novels. If you want access to a book, it must come from the Great Library in Alexandria, but owning the books yourself is against the law. Jess is sent by his father to the library to train with other students to get a position in the Great Librarian – but also to be a spy for his family, and get books his family to smuggle. But soon Jess realizes that the Great Library isn’t what it seems. His loyalties will be tested in many ways, and Jess will be forced to choose a side.
Right from the start, this whole book was so suspenseful and ominous. No book will ever be perfect but, damn, this was so perfect for me. The beautiful description of Alexandria, to the frightening appearance of the Burners and the Library. (I’m not kidding, I was mentally screaming when a man started EATING A RARE ARISTOTLE BOOK)
I think my favourite thing about the book was the diversity. I loved the supporting characters so much, and they were the best part of the book for me. Jess is the protagonist, but there are several other students. There were twenty at first, but only six spots are open. Dario, Jess’s roommate in Alexandria, is a nuisance, but I think I liked him by the time we got to the end. Khalila is an intelligent girl. (she’s also wears a hijab which made me sooo happy!! I kept telling my family- “Look there’s a muslim character in here! She’s smart, and amazing!”) Thomas is a friendly boy with a very smart creative engineering mind. Glain is a cold Welsh girl, mainly to Jess, because of the conflict between their home countries. Morgan is a late arrival, mysterious and odd to everything, especially Jess. Wolfe is the Scholar who is in charge of the students, and he is ruthless and a bit scary. Captain Santi keeps guard of the students and Scholar. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like Wolfe at first but he’s an interesting one, once you get to know him. Wolfe and Santi’s friendship was also something I wasn’t expecting, but it’s so good!!
I highly recommend this to anyone!!! A creative, alternative history world with amazing writing and characters who love books. I’m so excited for the sequel, and I’m so glad I’ll be done with exams by the time it’s released!
Kindle Edition, 368 pagesPublished July 7th 2015 by Allison & Busby