Ebook, 429 Pages
YA/ Fantasy/ Dystopia
By: Rachel Caine
“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.”
I think this book needs more attention because it is a bit different from what I expected and yet I ended up enjoying it very much. I saw this book on BD many times for a very low price and I regret that I did not get a copy back then because I always thought it is a historical fiction series that is not my cup of tea. My friend Helena has been asking me to read this for ages and this year she decided to pick it up for my 10 readers, 10 recommendations challenge so thanks for introducing me to this series Hel.
The story is a dystopian one with elements of magic. The story takes place in the year 2025 although I did not get those vibes from it at all and it follows Jess who comes from a family of book smugglers. Then his dad see that he should go to school because he would provide more help for the family’s business that way and from there all kind of complications emerge.
The prose is not very special, like it is not flowery or purple but it is not boring either, the story is kind of confusing and slow at first, specially with the long chapters but then it picks up the pace and gets easy to fly through.
“You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business to you.”
From the small summary I gave the story has a school setting which is one of my favorite settings at all if done right and I think it was done right here. I have a problem with the world building in terms of how the outside world looks and not the library itself because that part was intriguing! A school setting in my opinion also highly depends on characterization and I believe we had many stereotypical students but I believe that what makes it realistic, every novel with school setting has almost those types of characters and it makes sense. Jess was a good character and he grows a lot through the story and then we have more intriguing and diverse set of students including Khalila (a Hijabi character who is the smartest of them all), Thomas (Smart, strong but also very kind and is my favorite), Dario (The arrogant student from a high class family), and Wolfe who is their A- hole teacher!! Beware that many characters also die so be prepared for your favorites to be brutally murdered.
To be more honest, I think the story has many tropes and I found it very predictable and could guess all the major plot twists (Maybe missed a minor twist or two) because I feel Dystopian novels are just like that! On the other hand and I may sound like I am contraindicating myself, I thought it was original. I can explain this originality from the library setting because it was so intriguing and felt like a love letter to all the book worms out there and the sacrifices we are willing to make for our love of books.
“The first purpose of a librarian is to preserve and defend our books. Sometimes, that means dying for them – or making someone else die for them. Tota est scientia.”
Summary: I think this is a very satisfying entry in The Great Library series and I do believe it has potential. The characters were well written and so was the world. The story belongs to the dystopian genre and that makes the plot prone to predictability but I can promise you it does not have a virus as the norm is in these novels but has a library and lots of books so if you are a bookworm and you love books and you want a good dystopian story, go for this one!