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.…

July 7, 2015  |  352 pages
(Read from Aug 22, 2017 to Aug 31, 2017)
Grade: C–    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 70% Entertainment, 30% Literature
Writing Quality:
Low High
Low High

Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
A strong start and intriguing conclusion can't make up for this book's stock of shortcomings. Caine is working off an innovative premise — paper books are contraband in her alternate reality, putting strict controls on the spread of knowledge. Drama of all sorts could spawn from there, but the author chooses to shift away from the dystopian theme and introduce threads of political intrigue, war, and romance. These never mesh and the characters feel as if they have to be dragged through the plot.  (+1 vote)