INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine
Verdict: For the love of books.
I found this a slow burner, but once it got going I absolutely adored it. Set in the Great Library of Alexandria, this book offers a historic fantasy feel as well as speculative fiction vibe as it asks what would have happened if the Great Library grew in power and controlled the use of books. There's even a bit of steampunk and a grande adventure - this book has a lot to offer!
I didn't initially connect with the way Caine writes, and often found the prose to linger on heavy description without building any substantial picture in my mind. Somehow, this didn't matter in the end as the plot, the magic, and the characters were so creative and intriguing that I adapted to the prose.
Every character intrigued me, each of them complicated for very different reasons. The students each have their pasts, their desires, their secrets, and strengths, as well as different cultural backgrounds. The side characters were more than just tools to move the story along - they had substance too.
I try not to throw around associations lightly, but I did find a striking resemblance to Harry Potter, if book one had been written for older teens. It's also very different, but if you love one you might love the other.
So with a mix of history and fantasy, and overall a great adventure across Europe, this was a fantastic book I'm glad I read.
Source: Bought it myself!