Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mini-reviews: The Word Exchange and Ink and Bone

Jess Brightwell is a very specific kind of thief. He and his family specialize in procuring books for connoisseurs, which is extremely dangerous in a world ruled by The Great Library. The libraries alone are allowed to hold copies of books and personal ownership is forbidden. Jess is recruited to be an apprentice at the library and his father sees this as a perfect opportunity for expanding the family business. Jess and his classmates are given impossible tests, as they learn how to transfer books from one place to another and the proper techniques to confront someone suspected of owning books. But they soon find out that the world of the Library is much more complicated and sinister than they ever could have imagined.

Sometimes you read a book and it's as if you can see the movie version unfolding before you. Cinematic is a great description for Ink and Bone, with giant lions automatons who actively guard the library and a city under siege. This is the kind of story that you get swept up in, only to suddenly realize that it is 2 a.m. and you should really sleep at some point. There is amazing world building in this book, and the reader gets the feeling that this is only the tip of the iceberg. While the characters seemed somewhat like types towards the beginning, as the story progressed, we find that few people are exactly who they seem and there are incredible layers to most of the characters. When July of next year rolls around, I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Ink and Bone
By Rachel Caine
NAL July 2015
351 pages
From the library

Anana Johnson straddles two very different worlds. By day, she helps her editor father put the final touches on a print version of the North American Dictionary of the English Language. But it will be the last edition - outside the walls of their office, people are increasingly dependent on the memes that anticipate their every need and allow them to pay for their bill, schedule a doctor's appointment, or supply the word stuck on the tip of your tongue. One night, Ana's father doesn't show up for dinner. He has vanished, leaving as a clue just the word "Alice." Ana sets out to find her father and along the way, discovers the power and danger of the meme and just what is causing the word flu that is striking the world.

I enjoyed this book, but it sometimes felt like the stakes were pretty low because Ana is writing about this all after the fact. In spite of that, it made me really think about the ways that technology both helps and hinder us. While we are not suffering from the world flu like the characters in this book, it is not hard to imagine that our memories and ability to critically think are decreasing because we have all of the answers in the world at the other end of our keyboards.The Word Exchange is a fun adventure for the reader who loves playing with language and thinking about the power of a single word.

The Word Exchange
By Alena Graedon
Anchor February 2015
370 pages
From my shelves


  1. Both of these sound really good!

    1. Books about books are pretty irresistible, aren't they?? :)

  2. I'm currently reading The Word Exchange, so your little mini review was interesting to read. I've also made a note of Ink and Bone because you have me intrigued there.

    All Things Bookish – Jade Louise

    1. I can't wait to hear what you think when you are done!

  3. I liked The Word Exchange; but Ink and Bone sounds even better! Is it a middle-grade book?

  4. I enjoyed The Word Exchange because I'm definitely a word nerd! I'm also really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Ink and Bone. Glad to hear you liked it so much!