A book about books!!! Is there anything better?!? There are very few things in life that make me as happy as a book about books. And yes, the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria still makes me sad, so I was fascinated by a world in which that had never happened.
The pacing and the world building in this story was amazing. I was in suspense and I was hooked from page one. I can't think of any parts of the book that dragged or should have been left out. I loves the descriptions of the library and the city and all the magic that was involved. It was so crazy and intense! But seriously, the Library in this story is evil. Or maybe I should say, the people running it are evil. But it takes a while for Jess to realize that. People are allowed to access the books from the Great Library, but it is illegal to own any printed books or any originals. Supposedly, they do this for people's own protection. According to the Library, too much knowledge is bad or something. They basically just want to control the entire world and they do a pretty good job. And then there are the Burners, who destroy books on principle because they are against the Library. I get their concerns, but come on, don't burn the books!
Jess comes from a family of book smugglers. His dad runs a business where he sells original works to people wiling to pay a high price and of course, they always must be aware of the Garda and the risks of being caught. Meanwhile, Jess really LOVES books. To his family, they are nothing more than a source of income. But to Jess, they are everything and any destruction of them are evil. That alone makes him my favorite character ever. When his dad orders him to train to become a librarian and act as a spy for the family, Jess is overjoyed at the prospect of being around so many books. Who wouldn't be though?
The training process for the library is intense. You have to pay an exorbitant fee just to take the entrance test. But then the training itself involves a crazy amount of studying and riddles and tests that don't make any sense. The other characters in the training class are all awesome and incredibly well developed. There was so much diversity and the class was made of all different races and cultures, which was great. There were friendships and rivalries and it was all perfect. Wolfe was the cranky instructor, who I hated at first, but then the author slowly revealed a few of his secrets and I grew to love him.
There was so much action in this story and so many twists and turns that I was just biting my nails throughout the entire book. There was some romance, but I was a bit apathetic to that part. The good part was that the romance wasn't overpowering and wasn't a huge part of the plot. The bad part was that the relationship felt a little too forced and too rushed for my liking. But I still loved his romantic interest, so it was all good.
The book didn't exactly end on a cliffhanger, but it was still left a bit open ended. I am SO EXCITED for the sequel!! I can't wait to see what happens next with Jess.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!