Published: July 7 2015
Number of pages: 351
Genre: alchemy, adventure, romance, dystopian
Audience: older adults
Rating: 5/5 owl hoots
Ruthless and powerful, the Great Library of Alexandria is a presence to every major city, supplying the greatest works of history to the masses. However, the ownership of an original book is illegal. Jess Brightwell believes that the Library holds a great value as it continues to govern the flow of knowledge, but most of what he learns is from illegal books that his father obtains from the black market. Suddenly Jess is sent to the Great Library to be trained to enter in its services, and yet at the same time, he is asked to spy for his family. Soon Jess’s loyalties are tested as he undergoes challenges but when his friend invents a machine that will change the Library forever, Jess learns that those who control the Library believe that knowledge is greater then anything…including life.
Do you love reading books about books? How about reading a Great Library where ancient knowledge is stored and filled with rare books that every bibliophilist will love to get their hands on? Or a world where knowledge is highly valued more then life and owning an original book is considered a heretic? Shocking isn’t it? But it’s also pretty intriguing so if you’re interested in reading any of the above, then no doubt that you will enjoy this story as much as I did. If I were to give a one-sentence review, it would be that THIS BOOK IS FREAKIN AWESOME! I know, I know you have probably heard me say that plenty of times in my previous reviews but I wouldn’t be saying it and rating this book with a perfect five star review without meaning it. This story had everything that every bibliophilist loves reading. In fact the tagline for this story should be Harry Potter meets the Hunger Games.
Jess’s father enrolls him into the Great Library for training to be a part of the Library’s services. When he and other students arrive in Alexandria, their proctor Scholar Wolfe meets them. Wolfe can be very cruel and unforgiving to his students while conducting insane challenges leading to life and death. But Jess isn’t fooled too easy, spending most of his life as a smuggler helps him survive through these challenges. He is intelligent, quick, and can easily spot a secret compartment if there is one. I really admire Jess and his abilities to overcome these challenges and still manage to save his friends. But when one of them invents a machine that will change the Library forever, Jess quickly learns about the Library’s dark side and the people controlling it. There are those who believe that the Great Library has control over knowledge and anyone who try to replicate it are labeled as heretics…and heretics burn!
I love reading about the Great Library! It’s full of mystery and secrets that make it so intriguing and yet fearful at the same time. I imagined that the Library was a wonderful place for scholars to read and browse through rare books, but I was wrong! After learning about its dark and sinister side, I’m not sure if I want to work or go near this place at all. The Library rules over everything, governing knowledge and delivering the greatest works of history to the masses. But I what I find so shocking about this story is how it is illegal to own an original book, instead you’re left with reading copies that are nothing like books, they’re more like tablets. On the other hand, I find it extraordinary how people use alchemy inside the Library to protect original content from the masses.
The characters were incredible, particularly Scholar Wolfe because despite his cold exterior, deep down inside we later see a different side to him with even a vendetta against the Library. Jess learns that everyone in the Library has secrets and he finds it hard to trust anyone, especially at a time where there are groups who revolt against the system creating war and bloodshed. And when his friend is in trouble who can he trust when people controlling the Library have power over anyone and everything?
If you said yes to all the above questions from the first paragraph, then this book is for you. I could go on and comment more about the characters and the plot but this is one of those books that you have to experience yourself. So after you’ve done reading this, go pick up this book and read it!