Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Perfect dark mirror for fans of Fahrenheit 451.
Alternate history steampunk, no TV, no mobile phones, instead steam driven machines or devices which use magic (like the ebook/slate/tablet like devices). World-building is a bit slow, but well integrated, as the books starts with action scenes, no long preface to explain the rules of the world. Some of the rules are explained when the main characters learn them, which is just as well.
The people are all complex, most not simply good or evil, very well written.
Also, there is love, even gay love (later in the book), but no sex.
As in Fahrenheit 451, we have a faction of book-burners, but they are like rebels, not like the firemen in Fahrenheit 451. The main laws are for preserving books or the information within, the originals are stored in the library, while the people use blanks, ebook like magical devices, which can be filled with a book. There is also an underground trade of original books, which are illegal to posses - they belong to the library. To explain more would spoil the book, so I will stop here.
War is waging in England and people get killed, and the group of people get send there to save books as the library in Oxford still has a cache of rare original books after it was evacuated.
The surviving characters get offered assignments according to their capabilities (or not, whatever), which they can take, for different time-spans (a year, 5 years, some a life-time), starting with an apprentice-like training.
This book could be read as a standalone, the end of the book is not a cliffhanger.
Highly recommended! The second book of this trilogy was published July 2016, with the third to be published July 2017 (which can still slip). So I will not read the second book soon, but pace myself and read probably in December 2016 or when I feel like it.
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