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Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva – Book Review

Yes a book review on Christmas Day because it’s the perfect Christmas read and currently only 99p on kindle. Go forth and read this story now!

Mr Dickens and His Carol is described as a playful imagining based on the facts behind the writing of A Christmas Carol. Now I don’t know which facts are true and which are imagined – I can guess at some – but if you have the basic knowledge of A Christmas Carol you will love this.

Dickens is portrayed as an imperfect man. His latest book has flopped, he’s being forced to write a Christmas story he doesn’t want to write with very little time. Money is tight but demands are high and he’s irritable at life and his family.

The pressure of his enforced deadline and his previous success plays heavy on his mind and he finds a number of ways to escape, including spending time in the company of an actress called Eleanor.

This perfectly echoes the themes of A Christmas Carol whilst being a wholly original take on the story. I loved it.

Author Samantha Silva is a screenwriter and her skill at creating the inhabitants and the streets of London make this Debut Novel leap from the page. Maybe next Christmas we’ll be seeing it on screens.

With thanks to Allison and Busby for the review copy.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – Book Review 

Isn’t it great to have lots of booky friends who know what type of books you’ll love? Thanks to Stacey for spotting this and to Ailsa from Allison and Busby for the copy. All opinions are as ever mine. 

Ink and Bone is Book one in The Great Library trilogy followed by Paper and Fire and Ash and Quill (I’ll definitely be checking the others out). 
First up I have to fawn over the stunning cover. Butterfly, Books and Quills…Oh My!! Check out my Instagram picture below. 

Synopsis 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. POWER CORRUPTS. 

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime. 

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar… but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world. 

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life – and soon both heretics and books will burn…

What I thought

I’ve not read any books by Rachel Caine before, even though I own a number of her Morganville Vampire series. Yup, I own lots of private books – I would be in serious trouble in this universe! I was very impressed with her writing and worldbuilding. 

Jess Brightwell’s father tells him “You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business for you.” And so begins his journey away from the family book smuggling to the Library and curating knowledge. Training to be a Librarian is not as safe as it sounds and Jess has a gift that may make it even more dangerous for him. He makes for a very likeable character and joins a fun group during his training. 

Every now and then the chapters from Jess’ point of view are broken up by what are called Ephemera. Mainly letters by Scholars from the Great Library. These hint that not everything at the Library is what it seems. That Jess needs to be careful about where he places his allegiance. 

This book reminded me a little of Nevernight (with slightly less murder) by Jay Kristoff – that I also loved – and there’s definitely the unusual boarding school vibe about it. 

I too was freaked out about the Ink Lickers!!! People in this universe who eat books so that the knowledge they contain can never be shared 😱. Considered worse than Book Burners who are more like revolutionaries wanting to bring about change. 

This is a dystopian fantasy sci-fi with steampunk automata, super speed travel, magic and lots of corruption. I highly recommend if you like any of those things. 

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