Books were illegal. The penalty for anyone to own a real book was death. A powerful, international force known as the Great Library had beyond power; it had absolute control. The Brightwells were one of the families who defied their rule by buying and selling real books in the thriving black markets.
Jess Brightwell was different from the others. Although he was able to transport books to those who bought them, he valued them for not their monetary value, but their history and feel. This weakness was noted by his insensitive father, who decided to make Jess join the Library itself when he came of age. Originally sent as a spy, he carefully participated in rigorous tests and trials to try and become a Scholar, a member of the library for life. Over time, he made friends and faced challenges unlike any other, but he continued and pulled together to survive to the end, regardless of how close that may have been. After a series of quests, he understood that to continue anywhere, he would have to make enormous sacrifices to relieve himself of the burdens he had picked up. Even then, he may lose much more than what he has gained; the consequences of knowledge and power are something he has only begun to understand. The definition of power itself will begin to change. In the end, it is up to Jess to decide the path he is going to take. After all, the Library’s motto is, “Knowledge is Power.” But it is not power that Jess desires. It is freedom.
I felt that this was an amazing novel, with a detailed plot and developed setting. The characters were thoroughly described throughout the book, and their attitudes were reminiscent of those in reality. First, the book starts with grabbing one’s complete attention and it maintains it throughout the entire story. Next, it continues by having memorable events that keep one on the edge and wondering what may happen afterward. Though the book was serious and the humor was sparse, the overall quality of the book does not decrease, as an incredible story has been narrated within one such story. The writing style was fluent and the moods are clearly defined. Overall, this was an amazing read and I would recommend it to a friend.
Though much of the book stuck out in my mind, a particular aspect that is surprising is how a group of diverse cultures and conflicting personalities are able to work together to survive the blows that are being aimed at them. This story is almost inspirational, in the regard of perseverance. If one continues and holds true to what he or she believes, then the desired outcome will always be within reach.
Reviewed by Shivram, Grade 6, Gayton Library