Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine

25890355Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Publisher: NAL
Point of View: 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk, Books about Books

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In Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…


The first shelf of books was fully on fire with licks of greenish-white flame. The second above it smoked, and Jess could see paper blackening and curling at the edges.

Book after book.

Level after level.

*Gasp* If that’s not every bibliophile’s nightmare, I don’t know what is.

The sequel to Ink and Bone is ten times more cryptic, intense and brutal than the first book in The Great Library series. Ever single character is unceasingly looking over their shoulders to make sure they’re in no danger.

The thing is, most of the time, they are.

No one is safe from The Archivist. He has one cruel mind. He steals, he manipulates and he lies, lies, lies. His army of automata makes it impossible to approach this devil. Confronting him is suicidal.

But Jess and his crew want to save Thomas and they’re not going to cower away from anything, even death.

While I preferred the first book with its exciting challenges and its different set of scenes, Paper and Fire is by no means a disappointing continuation to this series slightly reminiscent of Harry Potter.

In fact, the more the story progresses, the more the similarities lose clarity, and for this reason it can be said that the story is unique.

I am of the belief that my lack of strong connection to Jess – the hero – would never have been a problem if the narration were in the first person singular instead of third. His calm demeanour makes it that, whenever he is not uttering a word, it’s very easy to forget he is even there.

He’s impossible to dislike, but likely to be forgotten by us, readers, when diving into a new book.

Rachel Caine should write more stories such as this one. Her talent resides in the construction of world-buildings and clever plots. She should, however, spend more time on creating passionate romance stories. Many couples are present in this series, but none will truly steal your heart.

I am eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this unpredictable series.

An advance uncorrected proof of this book was provided to me via NetGalley.

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10 thoughts on “Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine

  1. I just got the ARC for this one and I am so excited to read it. I loved Ink and Bone. I am glad that you enjoyed this one, despite the lack of strong connection to Jess. It sounds like an exciting book!


  2. Ink and Bone was one of my highlights from last year – planning to tackle my eARC this week! It sucks that this instalment doesn’t quite live up to the first one, but I’m glad that it doesn’t suffer terribly from second-book syndrome!


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