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The Great Library #2

Paper and Fire

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Let the world burn.

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

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, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows.

After 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, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

354 pages, Hardcover

First published July 5, 2016

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Rachel Caine

217 books18.2k followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,602 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
July 7, 2016
Another series that opened with a great concept and now doesn’t know what to do with it.

I saw it in series like Ee's Angelfall and Green's Half Bad. These books introduce us to vivid, fascinating worlds that captivate us, and then the sequels begin to wander aimlessly. Ink and Bone was full of secrets, alchemy, villains and books, set in a unique world where the Great Library of Alexandria (Egypt) rules. Paper and Fire is predictable, forgettable and kind of boring.

The first book rode the wave of its premise and world-building. Now that it's time to actually turn an interesting idea into a story arc that can span multiple books, it stalls. Paper and Fire is a sequel caught somewhere between a 2011 dystopia and a book where nothing happens.

Once again, Caine attempts to use her world-building to inject some life into this book… and it sort of works. There’s no doubt this world is dazzling. But is it enough? For me, the answer is no. I’ve already been dazzled by this world in the first book; I’m ready for more now.

What is the plot here? What really happens in this book? There's action scenes, sure, but what do they contribute to the overall story? Aren't we just reading another book with the same old generic plot? No, but really. Teenagers becoming part of a military resistance to try to overthrow a system is literally the plot of hundreds of other YA novels.

And Jess Brightwell simply does not carry this story. He is a dull spark in this bright world and neither him nor any of the other characters are particularly interesting once the novelty wears off. The romance between him and Morgan feels manufactured for the sake of checking off the romance box - the two are so bland together, so lacking in any chemistry that I couldn't understand why the author thought anyone would want them to be together (or care either way).

Yes, I'm in love with the world and the concept behind it... but it's just not quite enough for me when I honestly do not care what happens to anybody. The thought of Jess dying does not even move me. There will have to be some seriously gushing reviews for me to try the third book.

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Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,733 followers
July 19, 2021
As one from Alexandria, Egypt..

I was so invested in this Alternate/Destopia Alexandria's Great Library Series.
With first book that has spirit of "Harry Potter" mixed with "451 Fahrenheit".

A World perfectly built, beautifully Alternate Alexandria, Tyranny Library, Forbidden Knowledge, Mystical Alchemy Powres, Wars and Rebellions.
With vast diversity of interesting characters..all in less than 350 pages only.

But Then came a sequel wasted precious ‘Papers’ without catching interesting enough ‘Fire’..

With over 200 pages of JUST Prison Break theme. With lots of easy predictable coincidence..about 100 pages of boring theme of Fugitives on the run.
And then last 50 pages of MIND BLOWING new turn “Turns” of events.
Well, that can keep me attached to the series anyway..

Sure Rachel Caine's ability to creat this world I mentioned earlier is really creative and I am still need to know more about.
But what went wrong here?
Let's see more details of the Good and Bads...let's get it ‘categorised’.

☆☆ The Story ☆☆
The Good

Thomas is alive, we may predicted that by the end of book one but now it's the turn of the rest of the characters to know, to locate, to gather up, to plan for his Prison Break.
The Bad

It's as if the Library made its best to gather them, and make sure they reach him…
The Worse
Despite all the help, it still took 70% of the book to do Just so..and half of the rest just on the run.
Despite all the potential of the rebellion, the war and all that could have made richer story.
I mean if all this just took the first third of the book that'd be much more acceptable.
The Best
Just by the last quarter of the novel we know more of the ‘Black Archive’, more into the magic of the Alchemy and quintessence, Archimedes' fifth element.
Just by then the action really does ‘matter’, not just a ‘filler’ and unnecessarily prolonged...even more fast events started to happens.

And now,

☆☆ The Characters ☆☆
The Good

It's always great to reunion with characters that you really liked, to see what's next on their story lives.
The not so Good
There's no much new development for most of the characters here for just one reason...that they already fully developed by Book One.. but come on..we needed more.
The Bad
Some were like ghosts, shallow ghosts of their former self although it is not that how they ended up in book one…Of course I mean, mostly, Scholar Wolfe.

Also the main character, Jess Brightwell, the one we read from his point of view, was very transparent...I loved him in book one more than here.

The Worse
The (Jess-Morgan) started to feel cheesy YA romance..that's not At All what we signed in for in book one.
The Good
On the other hand.. others kept true to their characters., notably mentioned, Jess’ Father, -who was a pleasant surprise.
-I love so much the complicated relationship between Jess and his Father, more than with his brother which start to get messy here with totally unnecessary parts-
Also Khalila and Dario were perfectly growing...
The Best
Scholar Wolfe’s mother..The Obscurist Magnus: Keria Morning, her role is really the best addition here...alas appears only at the last quarter.

This Last quarter of the novel where everything is really better.

and now,

☆☆ The Setting ☆☆
The Best

The only good thing about the action here and the many automata chases the marvelous setting of Alexandria.
The Tomb of Alexander the Great and the whole museum.. The Lighthouse..

The Cafe by the sea where the friends hangs - which I imagined as my favorite reading spot cafe -
Getting into new places like the huge Light house and .
And from Alexandria to Rome..and the amazing huge Basilica Julia. (Alternate Future, remember?)

And from there to there to the misty London and its messy streets map. With all the Greek fire of the rebellion, and the Gun fires of the Welsh army.
And Finally,
The Can't Wait
The upcoming Destination..
A new place the whole gangs are heading to… with precious bags..with dangerous companions.
And the full efforts of The Great Library behind.. not to capture But to Kill.

As you see, the Setting of the series is still the Strongest Power of it.. Rachel Caine truly mastered it.. A wonderful world been built here..it can be just like a real Name in the fantasy worlds..
so a personal message to her.
Please keep it solid...keep it strong, make a Hell out of an end to the Trilogy.

Well, It was the last Fiery read of August..

And Despite my dislike to the waste of precious pages, ‘Papers’ which didn't catch enough ‘Fire’ no matter how many lines of ‘action’ there. I still really can't wait for the next book.

Mohammed Arabey
From 31 August 2016
To 6 September 2016

The first Picture of the book is near the real live Alexandria's Main Train Station.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

Click here and maybe win a paperback copy of Ink and Bone (US ONLY)

The novelty wore off. Sadly, if it stayed entertaining, Paper and Fire confirmed the complaints I had with Ink and Bone, and lost a little of its charm along the way.

✔ As it was the case with the first book, we're on for a ride in a fast-paced and action-packed story which manages to stay out of boredom territory at all times. It is addictive and that's rare enough to point.

Moreover, alternative history is my jam, so it doesn't come as a surprise that the world-building kept my interest awake. This said, more we go on in the story, more the similarities with regular YA Fantasy novels - Dystopian? - become hard to hide. That's why even if I kinda worship the Lion automatons (really, they're just so much fun!), the bunch of kids trying to overtake a Great Power in a world in war with Resistants... tires me a little. Call me cynical.

Not to mention that looking back... I can't not see how little happened in this book, and by that, I mean, things that actually matter for the story's progression. If I compare the ending of Ink and Bone and this one, I'm let with a bad after taste because in all honesty, I expected more. More craziness, more originality, less useless scenes about characters I don't care about.... and less predictability.

✔ Let's talk about the characters, okay? They're great. No, really, they are. The relationships dynamics are interesting, we get at least three romances (without forgetting the LGBT diversity), they have to make harsh choices, and yet...

And yet I don't feel anything for them. Take Jess, for example. The boy's sarcastic, a little wild, damn, he's a reformed smuggler (I do love my thieves) and is in love with a girl who's locked in a high-security tower. Perfect, right? Too bad his story never, ever, pulled at my heart strings and let me so devoid of any emotion that I wonder if my heart's working. And don't get me started about the tedious romances (plural) that never managed to give me butterflies. Please don't give us romances if we're not going to feel any of the supposed heartbreak or joy. Don't, because their uselessness is way too noticeable. Ugh, annnnnd arguments I didn't even UNDERSTAND. What's the problem with me, really?!

Unfortunately I can say the same about every one of these characters. On paper they work, I like them enough, but in the end, they lack complexity and I don't care about any of them, or, rather, I can't connect with them. For all the hardships they endure, they still feel like visitors in their own story sometimes. Or that's just me.

✔ As usual, Rachel Caine's prose flows smoothly and makes for an enjoyable and easy read.



It relies way too-much on narratives choices that annoy me a great deal. I'll call them "forewarning" but really, I could say, "these things authors do when they think we're too stupid to figure it out".

1) The letters : So the story is filled with letters from different important figures from this world, and are meant to inform us about other's intentions. Their problem? They destroy any kind of tension in the story.

Let's take an example, shall we? So our MCs are about to be imprisoned (GASP), and wonder if they're gonna be betrayed by someone. Of course, being sensible readers, we're scared too, poor kids don't deserve that.

A page later though, we get a letter.
From this person.
Who says she won't betray them.
Before we even get to that part of the story.

I mean, why the fuck not? I'll tell you why : if I know everyone's intentions, my mind can never wander in fear. Plus they're so low on authenticity, I can't even.

2) Useless scenes, as in, involving characters I don't care about who do things I don't care about and whose purpose stays very unclear. They're few, yes, but already too many for me.

Why 3 stars, then? Because despite its flaws, Paper and Fire is a book which offered me a few hours of fun. Sometimes it's enough, but that wasn't what I expected after the rollercoaster that was Ink and Bone. Oh, well.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,956 followers
August 21, 2016
Just the thought of burning books makes me cringe!


I actually liked this second book better than the first. There is so much going on in this book I don't even know where to begin.

Jess Brightwood and Glain Wathen are training to be High Garda's. Jess has got things going on the side as he always does. He's trying to find information about their friend Thomas Schreiber and he finds it and it's not good.

I mean in this world these poor people live in I would never want to be a part of because the evil library and their automata just kill people whenever they want . . . of course they always find a reason for it. People are tortured as well.

Glain is the Captain of her team and Jess is in the team with her and it seems someone is trying to set them up. They end up almost killed when they are sent out on a challenge to keep others from killing Christopher Wolfe. There is a death but I won't talk about that and then things just get more bizarre.

Jess decides he's going to find Thomas and he has the help of many people, too many for me to name, but the main ones are Glain, Dario, Khalia, General Santi, Wolf and Morgan.

They end up finding out all kinds of things about the library and the evil Archivist but it seems to be more than that and uggg, I almost couldn't keep up with all of the stuff.

This review is really sucking because this is a book that I need to give out all of the spoilers to explain. I'm not as well written as most. Let me just sum it up without spoilers. The group finds traitors in their camp, a portal of sorts, hidden treasures, evil things, ways to turn off the automata, and more things that I can't even list.

I loved so many of these characters. Yes, they do some stupid things but, in their world, it doesn't really matter because you can die from just looking at something the wrong way! They take many risks at trying to keep friends alive and get away. I loved that the characters are this way, how they really do care for one another.

There really wasn't a part that didn't keep me on edge. There is always something happening, always some action or some covert operation where you wait on baited breath. I just wonder what is going to happen in the next book! I just know people I really like are going to die!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
May 24, 2016
GIVEAWAY: win in a copy of Ink and Bone!

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Book Two of The Great Library series
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

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…

What I Liked:

I didn't think I could love this series any more than I already do! Last year, Ink and Bone captivated me, and the ending left me up in arms and ready to storm... something, for the sequel. Paper and Fire is nothing I was expecting, and so utterly satisfying. I got everything I was waiting for, and then some! Now I'm hankering for book three!

Jess Brightwell is in training to be a soldier of the High Garda, with Glain as his squad leader. After Thomas's death, and Morgan being sent to the Iron Tower, Glain is the only one Jess trusts. Jess pieces together something incredibly unbelievable, and he rallies the group (Glain, Khalila, Dario, Wolfe, Santi) to try and do the impossible. Nothing is easy; Khalila is a Scholar, as is Dario. Santi is a commanding officer. Wolfe seems unstable. And everyone, including the Archivist, has their eyes on Jess. Nowhere is safe, and no one is trustworthy.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I fell back into the story! I remembered the ending of Ink and Bone very well, but most of the details from the book escaped me. Caine makes it very easy to slip back into Jess's head (third person perspective), and I didn't feel lost. In fact, you could probably get away with reading this book without having read Ink and Bone at all - though I don't recommend going that route. Ink and Bone was intricate and complex and SO good!

I swear Jess is Spiderman or something! He isn't a natural soldier (he was training to be a Scholar!), but he gets into shape and follows his duties and his training and excels (in my opinion). He's also retained his intelligence and cleverness, and all of his mastermind criminal ways (from his family business, if you recall). But more than all of these things, Jess has a big heart and a selfless soul. He was never a violent person, but he has matured so much between books, and will do what he has to, to protect his friends. He isn't irrational (he's pretty clever!), but he constantly finds ways to throw himself in danger's way, rather than another person.

We get to see a lot more of Wolfe, and Santi (and Wolfe and Santi), and Glain. I can't remember how I felt about Glain in book one (I remember she was rather cold?), but I really liked her in this book. She comes across as ruthless, a punishing leader, but she is efficient and tough and capable.

The beginning doesn't start with a bang, but the action really picks up quickly and never slows down. This pacing worked for me! It didn't feel too fast, but I couldn't read fast enough, and my heart was constantly pounding. Caine had me guessing about so many things - was ____ trustworthy? Would Jess survive this automaton attack? Would Wolfe be lost to his memories? So many worries!

I loved the high-stakes, high-action plot. I loved Jess and his character growth - he is fearless, and takes challenges and faces them head-on. I love seeing so many secondary characters, and how dynamic and important they were. I was pretty excited to see the reappearance of two key characters.

I feel like this book has several parts to it, and to describe each part would be spoilery. But I liked how Caine kept weaving the story in a different direction than I expected. And how she took us to many different locations (and the associated dangers!).

I'll say a little on the romance. There are multiple ships! We know that Wolfe and Santi are a very solid thing. Jess and Morgan are totally in love with each other; but as Morgan is in the Iron Tower (and Jess is wracked with guilt), their relationship does take a hit for some of the books. But I like how things smoothed out - there was conflict upon reunion, but the pair came to an understanding. I hope they won't be separated again!

No love triangle(s), or anything of the sort. Also, no cliffhanger (not really).

Overall, I'm very pleased with this sequel novel. It is quite possibly one of the most exciting sequels I've read for the year, and one of the best too. I don't know how I'll manage the wait until book three is available!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't think of anything specifically? I'm sure there were things while I was reading the book, that bothered me a little. And I know I'm giving this four stars (as opposed to five stars). But this one is a 4.5-star-read to me, and my picky self is going to round down. STILL, I loved this book!

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend reading this book - though I do recommend reading Ink and Bone first. These aren't companion novels, and so much of the first book is the foundation for this book. If you're a fan of books, why wouldn't you like this one? A book about books! *winks*


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. Again, I'm being picky. There aren't factors against the book that are pushing me to round down. I love this sequel and cannot wait to read the conclusion! Here is hoping Caine doesn't break out hearts.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,065 reviews1,475 followers
November 24, 2022
First Read: October 2020, Rating: 4/5 stars
Second Read: November 2022, Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the second instalment in The Great Library series.

This is set in a world where the Library rules in place of a government. By keeping the knowledge contained in books closely guarded, and only available for scholars and those deemed worthy, it can both impede and advance societal growth as it sees fit. Technology is stunted, business advancements are thwarted and the Library maintains a tight leash on its citizens. The all seeing and all powerful Library seems like an unbreakable patriarchal structure, but that might just be what they want you to think.

The first book closed with secrets unearthed and mysteries on the brink of discovery. The tension from these revelations continued from the very first page and didn't let up throughout the entirety of this book. The pace was slowed considerably and it really allowed these suspenseful sentiments to come to the fore.

The world, and the unique concept, are what drew me in and I'm glad they also received a full focus here. Books that feature within other books will never fail to not intrigue me, but by prohibiting access to them, the allure for these forbidden literary fruits only continues to grow, and these emotions transfer to the reader, as well.
Profile Image for Mango.
237 reviews314 followers
May 10, 2021
“But hope was a malicious, jagged thing, all spikes and razors that churned and cut deep in his guts. Hope was a great deal like fear.”

Am I heart-broken? Yes.
Am I happy? Yes!
Am I in tears? Yep.
Did I enjoy this? HECK YEAH!

I really loved this book. I honestly liked this one better than the previous one, even though Ink and Bone was absolutely amazing!

The reason I enjoyed this book better than Ink and Bone, was because there was more character development, and the plot was more engrossing. Also, since I had gotten used to the wordy writing previously, I could enjoy this more!

This book will contain spoilers from its previous book, Ink and Bone. Read at your own risk.

Getting started started with the characters!

So...in my previous review, remember how I only mentioned Jess because there was a lack of character development? Well it completely changed in this book! Oh my God, there are so many characters to talk about...I can't leave out anything! Each one had a unique personality and grew during the story! I will briefly cover my favorite side characters at the end too.

Jesse: Our main character! I like Jesse even more now. Jesse is now a High Garda soldier, under Glain's command.

He is still mourning Thomas's death. Jesse is stubborn, funny, and is very gutsy. I would say he's clever, but he's so brave, it gets in the way of his logic lol. I really liked his personality.

He went through a lot of conflicts like mourning Thomas, missing Morgan, and of course his family issues. It was quite engrossing seeing him handle this. He made some stupid mistakes, but he got back up, and I enjoyed seeing him grow.

From a brave sarcastic soldier, he grew to something so much more: a life-long companion.

Glain: Talk about girl power! Glain was absolutely amazing. Glain acts all tough and like nothing hits her, and that's true...to an extent. Glain is an amazing soldier and awesome fighter.

She is very bossy, and a great leader. However, she can be very caring...in her own way. She punches to show her trust, and it's more like tough affection. At first, we didn't see much into her, just that she was an amazing leader, and nothing got to her.

But as the story progressed, the book revealed her layers. She actually has great empathy towards others and can be so encouraging! Her growth was incredible her.

She grew from a tough woman, kind of robotic, to a glorious leader not afraid to show her care to others.

Khalila: Our Hermione Granger! Khalila was definitely one of my favorites. She is a Golden Scholar working for the library, and is the brains of the gang. She is a suitable warrior, but relies more on her knowledge. She definitely helped a lot with the plans and strategies throughout the book. Definitely a Hermione. She also had a lot of conflicts here!

Like when she betrayed the Library to help the others, she was scared of what her family would think. Her whole family are Scholars, what would they think of her? A traitor? I really liked how she handled this.

An even bigger conflict she handled was when I could really feel her pain and found I could connect with her. Caine made her so lifelike, it's incredible.

Dario: Definitely have mixed feelings about him. But, I felt it was only right to include him because I do like him...kind of? Dario is an arrogant, sarcastic fool. He was a Scholar too, at least before he betrayed the Library.

I honestly really like his personality. He is such an arrogant idiot and made me laugh through this dark story. I mean every story needs comic relief, right?

However, as the story progressed, I realized there's more to Dario than the arrogant moron I knew. He is actually a really sweet guy under all the hard layers. I found this out through a battle, when he risked his life to save his "desert flower," Khalila. I found his words very heart-warming and touching.

But, when he I hated him with a pure passion. How dare he do that? Shame on him. But then, I realized why he did that. He did this to So to be fair he didn't quite have choice.

Dario is quite a complex character, so I don't know yet how I feel about him. I look forward to seeing more of him in the next books!

Morgan: I really did like her! Morgan, in this book, this trapped in the Iron Tower, because she is an Obscurist. Obscurists have this ability to hack into formulas of the Library's technology and discover a lot of things. In the tower, Morgan is forced to work there like a slave for the Library, and reproduce more Obscurists for the library.

When she

Morgan is clever, sassy, and very brave. She has very unconditional love for Jess, which I found very heart-warming. Even though all the horrible things he did to her, she still loved him.

Morgan grew a lot in this book (all of the characters did lol). She grew from an unforgiving girl, with lots of temper, to a calm, more patient woman. She learned not to let her emotions get in the way of her actions. Huge fan of her, looking forward to seeing her in the next book!

The character below I'm going to talk about is a huge spoiler, so read at your own risk.

Favorite side characters:

Keria: Keria is the Obscurist Magnus, and Wolfe's mother. I had very mixed feelings about her at first. I really hated her for imprisoning Morgan, and rejecting Wolfe. But now, I see why she did all this. She knew all this crap about imprisoning Obscurists was wrong, and rejected Wolfe to keep him safe. Even though Keria made horrible mistakes, she knew it was wrong, and I really enjoyed reading how she handled it. Keria might have failed as a mother, but at the end she proved her worth by It completely broke my heart when she

Scholar Prakesh: Scholar Prakesh only showed up briefly in the beginning, but I shouldn't ignore her! She is very cool. She is deaf, which I think made her seem even stronger. She was Dario's mentor, before he ran, and she was very valuable to the resistance. She provided very useful information to them. I just wished that

Plot: The plot was AMAZING! I don't know how the plot could get better than Ink and Bone, but it did. With Jesse and Glain in the army, Khalila and Dario as scholars, Morgan in the Iron Tower, and Thomas dead, all seems lost. All these people have to work, and not dare stand up to the library.

But everything changes when This unites the group again on this important mission.

However, once the mission is accomplished, they decide to strive for more. The Library has been ruling for centuries now, controlling the knowledge the people get, making books illegal, and banning reproduction of books.

Jesse and his group decides that they need to overthrow the Library. The world can't continue to live in fear, without the knowledge of the world.

So the gang goes on these crazy adventures trying to overthrow the Library.

The plot twists are SO crazy, even crazier than Ink and Bone. Especially when

The plot completely shattered my heart, then warmed the shards of my heart, and then shattered it again.

Definitely a must read for the plot!

Writing: The writing was amazing! As I mentioned before, Caine's writing is quite unique, and very wordy. It also uses very unique words, so you should be ready to Google some words lol. But I really enjoyed the writing, and it was quite easy for me to get into!

Overall, this book was absolutely fantastic, definitely one of my favorites. It had it all, likable characters, engrossing plot, a unique world, and lovely writing. It completely crushed me, yet I loved it.

Thank you Rachel Caine, I look forward to reading Ash and Quill! May you rest in peace, you deserved better. <3
This book has shattered me. Full of adventure, betrayal, love, grief... I love this. Review to come once my heart has been sewn back together.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,549 followers
June 29, 2017
Paper and Fire is the second book in the Great Library series by Rachel Caine. In the first book, Ink and Bone, we are introduced to a world in which The Great Library is in every city and controls the books of the world. Using alchemy to distribute the books those working for the library track down anyone with any in their possession and confiscate the materials. Ownership of books is expressly forbidden and anyone violating this law could even be sentenced to death.

Jess Brightwell's family has been involved in the black market for books. He's been raised to be a runner, delivering the books to those willing to pay the price and risk ownership. Jess has been sent to the library by his father to become a spy from the inside. He gets involved in the training only to find himself mixed up in the secrets of the library.

Paper and Fire picks up a short time after the end of the first book. Jess is continuing his training and serving in the library's army. Now Jess and his allies embark on a deadly mission this time taking them away from Alexandria and all the way to London.

While I still completely enjoyed Paper and Fire I felt I needed to rate this one a bit below Ink and Bone. I think for me it's the matter of the middle book syndrome where there were things I want to know and still don't find out yet and while it's still a good read it just didn't hold the total excitement of the first book that gives the first look at the world overall. It also seemed to start off a bit slower to me but the action did pick up.

Trying to remain a bit vague and stay away from spoilers here I will say this one seemed to get a bit darker too. The world built up around the ownership of books being forbidden and may lead to death didn't quite seem as deadly in the first book but it's definitely put to the test in the second.

Overall, still a great series and will be impatiently awaiting the next book after the ending of this second installment. Would definitely recommend checking this series out.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Ronda.
861 reviews141 followers
July 17, 2016
Another exceptional installment from The Great Library series, Ink and Bone being the first and Paper and Fire giving us book 2.

I, personally, loved Ink and Bone, it gave me a promising start to a brand new world created from a history that changed our present day and Paper and Fire continued the perilous journey of the Library's new recruits, their scholar and their allies.

I love the way that Rachel Caine portrays this world, I love the thoughts/concepts behind the history and it scares me too! The book kept me guessing with its mysteries, who to believe, who would betray, who do we have to trust.... Nail biting and tense moments but overall I love the friendships that have been forged during the times these young recruits have faced. The characters are amazing, I love Jess - love the way he sees his friends, how he assesses the world and reaches his conclusions...

Without going into the story as such, I found the shock at the beginning a worthwhile mystery, Ms Caine holds back no punches when she gives us her twists and plots , I was surprised throughout but that very first one got to me...

I love this series, I have read mixed reviews and I guess that's the same with many books out there, for me, this is an amazing series so far and I can't wait to get my teeth into the next episode!!

Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
811 reviews1,268 followers
December 23, 2018
เผาหนังสือ หนังสือไหม้ ไฟไหม้ GIF - BurnBook BurningBook Fire GIFs

Paper and Fire is the somewhat fun and action-filled sequel to Ink and Bone. It took me a while to get into the story again, and much of it felt highly redundant. I really enjoyed the last 100 or so pages though. Whether or not I'll read the rest of the series, I don't know; I'm not sure my interest will hold.
Profile Image for Shainlock.
753 reviews
September 16, 2017
I love these books! The Great Library rules, automatons patrol, & there are so many different countries centered around the written word ; and so many books being the very centerpiece of life. I cannot wait until July. I've liked this author's writing before but she really had something here.
This world she has built is amazement on every page and I can't wait to read Ash and Quill.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,155 reviews311 followers
January 13, 2021
2021 reread - 3.5 stars
On reread I feel the same about this book as I did before. It has some excellent parts and pushes the story through at a good pace, but it does have a middle book feel in the sense that a lot happens but nothing is resolved.

While I didn't love Paper and Fire as I loved Ink and Bone, I continue to thoroughly enjoy the series--which we now know is a 5 book series rather than a trilogy--particularly with the wonderful narration of the audiobook.

2016 read - 4 stars
A very solid middle book that picks up shortly after the events of Ink and Bone. The story remains fast-paced and engrossing, but I didn’t like it quite as much as the first book. The ending is tense, leaving the main characters in a state of uncertainty and peril, but it is a nice set up for the final installment of the trilogy.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,327 reviews2,146 followers
April 2, 2017
I was really looking forward to this book but sadly I found it to be just average. It definitely suffered from second book syndrome and actually only moved the story forward a little bit. Most of the time I felt I was on some kind of roller coaster with the main characters repeatedly getting into danger, then escaping only to find themselves in more danger and escaping again.........endlessly.
As with the first book I felt no attachment to any of the characters. To me they seemed bland and unformed. At least I was never stressed in any of the (many) fight scenes since I was not worried whether any of them might get killed.
Overall it was an okay book but not as good as it could have been. I hope the next one is better.
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,022 followers
October 16, 2019
Trigger warnings: violence, torture (off screen, but mentioned), imprisonment, blood, mentions of attempted suicide. I think that's all?

This is action-packed from start to finish and I love it please read it okay bye.

God, this series is so freaking good. So, so good. Seriously. So good.

On reread, I'm bumping this up to 5 stars. I'm not sure whether it was the knowledge that I could immediately pick up the next book that meant I didn't feel the Middle Book Syndrome as much or if it was simply that I read it at a different pace. But whatever it was, I loved basically everything about this story this time around.

(That said, I do still have serious issues with the Spanish dude "knowing sign language" and being able to communicate with a woman from India, because WTF)

4.5 stars.

This wasn't QUITE as glorious and mindblowing as the first book in the series, though it definitely still had its moments. I think the reason why I didn't love this as much is that there's a faint sense of Middle Book Syndrome. There's lots of build up for Things To Come In Future Books and not very many answers.

Yes, there's still plenty of action. Yes, I still love all the characters. Yes, the diversity is still wonderful (although I *do* have a bone to pick with the idea of a guy from Spain being chosen to work for a deaf woman from India because "I know sign language". Um. WHICH SIGN LANGUAGE? And if there's only one in this world, a single throwaway line would have sufficed to explain that). Yes, the world is still incredible and well developed and intriguing and tense.

So there was a hell of a lot of good stuff in this book. But there were occasional moments where it dragged a little or where everything felt like build up. Still, I'm dying for the next book in the series to find out what happens next. GIVE IT TO ME NOW.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
382 reviews1,008 followers
July 10, 2018
WOAH. Talk about fast-paced action! Needless to say, this book did not suffer from middle-book-syndrome. It was so exciting and had me at the edge of my seat! There were so many twists and turns, deceptions and betrayals! It was complete and utter perfection!

Jess was, as usual, the cinnamon roll we know and love. He isn’t a Scholar surrounded by the books he loves, but is a soldier in the High Garda, the Great Library’s army. His eyes have been opened to the cruelty and oppression that is the Library, and he needs to decide where he truly belongs…In the smuggling business, devoid of morals? As part of the Library, where he turns a blind eye to its injustices? Or is his future destined to be entirely somewhere else???

I also appreciate that this book has very little romance (with the exception of Wolfe x Santi <3). It’s completely driven by plot and action. Having said that, the stakes are SO HIGH. There is so much corruption within the Library, and no one knows who they can trust. Yet again, so much happens in such a short book!!!

Jess really steps up to the plate and uses his criminal mastermind genius to get the gang out of dangerous situations! He’s so commendably brave and hilariously snarky! We learn about the Black Archives of the Library (aka where all the “forbidden” books go), how alchemy is used in translation (aka teleportation), and how the automatons’ mechanics work! This is such a well-developed world! It’s a combination of Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian architecture with steampunk technology…and I absolutely love it!!!

Paper & Fire was a fantastic sequel. So, bravo, Rachel Caine! If you haven’t yet begun this series…what are you waiting for??? Read it!!! :D

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and read Book 3, Ash and Quill!
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,643 reviews1,512 followers
May 29, 2018
Paper and Fire wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be…no hear me out. There was action, action, action and talking, talking, talking but no plot movement or story progression. Sure I like the characters but not enough that I didn’t want to see the arcs moving forward.

Part of the magic of Ink and Bone was all the kids together completing for a career. It is them against the world and the competition is fierce but so too are the friendships forged. It always felt like the story was moving forward.

Paper and Fire starts at a disadvantage with all of the characters separated out now in their chosen paths for the library there is something missing. Morgan is locked in a tower, Thomas is (I’m not saying), Wolfe and Santi are off page somewhere away from Jess, same with Dario and Khalila and even Glain as the girl who is stuck with Jess is offering little to the overall story. So what we have is Jess…

See Jess pining for a girl he barely knows,
“Are you asking to escort me, like some girl you’re romancing? Jess. Don’t waste your time. I’m extremely unavailable.”
“Tragic,” he shot back. “Be serious. You know I’ve got—”
“Morgan,” she finished for him, when he stopped. “Yes. You do enjoy a challenge. Now she’s a princess locked in a tower. That makes you want her even more, doesn’t it? I think you’ve read too many tales of knighthood, Jess.”

See Jess trying to avoid most of the kids in his new training class, See Jess think about Wolfe and Thomas and what he should do about ‘it’. It just felt like there really wasn’t anything happening in the story. Then he goes and tells all of his friends one by one a story and they all want to help, but it takes a lot of page time to make it happen. A lot of page time. Still the crew eventually gets back together for a mission of sorts and that is when I start to really enjoy the story again.

Most everything important in this happens in the last 25% of the book. The rest felt a little like filler sometimes. Sure the idea of the black archives is cool and a few random people that I had no attachment to what-so-ever end up dead plus there is some cool stuff with the automatons but all the important stuff happened when the book was almost finished. However I was so excited to get a look into the Iron Tower that I let a lot of the slow story of the beginning go.
We have been told that paper in a binding, ink on a page, is worth more than the life of any man, woman, or child. We have been pressed into the service of this false idol we call Knowledge for far too long; we have forgotten how to be free of it, how to think for ourselves and believe we, in ourselves, are worth the breath we take, the land we walk.

Still that last 25% did a lot of the book and getting the characters to where they will need to be for the story to go farther in the next book. I have really high hopes since the characters are not exactly where I thought they would end up but they are in a very interesting place and it was an area of the world that I really wanted to build on.

I’m hoping that the next book of the series really opens this world up. It is in a good starting position so let’s see what Rachel Caine can do with it.

Honorable Mention - I love Wolfe and Santi. I love their relationship, their history and their devotion to each other. I like the Caine took a chance on two men in a story who are clearly all man and made them a couple. They are wonderful together and their portrayal is fantastic. Santi especially in his devotion and caring of Wolfe is incredibly special
“I told you, leave it alone. This isn’t some adventure; it’s a bloody war. They pay me to be a tactician, and I can tell you this: we can’t win. We don’t have the numbers or the weapons or the knowledge. We’re defeated before we start, and, yes, I will look after the one I love before all else, and devil take the rest of you if it comes to that!”
Profile Image for Suzzie.
916 reviews162 followers
April 18, 2017
I loved this sequel! It was better than the first book and now I cannot wait till January for the third book. It was funny and action filled. The characters are so intriguing that you cannot help but be enthralled by their banter and adventure.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews886 followers
May 16, 2021
4.5 stars.

Another close-to-perfect read, Paper and Fire was a superb sequel in The Great Library series, one that is on track to become a favourite.

I was hoping that Ink and Bone would not be a one-hit-wonder for this alternate history fantasy YA series, and I was not disappointed in the least. Firstly, the ending of the previous book ended on a cliffhanger-ish note as the fate of possibly the most endearing character was left hanging on the edge. I appreciated that Caine did not leave readers hanging on the edge for long and even from the very first page, the answer was right there to appease my need to know.

“Books spoke mind to mind, soul to soul across the abyss of time and distance.”

Secondly, and this is usually what I deem as the crucial handling of the genre especially in a sequel, the characters actually learned from their past experiences. Hence, we have a group of smart young people who adapted and overcame the trials and tribulations from the first book to become even more savvy and sensible. So far, I've not encountered any unnecessary plot devices just for the sake of overwrought drama, not even in the dramatic romantic arc between our main protagonist, Jess Brightwell, and Morgan Hault, a girl with special powers. It may sound like a paradox, but I felt that the circumstances of their romance provided a realistic basis of the tension between the two of them, love notwithstanding.

"Hard habit to break, friendship.”

I also found the characters in this series to be likeable with distinctive voices. Jess Brightwell as the primary point-of-view character was flawed and compelling. Meanwhile, the rest of the supporting characters are diversely represented and well-written to evoke the differences in their upbringing. On top of that, their friendship and loyalty to one another was inspiring and heartwarming. I couldn't help rooting for every one of them as they have to face and outsmart the immense power of the Library in order to save one of their own. And the emotions!  That critical element of turning a good book into great for me came to the fore in the last third of the book, and particularly in a late scene between a mother and an estranged son which made my heart ache.  

“Goliath fell to a slingshot and a stone.  And the Library is a lumbering giant, dying of its own arrogance; it has to change or fall."

After finishing this second volume, I think that this series is one big continuous arc that must be read in order. The plot in Paper and Fire ties in very closely with all the events that have taken place in the first book, and Caine does not repeat very much of what have occurred. The pacing started out a bit slowly but it was still engaging. Overall, I thought the narrative was well-crafted, with a lot of intense action scenes which had me at the edge of my seat. The settings in this series are also epic-worthy - from London to Alexandria and now, Rome - grand cities steeped in history and knowledge.

“But hope was a malicious, jagged thing, all spikes and razors that churned and cut deep in his guts. Hope was a great deal like fear.”

As I've mentioned in my review for the first book, this series is pretty dark. While some of the more gruesome events happen offscreen, they were sufficiently implied to make the reader feel rather disturbed on a more psychological level.  Even their mode of instant travel called 'Translation' was traumatic and horrifying. As before, even though there was resolution to the primary subplot in this instalment, there was yet again a bit of a cliffhanger to the ending that ensures that I won't wait too long to continue with the next one. I'm sure my co-bloggers and buddy-readers, Celeste and Eon, will agree with me.

You can purchase the book from Book Depository (Free Shipping) | Bookshop.Org (Support Independent BookstoresAmazon US | Amazon UK

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Melindam.
665 reviews294 followers
August 12, 2017
4.5 stars
Loved this 2nd installment of The Great Library series. It was not quite as impressive and powerful as Book 1, but it came close. I checked the reviews before I started reading and quite a lot of them mentioned the 2nd-book-syndrome, so I had some apprehensions, but I never really noticed anything. I loved the more detailed world-building, the characters and how the story was evolving and never felt bored, but always wanted to get more.

More detailed review to come.
Profile Image for Carlos.
621 reviews291 followers
January 12, 2017
I liked this book a lot . It is a good sequel, full of action and adventure. In this reality, the library holds the power and all the knowledge and keeps it from reaching the people, the main characters see their roles change as their perception of the library changes with all they go throughout the book . We see familiar faces and faces we thought we wouldn't see again , if you haven't read this series yet, I recommend you do! .
Profile Image for Karen.
493 reviews95 followers
March 31, 2021

Paper and Fire starts off right where Ink and Bone left off. Jess is in the service of library as a High Garda (aka soldier used to protect the books of the library and it’s scholars). Paper and Fire continues to explore what would have happened if the great library in Alexandria had never burned down, and if the library had all the power and knowledge in the world. Jess is joined by a bunch of other students who have graduated from library school and are now serving the library. When Jess learns that his best friend Thomas was not killed but is actual being held in a prison, Jess rounds everyone up to help him break Thomas out. Some of them are in positions of power now, and some become very sympathetic to the cause when they see how far the library will go to keep the world from knowledge.

This series continues to fascinate me. What if that library were still in existence? I imagine our world would look a lot like this book describes. This book explores other great city strongholds like Rome. Without the benefit of modern way to travel this group relies on other means that I don’t fully understand. This book explores more about the automata (animal) machines that work security for the library. We get all kinds of inside info about who is in charge and how they intent to keep it that way. We get to see the black tower that hold the obscurists. We also get a look at Black Archives and the books that are contained there.

I have to admit that this story dragged for the first 50 or so percent. I hung in there because I knew it would get better. This book isn’t so much about books, it is about power and knowledge. Jess is mourning the loss of Thomas and Morgan and his new friends are not the warm and fuzzy sort. Nothing much happens, and then his squad is sent to Rome. It turns out that the (big chief) Archivist is very aware of how dangerous Jess and his friends are so he is keeping a close eye on Jess throughout the story. The automata have orders to kill him and make it look like an accident. Jess has more than one close call with automata in Rome and this is where the story starts to get really good.

Once again, I was sucked into this tale of corruption and the rebels fighting against it. Jess is the main character, but he is not the only key player. I grew so attached to this band of rebels that I almost cheered out loud for them to succeed. By the time I was 3/4 done with the book I was so stressed that people would die, but I couldn’t stop reading this book. The book takes the characters through so much, and then dumps them in a place we haven’t explored yet. I am very anxious to see what the author has in store for this group. I so want them to succeed at changing their world.
Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,300 reviews394 followers
July 14, 2016
The world Rachel Caine has breathed into life in these books continues to astound me. I can't wait to see what happens in the next one! And I'm thinking I may need copies of these on my shelves... you know, in case someone ever comes along and starts destroying books, maybe I'd turn into a smuggler :P Really though I barely know what to say about this except that it seems to have taken what we learned in book one and ratcheted everything UP. The action is nonstop, the pacing is excellent, the characters are each their own people with their own agendas and priorities.

Jess in my mind looks like Liam Hemsworth and Morgan is Mackenzie Mauzey. Don't really have fancasts for the rest as yet, but I'm sure they'll come along in due time. And omg I NEED a Frauke.
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,157 reviews161 followers
December 27, 2017
Considering that the first book Ink and Bone was one of my favourite reads for 2017, I was feeling both excited and nervous to dive into the sequel. We continue on from the events with Jess Brightwell as the main character and is now serving in a military role in Alexandria but on a mission gone wrong, he and all of his friends have to escape in order to survive. You do need to read Ink and Bone before Paper and Fire otherwise you will get spoiled! As before, I do find the long length chapters to be a bit of a struggle as well as slowing the pace down however the twists, turns and action honestly makes up for that. I personally enjoyed Jess's stand-off with the lions and sphinxes which made for an interesting experience. On a cliffhanger note, I hope that Ash and Quill will answer some of the questions that I have. Overall, I keep my reviews spoiler-free so I struggle to review books in a series and trying not to reveal spoilers in the process. Even thought the blurb says London and most of the action taking place there, it does focus more on events in Rome so for someone who really wants to travel there, that was a lovely addition to an already explosive ride. I just adored the steampunk experience from both books which I'm convinced will continue on as I read the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Yodamom.
2,003 reviews196 followers
August 29, 2016
2.8 stars
I loved book one, this one, not so much. There was a lot of running around, escaping, getting caught, escaping again, running, getting caught......and never really getting anywhere. the endless loop of the same thing over and over. It felt like a filler. Ouch that hurt to say I love this author but shoot me out of the canon it was a circus of escaping escapades. One of the characters who the story would have had difficulty going on without came back, it's a miracle ! Yeh it was too convenient. There was a massive development in the last 20 pages setting up for a great book 3. Overall I was disappointed.
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
3,095 reviews665 followers
July 1, 2016
When I reviewed Ink and Bone, you may remember I noted that the novel reminded me of Harry Potter and particularly its characters. In my mind, I pictured some of the characters in this trilogy as beloved characters from the Potter series. That trend continues as Caine continued to develop this motley crew. These similarities whether purposeful or not only enhanced my overall reading experience.

Intense, filled with death, danger, and horrifying images for any book lover, I quickly became immersed within this fascinating and dark world. Caine continued to flesh out the world painting a vivid 3D images. The tower and the automatons have me hoping these are turned into major motion pictures. Her world-building skills are incredible, original and fully developed.

The characters and their friendships pull the reader as Caine endears them to us. Jess Brightwell now a member of the High Garda begins searching for one of his dearest friends. Jess is a fantastic hero and his cause just. Jess is an inner scholar turned soldier who moves like a ninja and is incredibly clever. His loyalty to friends, family and his passion for the written word make him someone to champion.

His squad leader, Glain along with Morgan who lives in the Iron Tower, scholar’s Khalila and Dario as well as Commanding Officer Santi and Scholar Wolfe, join Jess in his quest. In doing so they put themselves in great peril. Caine developed Glain further giving the reader insight into this fierce and competitive young woman. Each member contributed and made sacrifices as they moved forward with their quest. We see them suffer through pain, growth, loss and betrayal. Caine drew us into their circle as she exposed the horrors of the library and what occurs within.

Once again, I enjoyed the dynamics of this band of allies from their interaction to the breakdown in relationships. For those looking for romance this series has several but do not look for swoony moments, as these relationships are just threads. While they further connect the reader to this group, they are mere mentions allowing the intense, action packed plot to take center stage.

Paper and Fire made me weep, clench my fists in anger, and gape in amazement. It was an engaging ride from beginning to end. Caine managed to avoid the dreaded second book syndrome and its heart-pounding ending has me counting down the days until the last next release.

Copy provided by publisher. This review was originally posted on Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,383 followers
April 27, 2021
Actual rating: 4.5 stars, rounded up.

So far, this series is everything I enjoy about YA novels without the things I find obnoxious. The plot is interesting and fast-paced, the world building is enchanting without being overwhelming, the characters are multi-dimensional and sympathetic, and the romances are so dramatic as to evoke soap opera vibes. There’s plenty of tension and drama in the story, but none of it feels trite or overwrought like that in so many of the YA books I’ve read that left me irritated. There’s just enough resolution to keep you from screaming for the next installment immediately, but enough of a cliffhanger to ensure that you won’t wait too terribly long before picking up the next book. All in all, I think the best description for this series so far is well-balanced. I’m sure TS, Eon, and I will be reading the third book in the series fairly soon!
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,637 followers
July 23, 2016
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/07/23/...

I had a lot of books on my must-read list this year, but perhaps few were as highly anticipated as this follow-up to Ink and Bone, which was one of my favorite reads of 2015. Having learned from experience though, I approached Paper and Fire with realistic expectations despite the immense excitement of being able to visit the world of The Great Library again. The first book was just such a phenomenon for me, and I knew it would take a lot for the next installment to blow me away; hence I wasn’t surprise that I didn’t find Paper and Fire to be as good as Ink and Bone, but it was still nonetheless a fantastic sequel.

The story continues not long after we last saw Jess and his companions. As such, I highly recommend picking up the first book before checking out the sequel or reading my review, since the events of Paper and Fire are tied very closely to those in Ink and Bone. Jess has survived the brutal trials of being a Library postulant, and has since become assigned to the army. He and his friends are separated, and all of them are still individually grieving for the loss of one of their own. Jess also misses Morgan, the Obscurist girl he has come to care deeply for before she was apprehended and locked away in the Iron Tower—and he know he is partly to blame for her fate. Being a past runner for his family of book smugglers, Jess has long known the Great Library of Alexandria is not to be trusted, but he had never expected that its evils could run so deep.

And now, when faced with a chance to save one of their friends from the Library’s grasp, Jess, Glain, Dario, and Khalila are going to have to go against the great power of the Library Archivist and his legion of deadly automata. With the help of their former instructor Christopher Wolfe and the army captain Nic Santi, they devise a plan to infiltrate one of the Library’s darkest prisons, but can they manage to pull it off before the Archivist’s servants hunt them down and silence them?

It’s probably safe to say that Paper and Fire didn’t sweep me off my feet the same way Ink and Bone did, but I still had a great time with it. The first book had the advantage of introducing a brand new world to readers, and it’s always hard to beat that feeling when discovering everything for the first time when all you see is fresh and amazing. This sequel build upon the ideas that are already there, without expanding them much. It also had a much simpler plot when compared to the twisty, intricate storyline we got in Ink and Bone.

For one thing, much of the story in Paper and Fire can be boiled down to a rescue mission, but the characters spend a good amount of time hitting false starts and feeling around blindly for how to proceed. This book had a slight vibe of being hastily thrown together, with a lot of plot developments that seemed too convenient or went unexplained. I think part of this problem stems from the narrative limiting itself to Jess’s point-of-view, so we don’t get to see a lot of what happens “off-screen”. The Ephemera sections at the end of each chapter do show us some of what’s outside Jess’s sphere of influence, but I can’t help but feel this sequel might have been better served with at least one additional POV, like Morgan’s. She’s the first character to come to mind because plays a big role in the progression of this story, and yet so much of what she does is unclear, like how she manages to evade notice or capture when she secretly breaks out or communicates with Jess. Simply put, we just have to accept that all those events and others happened without us knowing the full details of why and how.

And speaking of Morgan and Jess, I was also never really on board with their romance, even when I was reading the first book. As characters go, I like them both very much, but they didn’t have the kind of chemistry I was looking for, and that weakness really came to the forefront in this book when they were separated for much of the time. Jess’s continued feelings for Morgan felt a bit forced, and in spite of the author’s efforts to rekindle that spark between them, I just couldn’t quite grasp it, probably because I never really felt there was any fire there in the first place.

These issues notwithstanding though, I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy this book or that it is a poor sequel—because I did and it isn’t. Still, I won’t deny there’s some of that magic from the first book missing here, so maybe this one is simply suffering from a mild case of second book slump. I do love the ideas in this series and it was great seeing more of them, and it appears Rachel Caine is setting up for even more to come with that cliffhanger ending. The last twenty pages were a whirlwind of activity—a bit too rushed in my opinion, but oh so effective when it comes to building anticipation for book three. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment!
Profile Image for The Book Queen.
230 reviews129 followers
Want to read
September 27, 2015
'Want to read'.


I do not 'want to read' this book. I need to read this book. I have never wanted a sequel this much in my life and it is wonderful.



P.S. That tag line thing?

"Let the world burn."

I am about to die of excitement.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,009 reviews379 followers
July 5, 2016
I adored the first book in this series Ink and Bone, it was captivating. So well written and right up my wheel house. I loved the rich historic feel to it and the steampunk tendencies. It was everything I was looking for and more than I could have imagined, which, is why I jumped right into the sequel without hesitation and with expectations running high.

I can say with absolute honesty that I adored Paper and Fire, maybe even more so than Ink and Bone. I don't even know where to begin with just how much more this book was.

Let's stop and appreciate the cover for a moment, it is gorgeous and I absolutely love it. It is the type of cover that demands attention. The kind that catches your eye and makes you stare at it. And wonderfully, the cover matches what is inside.

We get so much in this story, from the background of the library itself to the people that run it, to Jess, Santi, Wolff, and all the others. There are surprises around every corner, danger constantly in the foreground, and new wonders revealed. We truly just do get so much more. I don't even know where to begin to describe how great this sequel was.

If you are on the fence about it, don't be. It has all the right elements and just the right blend of genres to make anyone want to read it and love it.

*ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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