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Release-Day Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine (The Great Library #2)

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Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine // VBCPaper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
Rachel Caine
Published: July 5, 2015 (NAL)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference the previous book. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Ink and Bone.

The end of Ink and Bone saw Jess Brightwell and his friends/fellow classmates lose two of their own; Morgan was taken away to the Iron Tower to fulfill her Obscurist duties, and Thomas was purportedly killed because of his experiments with printing.

It has been six months since the group has been disbanded to different jobs within the Library. Jess chose to join the ranks of the High Garda as a soldier along with Glain. When he discovers that Thomas is alive, he’s determined to find his best friend and free him from the hell he’s experiencing while being a prisoner of the Library.

The search for Thomas will bring the friends back together, and as they wade even deeper through long lost pieces of information, all will be faced with a decision in which there’s no turning back. They’ll all see how far the Library will go to keep its ultimate control.

I absolutely loved Ink and Bone. Making the 2015 best of VBC list, the entire story was captivating. In reading it, I had that giddy, I’m-experiencing-something-awesome feeling. While Paper and Fire continues on in the same vein as its predecessor, it lacks the awe and punch of the first book. A lot of the information learned in Paper and Fire is just reiterating things we already know, just heightening it a bit. We know the Library, and those within the upper echelon, extremely censor what the general populace see in regards to information. Well here we see it pushed a little bit more to maintain its control. Anything new that is presented wasn’t really surprising or unexpected.

I did like the strengthening of the idea that there are areas of gray within the Library structure. Jess comments many times throughout Paper and Fire that what the Library does, the preservation of history and information, is a good thing, but the way it goes about it, leaves much to be desired. This sentiment can be mirrored in our perception of the Burners and the Smugglers as well.

For me, what drove the story along was wanting so badly to see all our characters together again. They’ve been separated with little to no contact with one another for six months, and with so many obstacles in their way, it’s tough to tell whether or not they’ll be successful in finding Thomas and getting Morgan out of the Iron Tower. This takes us all the way to the explosive ending.

Paper and Fire felt like a very transitive story. Picking up the reins from Ink and Bone and carrying us into the third book. Based on how things proceed here, and the note on which it ends, I’m hoping what comes up next leads back into that awe-inspiring place.

Sexual content: kissing, references to sex

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