Book Review | Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

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Paper and Fire is second book in The Great Library series by Rachel Caine. The series starting out with Ink and Bone. It is set in an alternate world where books are banned. This book has a really Harry Potter feel. With the main character, Jess, leaving home to join the mysterious library. If you love books about books, Paper and Fire is a must read.


With an iron fist, the Great Library ruthlessly controls the knowledge of the world, 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 his life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered for ever. Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria.

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


There are two things you need to know about this book. The first is that read almost all of it in a single day. The second is that I was only 25% of the way through this when I went and preordered the next book. I think that says more of how I feel about this book than any other versions of “I like it” that I could come up with.

The strange thing I find with this book is it isn’t in a genre I normally read. This may be a surprise but I don’t read massive amounts of YA any more because I always feel that I can’t connect with the characters. But for some reason I love this.

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I love that it’s about the Library of Alexandria which is this thing people always go on about how amazing it would be if it were still around. But it’s about freedom of information which is turning into a really important thing in the world we’re living in just now.

I like the fact that this gang of kids actually has some adult figures around. Telling them what they are doing may not be the best or right thing to do. One of the things that always annoys me about YA books is how the adult characters being forgotten. In this the adults are part of the “gang”.

I love that you have a diverse cast of characters. It touches on sexuality and normalises LGBT relationships. The characters feel real because they are all motivated by something. Their actions aren’t always the right ones. It feels like an adventure. And I love that this book made me feel real sadness when a robot cat died. Of course I also love that it’s a book about books.


I loved Paper and Fire. The story, the characters, everything about it was enjoyable to read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. And hopefully many many more after that. Which I should get considering Rachel Caine is a book writing machine.


Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 1st July 2016


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