Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy
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
Paper and Fire is the second installment in author Rachel Caine's The Great Library series. Paper and Fire picks up six months after the end of Ink and Bone. As a sort of summary, The Great Library of Alexandria exists in this alternative world. It exists to "contain the knowledge of the world in the name of the greater good." This is a world where possessing real honest to goodness books is a serious crime.
Jess Brightwell, the series real protagonist, has been given a one year commission as part of the Library's High Garda along with his squad leader Glain Wathen. Jess, in my opinion, was absolutely screwed over and everyone knows it. As for Khalila Self (Research Scholar) and Dario Santiago (Assigned Scholar), they've pretty much got it made in the shade. Morgan, on the other hand, has been locked away in the Iron Tower where other Obscurists are housed.
You have to give Morgan a whole lot of credit, and I do. Yes, she is peeved at Jess for what happened to her and how she ended up in the Iron Tower. But, she's seriously an interesting character continues to bedevil those who wish to use her for their own desires. She is also bloody brilliant and let's not forget that she's possibly even more dangerous than the Archivist.
For those who have read the previous installment, you know that Jess isn't all that happy about the disappearance of his friend Thomas Schreiber. So, what's a teenaged boy to do when nobody seems to be looking, even though he is supposed to be hard training so he doesn't end up getting sent home where he isn't wanted? He goes in search of information and proof that Thomas is either dead of alive.
I have to say folks, if you ignore the breaks between certain chapters which are communications from the Archivist to the Artificer Magnus and others, you will be missing a huge part of this story. So, don't skip over anything! That being said, let's not forget about Captain Niccolo Santi or Scholar Christopher Wolfe while we are talking about Jess's allies and those who have been dragged into something that is quickly heading for an all out war of attrition
between the good guys and the main villain.
I did like the fact that Caine gave us a peek into the Iron Tower, and an even more detailed look at the something only a handful of people of seen. This alone gave me hope that the third installment will be even more dangerous, fun, thrilling, and maybe a bit more romance? Yeah? I still believe the automata's are the coolest invention this series has to offer. Especially how they and Jess have a sort of terrifying relationship.
You have to at least admire everything that Jess has been put through up to now. From his own family, to the library tests and situations where he and the other barely lived to tell about it, to the fact that he has become, if not the leader of the group, an important piece of figuring out how to stop the Archivist and maybe changing the world in the process. But, let's not dismiss the efforts of the others. Without the secondary characters, Jess would be back running illegal books for his despicable father!
Overall, I am pleasantly pleased with the sequel to Ink and Bone. There is more than enough action, adventure, danger, and twists to keep me entertained and looking forward to the sequel.