Paper and Fire – Rachel Caine

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Paper and Fire – Rachel CainePaper and Fire by Rachel Caine
Published by NAL on July 5, 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 365
Format: Kindle
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon

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...


bookjockys I am an unabashed Rachel Cain lover. I have enjoyed everything I have read of hers and I was beyond excited to read her latest, Paper and Fire. The first in this series, Ink and Bone was one of my favorite books of 2015 (see my review here) so the wait for this one was torturous and long. Now I love love loved the first book; it was magical and special and I never wanted to stop reading it. I also loved this book, but in a completely different way.

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine is very much a transition book. Where book one was all gorgeous world building and character love, this one was very much a build up book. What I mean by that is there was action, a bit of romance and intrigue, tested loyalties and betrayal, but no real sense of completion. It did, however, perfectly lay the groundwork for book three. We re-join Jess Brightwell as he is serving in the Garda with his heart-broken after the loss of Morgan and his best friend Thomas. His conscription to serve the Great Library and through it the written word is consistently challenged by his own feelings and the fate of those around him.

The plot of Paper and Fire was solid. It explained more of the world Jess and his compatriots live in, it carried through the truly vile dealing of the high ups at the Library and it set a fantastic base for the next book. Now, Rachel Caine can write, a fact I am very familiar with. She has a way of being able to say the perfect thing at the exact right moment. Through her the characters and world come to vivid life. The pacing of the story was great. There were no crazy time jumps or super slow periods. The world building was somewhat minimal, as book one accomplished most of that, but the new things revealed were incredible. The through description of the automatons alone made the world that much more complete. The emotions were not as strong in this book, I think because the main emotion was despair and while that came through well, it pushed everything else down a little through its heaviness. I still loved the characters here, but not quite as much as I did in book one. I think because they were setting up for the next section they were more focused on mission and not on the feels, but I still enjoyed them.

Now I will say do not go into Paper and Fire expecting Ink and Bone. They are very different but in a good way. Rachel Caine has used this book as a platform for the next and I think she did a great job at it. I will anxiously wait for a whole year for the next, and will happily revisit the world Caine created.

My Rachel Cain bookshelf
           My Rachel Cain bookshelf

Favorite lines – Achievement here at the Library was an altar on which one sacrificed many things . . . friendship being the least of it. To go on up the ranks, knowing what he did now—that would require sacrificing his morals. Ethics. His soul.

Biggest cliché – Just because you’re paranoid. Don’t mean they’re not after you.

 Have you read Paper and Fire, or added it to your TBR?

Rating Report
Overall: four-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
  • 2016 New Release Challenge
  • Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
  • The Goodreads Challenge

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Posted July 5, 2016 by Laura in Reviews / 5 Comments

5 responses to “Paper and Fire – Rachel Caine

  1. I keep meaning to get into this series – I like Rachel Caine’s writing and this one looks like it’s just up my alley. Thank you for sharing your review, which is – as ever – thorough and articulate:)

  2. danielle hammelef

    Great review! I have to start this series and read this author’s work. It sounds like she’s very talented.