Jul 6th

ARC Review of Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Posted in Reviews
Paper and Fire

Title: Paper and Fire
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: NAL
Date Published: July 5, 2016
Where I got the book: eARC from the Penguin First to Read program (this in no way affects my review)
Synopsis 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…

I absolutely loved Ink and Bone. It was a truly unique concept, the worldbuilding was exceptional, and the writing was simple and pleasant to read. The ending of Ink and Bone had me hooked and I was excited to start Paper and Fire. Unfortunately, the desire to see how the story would unfold was the only thing that kept me interested in this book. The worldbuilding was good, the writing was on par with the previous book, but the characters felt really flat. The premise was so good though, so I’m still up for giving book 3 a try.

The world of Paper and Fire is every bibliophile’s nightmare. Information is hoarded by The Library and books can only be found on the black market. Anything The Library deems dangerous is hidden away where no one can ever find it. The Library is a political power that no one goes up against, except for smugglers and burners. Burners being the most hideous of these; people who like to burn books! I cannot stress enough how awesome I think this concept is. It is unique and appeals to all readers, because what reader of books could hear about this world and not cringe?! My favorite part of Paper and Fire was finally getting to see the inside of the Iron Tower. It is here that Rachel Caine’s worldbuilding skills are truly showcased. I can’t really explain without spoiling so I will just urge you to read and find out for yourself. It’s breathtaking!

I really don’t have much to say about the writing. I haven’t read anything else by Rachel Caine, so I have no frame of reference. What I can say is that it doesn’t suck. The story moves, there are descriptions and action and dialogue, and there are no major errors. There just isn’t anything exceptional about it. There is no poetic prose, or amazing imagery. It’s better than anything I could write, but it doesn’t stick out in my mind. The characters are very similar in this regard. While I was fascinated with the plot and the worldbuilding in Ink and Bone, I did not connect to the characters as much as I would have liked. I think Jess and Morgan were more relatable in the first book. Their relationship seems forced in the sequel. For me personally, Jess is almost a silent narrator in this book. His perspective moves the story along but he doesn’t feel like an actual character, more like a plot device. His family and history was really great in book 1 so this was a big disappointment for me. I think Glain, Santi, and Wolfe steal the show. I felt more connected to them and their characters stayed believable and interesting. All of the other characters fell flat, especially their relationships to each other.

I did enjoy reading Paper and Fire, contrary to how this review might make it sound. I think the secondary characters and the questions left at the end of book 1 really carry the book though, and I felt the need to point that out for those on the fence about continuing this series. If you were a big fan of Ink and Bone, then I think you’ll enjoy this book, even if you are a bit disappointed. If you didn’t like Ink and Bone, then I suggest you not bother reading this book. For me, worldbuilding and cool plots will always win in the end; I don’t like to leave things unfinished when they start so strong. I will continue to hope for more connection to the characters in the next book.

Paper and Fire

Title: Paper and Fire
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: NAL
Date Published: July 5, 2016
Where I got the book: eARC from the Penguin First to Read program (this in no way affects my review)
Synopsis 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…

I absolutely loved Ink and Bone. It was a truly unique concept, the worldbuilding was exceptional, and the writing was simple and pleasant to read. The ending of Ink and Bone had me hooked and I was excited to start Paper and Fire. Unfortunately, the desire to see how the story would unfold was the only thing that kept me interested in this book. The worldbuilding was good, the writing was on par with the previous book, but the characters felt really flat. The premise was so good though, so I’m still up for giving book 3 a try.

The world of Paper and Fire is every bibliophile’s nightmare. Information is hoarded by The Library and books can only be found on the black market. Anything The Library deems dangerous is hidden away where no one can ever find it. The Library is a political power that no one goes up against, except for smugglers and burners. Burners being the most hideous of these; people who like to burn books! I cannot stress enough how awesome I think this concept is. It is unique and appeals to all readers, because what reader of books could hear about this world and not cringe?! My favorite part of Paper and Fire was finally getting to see the inside of the Iron Tower. It is here that Rachel Caine’s worldbuilding skills are truly showcased. I can’t really explain without spoiling so I will just urge you to read and find out for yourself. It’s breathtaking!

I really don’t have much to say about the writing. I haven’t read anything else by Rachel Caine, so I have no frame of reference. What I can say is that it doesn’t suck. The story moves, there are descriptions and action and dialogue, and there are no major errors. There just isn’t anything exceptional about it. There is no poetic prose, or amazing imagery. It’s better than anything I could write, but it doesn’t stick out in my mind. The characters are very similar in this regard. While I was fascinated with the plot and the worldbuilding in Ink and Bone, I did not connect to the characters as much as I would have liked. I think Jess and Morgan were more relatable in the first book. Their relationship seems forced in the sequel. For me personally, Jess is almost a silent narrator in this book. His perspective moves the story along but he doesn’t feel like an actual character, more like a plot device. His family and history was really great in book 1 so this was a big disappointment for me. I think Glain, Santi, and Wolfe steal the show. I felt more connected to them and their characters stayed believable and interesting. All of the other characters fell flat, especially their relationships to each other.

I did enjoy reading Paper and Fire, contrary to how this review might make it sound. I think the secondary characters and the questions left at the end of book 1 really carry the book though, and I felt the need to point that out for those on the fence about continuing this series. If you were a big fan of Ink and Bone, then I think you’ll enjoy this book, even if you are a bit disappointed. If you didn’t like Ink and Bone, then I suggest you not bother reading this book. For me, worldbuilding and cool plots will always win in the end; I don’t like to leave things unfinished when they start so strong. I will continue to hope for more connection to the characters in the next book.

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