Review – Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Title Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)

Author Rachel Caine

Description from Amazon

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.
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, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

Initial Thoughts

I will be the first to admit that I am only reading this book of out an obsessive obligation to clear out my 2019 NetGalley queue before 2020. This series is just ok for me. I don’t dislike it, but I’m not super engaged with it either. I didn’t expect much from this book.

Some Things I Liked

  • The characters. I loved the characters in this book and the ways they were grouped and paired off. I enjoyed seeing different sides of characters as they interacted with different people in this story. For example, Dario was basically a bully in the first book, but we got to see a friendly side to him because of his relationship with Khalila.
  • Alternate history. Once again, this story explores the idea of how the world would be if certain historical pieces were changed. I loved the imagination and world building behind that concept.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • This isn’t really a tangible thing to knock the book for, but, I was bored. It was a bit of a dull read for me. I can see the value in story building, especially since this is a five book series. But, I found myself easily drifting off and not paying attention to the story in this installment.

Series Value

I definitely like this series. I will be honest and say that I’m not still not dying to pick up the next book, I am picking it up out of my obsessive obligation to finish my queue up this year. I would have eventually read the rest of the series if not for my pressing NetGalley goals, but not right away.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book. I liked it for all the same reasons I liked the first book. I am going to continue with the series, but, not because I love it. I like it, but that’s about it.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman – if you like thought-provoking, semi-sci-fi / semi-dystopian worlds, with a smidge of romance, you need to read this series.
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – if you liked the library concept, check out this fantasy stand-alone.
  • Fireborne by Rosaria Munda – if you liked the way the story was broken up with journal entires and letters in each chapter, give this new release by Rosaria Munda a try. Once again, this book asks big questions about human nature and the way society should be structured.

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