Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine, a great library adventure

Redd Becker Book Review

Paper and Fire by Rachel CaineRachel Caine once again wrote a wonderful action adventure. One confrontation leads to another. Overcoming mechanical lions, scrounging in Alexandria’s alleyways, and the intricacies of an all-powerful-library-gone-awry add wonder to Jess’s quest.

Action is fun, but by mid book I missed something. Plot driven scenes sacrificed emotional growth opportunities for the characters. The main people introduced in Ink and Bone  continued their well-designed parts, but they didn’t change. The exception was Scholar Wolf.  While acting as a teacher students distain in the first book, he became a vulnerable victim of the library’s evil in Paper and Fire.

Two-thirds of the way through the story a dramatic twist initiates changes for everyone. Relationships were tested and characters allowed to develop. It was perfect timing to keep me motivated.

For those interested in writing: Caine’s first chapter is a wonderful example of doing all the things writers are advised to do in opening a book–definitely worth a look.

My Rating five-stars

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine, a great library adventurePaper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #2
Published by New American Library on July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 357
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Let the world burn.
With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion and, in the name of the greater good, forbidding the personal ownership of books.
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, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows.
After 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…

Ink and Bone by Rachael Caine, where the great library rules politics

Redd Becker Book Reviews

Rachel Caine creates an alternative universe where scholars from Alexandria use knowledge to control the world. Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel CaineLibrary’s power trumps politics. What would happen if library’s were the political power broker? The story effectively turns the reader’s view of libraries on its head. 

Caine portrays diverse teenagers who come together to address challenges. Clues sprinkled throughout action scene carefully lay out her alternate history.

Each year an elite group of youth are tested and trained to join the ranks of the library. Training is not just a test of the scholarly, alliances are made, lives destroyed. Jess comes from a family of black market book sellers who expect him to use his role in the library to their advantage, but when Jess finds out how the library is ruthless and uses magic to suppress the populous. Who are his friends and foes on his quest to save himself and his friends. Caine leaves us hanging. 

Rachel Caine has more to explore

I read the novel a second time a few months after the first and liked it even better. During my initial read, the ephemera between chapters were interesting, but the second time those small bits of information added even more. I reread this novel with equal enjoyment to my first read and look forward to the sequel.

Due to Rachel Caine‘s prolific writing she has several series to enjoy. Her website covers it all.

For those interested in writing: The “Ephemera” between many of the chapters provided a view from the perspective of the library’s elite. It’s an effective technique to clue readers into things characters in the story don’t have access to and adds another dimension to the plot.

five-stars Ink and Bone by Rachael Caine, where the great library rules politicsInk and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #1
Published by NAL on April 5th 2016
Genres: Alternate History, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Buy on Amazon

In an exhilarating new series, "New York Times" bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time. Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family. Jess has been sent to be his family s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library s service. When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe knowledge is more valuable than any human life and soon both heretics and books will burn."