Series: The Great Library #2
Also in this series: Ink and Bone, Ash and Quill
Published by NAL on July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic
Also by this author: Ink and Bone, Ash and Quill
ARC provided by NAL
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...
Paper and Fire starts off right where Ink and Bone left off. Jess is in the service of library as a High Garda (aka soldier used to protect the books of the library and it’s scholars). Paper and Fire continues to explore what would have happened if the great library in Alexandria had never burned down, and if the library had all the power and knowledge in the world. Jess is joined by a bunch of other students who have graduated from library school and are now serving the library. When Jess learns that his best friend Thomas was not killed but is actual being held in a prison, Jess rounds everyone up to help him break Thomas out. Some of them are in positions of power now, and some become very sympathetic to the cause when they see how far the library will go to keep the world from knowledge.
This series continues to fascinate me. What if that library were still in existence? I imagine our world would look a lot like this book describes. This book explores other great city strongholds like Rome. Without the benefit of modern way to travel this group relies on other means that I don’t fully understand. This book explores more about the automata (animal) machines that work security for the library. We get all kinds of inside info about who is in charge and how they intent to keep it that way. We get to see the black tower that hold the obscurists. We also get a look at Black Archives and the books that are contained there.
I have to admit that this story dragged for the first 50 or so percent. I hung in there because I knew it would get better. This book isn’t so much about books, it is about power and knowledge. Jess is mourning the loss of Thomas and Morgan and his new friends are not the warm and fuzzy sort. Nothing much happens, and then his squad is sent to Rome. It turns out that the (big chief) Archivist is very aware of how dangerous Jess and his friends are so he is keeping a close eye on Jess throughout the story. The automata have orders to kill him and make it look like an accident. Jess has more than one close call with automata in Rome and this is where the story starts to get really good.
Once again, I was sucked into this tale of corruption and the rebels fighting against it. Jess is the main character, but he is not the only key player. I grew so attached to this band of rebels that I almost cheered out loud for them to succeed. By the time I was 3/4 done with the book I was so stressed that people would die, but I couldn’t stop reading this book. The book takes the characters through so much, and then dumps them in a place we haven’t explored yet. I am very anxious to see what the author has in store for this group. I so want them to succeed at changing their world.