Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine || A book about books


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…(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

I’m struggling a little bit to write a spoiler-free review of this book, but here it goes.

Paper and Fire is a pretty solid second novel, and is just as good as the first, which is a sadly rare thing. And it still rings with the same message as the first; if you take away a person’s books, you’re taking away their knowledge, and if you take away their knowledge, you’re taking away their freedom.

What I liked:

-The action is there and waiting from page one. You don’t get a break in this novel, and the plot twists…I was completely, utterly blindsided more than once. And that was pretty awesome. This book is even more intense and brutal than the first.

-I adore that there’s a focus on platonic relationships as well as romantic ones, and not only male-male or female-female relationships, but female-male as well. And ones you know have absolutely no chance of turning romantic. And I love that. YA needs more platonic male-female relationships.

-The cover. Gosh, the cover is gorgeous. I’m actually kind of sad that I don’t have the book in physical format because of the cover. It’s all fire and blackened paper and dragon automatons and gosh I love it.

-I love the writing style, as well. It fits so perfectly with the book and with Jess, himself.

-The characters; all stand out in their own way, and the cast is wonderfully diverse, which I love.

What I didn’t like:

-I have a hard time connecting with Jess. He’s impossible to dislike, yes, but at the same time, he’s so calm all the time that he kind of fades into the background. And that’s not a great thing for a main character.

-I really wanted to know more about Jess’s family and book smuggling. I had hopes that we would learn a little bit more in this book, and we did, just not enough, and I’m still horribly curious about them, and the profession in general.

But those are little complaints, and, really, they barely even registered when I was reading. And, come on, IT’S A BOOK ABOUT BOOKS. ISN’T THAT JUST BASICALLY THE GREATEST THING EVER?

This book (and the series) is a must-read for any bookworm.


Tell me, blogglings, how many of you have read Ink and Bone (the first book?). Do you want to read Paper and Fire? And how do you feel about books about books? Do you agree with me that they’re the awesomest thing ever?

Happy Thursday,


4 thoughts on “Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine || A book about books

  1. I have heard so many amazing things about Ink and Bone but for some reason I haven’t picked it up yet. But your review on this makes me want to start the series ASAP! It sounds like a great sequel. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤


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