Paper and Fire is the second book in the Great Library series by Rachel Caine. In the first book, Ink and Bone, we are introduced to a world in which The Great Library is in every city and controls the books of the world. Using alchemy to distribute the books those working for the library track down anyone with any in their possession and confiscate the materials. Ownership of books is expressly forbidden and anyone violating this law could even be sentenced to death.
Jess Brightwell’s family has been involved in the black market for books. He’s been raised to be a runner, delivering the books to those willing to pay the price and risk ownership. Jess has been sent to the library by his father to become a spy from the inside. He gets involved in the training only to find himself mixed up in the secrets of the library.
Paper and Fire picks up a short time after the end of the first book. Jess is continuing his training and serving in the library’s army. Now Jess and his allies embark on a deadly mission this time taking them away from Alexandria and all the way to London.
While I still completely enjoyed Paper and Fire I felt I needed to rate this one a bit below Ink and Bone. I think for me it’s the matter of the middle book syndrome where there were things I want to know and still don’t find out yet and while it’s still a good read it just didn’t hold the total excitement of the first book that gives the first look at the world overall. It also seemed to start off a bit slower to me but the action did pick up.
Trying to remain a bit vague and stay away from spoilers here I will say this one seemed to get a bit darker too. The world built up around the ownership of books being forbidden and may lead to death didn’t quite seem as deadly in the first book but it’s definitely put to the test in the second.
Overall, still a great series and will be impatiently awaiting the next book after the ending of this second installment. Would definitely recommend checking this series out.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.