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Paper and Fire (The Great Library) Hardcover – July 5, 2016
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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Praise for Ink and Bone
“Rachel Caine transports the reader to an imaginary future world where a Great Library controls all knowledge and the private ownership of printed books is a radical, dangerous practice…Ink and Bone launches a magical new series that will leave readers begging for more.”—Deborah Harkness, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
“Dark, riveting, heart-in-the-throat storytelling, with characters who caught me up and hold me even now. A don't-miss read!”—Tamora Pierce, New York Times Bestselling Author
“Caine’s elegantly detailed descriptions bring Jess’s world to vivid life in a fast-paced, action-oriented plot that will leave readers breathlessly anticipating not just the next page but the next book in the Great Library Series.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A thrill-a-minute adventure. . . This first entry into the Great Library series has pieces that mirror the excitement and bitterness of the Hunger Games series and contains some of the psychological elements of the Harry Potter books.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Fans will fall in love with Jess and want the next book out immediately.”—USA Today
“A strong cast of characters and nail-biting intensity make for a promising start to this series.”—School Library Journal
“A modern masterpiece. . . . Fellow bibliophiles, expect to be some variation on struck—awestruck, dumbstruck, starstruck, maybe even thunderstruck. . .a new series to thrill every bookworm’s heart!”—Christian Science Monitor
“Caine's world where books and libraries dominate is not for the faint of heart...What’s not to love? Imagine Harry Potter where the real magic is found within the pages of ancient texts. This book proves the adage that knowledge is power.”—RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick)
About the Author
Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the Great Library series, Prince of Shadows, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, the Revivalist series, and the Morganville Vampires series.
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Top customer reviews
If Rachel Caine's Ink and Bone introduced a steampunk future where the Great Library of Alexandria controlled the global distribution of published material, then Paper and Fire yanks out the first bricks for the Library's fall. Jess and his former co-Postulants are now in their new assignments, guarding the Library's goods as scholars-in-training or (in Jess's case) in the army. When Jess discovers that a captured friend he'd feared dead may be alive, he rallies his allies and launches a rescue mission. But tracking down a Library prisoner is no easy task. And as Jess's band makes plans that could break the institution's grip on knowledge-sharing, they quickly realize they're running out of places to hide - and out of time.
Paper and Fire featured plenty of what I had enjoyed about Ink and Bone. Character diversity, international locales, the dangers in serving or rebelling against the Library - it made a fascinating premise before, and it works again here. Caine expands on her world-building, taking readers inside the Library militia, prison system, and the Black Archives, where the most forbidden books are stored in secret. Also, Christopher Wolfe is an intriguing twist on the mentor archetype. Mysterious and at times caustic, he's vocal about his views on the Library's abuse of power and his suppor for his students' ideas - because despite his tormented past, he remains a revolutionary at heart.
At the same time, Paper and Fire suffers from the same issues I had with its predecessor, and then some. The chapters are quite long, and Jess and Morgan's romance still makes no sense to me. And the climax - gosh, was it chaotic and confusing. Plus, the official blurb pretty much spoils how it ends, so nothing about it surprised me. So, yes, I'm disappointed that Paper and Fire unraveled a bit after a strong start. But it was still a good read, and I'm curious to see how it all ends with Ash and Quill next summer.
An alternate reality where the Library of Alexandria survives?!?! It’s every book lover’s dream- sign me up!!!!!
Actually, that’s exactly what I did. I originally put in a request through Netgalley to view “Ash and Quill”. I quickly learned that “Ash and Quill” was book number 3 in “The Great Library” series and I would need to be (better) acquainted with the characters AND story line. Luck must have been on my side because I also had the opportunity to review “Ink and Bone” (book number 1 in “The Great Library” series”. I was destined to read this series- so I took it upon myself to purchase book 2 to bring them all together.
What exactly does this world look like with preserved knowledge? Pretty similar to today, just a larger emphasis on knowledge running the world. Even in this bookworm’s world, someone is always hungry for power. People are still put into groups, and it seems each group has it’s own caste system. And yet again as we spiral down to the underprivileged, groups and caste systems dissipate and it’s an absolute free-for-all for survival.
The Library, which is essentially the government, primarily focus on:
“Knowledge is Power”
However, knowledge is not meant for all. It’s true that the highest positions within the Library are privy to every and all information. It is up to the positions of power to filter out (or in) what they deem necessary. If it’s an original work that could bring about rebellion, the inventor is labeled a heretic, his/her original text is sent to the black archives, and the library is saved. If it’s an original work that benefits the present and future, the Obscurists (think of them ALMOST as magicians) will copy the original work into blanks. Blanks could be a hit or miss. Information may be omitted or added to depending on the idea the Library is trying to convey.
“Knowledge is Power”
It is in in that simple motto where groups start to break down.
Smugglers: wish to preserve original books: it is their trade: money to be made.
Burners: political statement: will burn any book to break the Library’s hold on originals
Obscurists: the group in the library that “mirror’s” original books
Scholars: protect any and all books, no matter the costs
Readers are introduced to Jess Brightwell- who at the time is 10 years old. The Brightwell family runs a book smuggling operation- not just any books; originals. Just because you are a young member of the family, does not mean you are exempt from smuggling duty. Jess knows for certain he does not want a future career within the family business. One prominent memory for Jess was a run were a customer dubbed an “ink licker” ate an original book, for:
“. . .there’s no act of possession more complete than consuming the unique. . .”
Jess may have been born into a book smuggling business, but ,
“. . .[he] was born with ink in his blood. . .”
making him consciously aware that he would do anything to protect a book.
Tired of paying for a son who refuses to take over the family business, Callum (ever the opportunist) decides to use his son for bigger and better things; placement in the Library, and a chance to make return investment on years of tutelage.
Jess passes the placement test, sending him to Alexandria with a train full of hopeful postulants. Whilst on the train ride, we learn of the other characters who will frequent the books:
Thomas: from Germany. Has a large build, and hopes to get placed in engineering.
Khalila: from the Middle East, very pretty, the first person to EVER score 100% on the exams.
Glain: Welsh, solid dislike for Jess since he’s English and they’re in a war; very plain, brash.
Dario: spanish, arrogant- used to getting what he wants.
Morgan: late arrival; on the run from the library, safest place is right under their nose for the time being.
Scholar Wolfe: intimidating; black robes, shoulder length hair, not the average teacher. Forced into teaching as a punishment (although the reader will not know that until much later).
Santi: member of the High Garda, assigned to Scholar Wolfe
So for the most part this is our rag tag team for the series. Naturally there are other minor characters introduced throughout, but these here are your main focus.
Scholar Wolfe is expected to whittle down his applicants to 6; through lessons, practical life lessons, hand on tasks, as well as common sense training. The Library deems them fit to go on a mission to Oxford for the retrieval of Originals at the sister library. The problem? They are walking right in the middle of the English/Welsh war.
Even in this alternate reality, history repeats itself. Usually, repeated ideas are the most dangerous, and most likely to draw (unwanted) attention from the Library; which is exactly what Thomas has done. Thomas has invented a machine that renders Obscurists obsolete, as well as challenging the powerful hold the library has on it’s information flow. What innocent Thomas is unaware of, is his invention has actually been “invented” before. . .centuries, decades, and years prior. Each invention discovered, each inventor silenced and/or tortured, and all evidence of either of the two ever existing wiped clean.
Luckily, our crew of miscreants has someone seasoned in the Library’s conduct; Scholar Wolfe. It is through Wolfe’s intuition that leads Jess to realize Thomas has been taken. It is through a hypnotic trance that Wolfe is able to tell the group where Thomas may be kept, and it is Wolfe’s ability to help everyone steer clear from the Library as much as possible.
Throughout the 3 books it’s Battle—–>Rescue—–>Rest—–>Repeat. Not only do we have human obstacles our group must face, but also automated (specifically engineered for the Library) and chemical.
Unbeknownst to me, I originally thought this was only a 3 book series. Upon looking up information on Goodreads, I learned that it is actually a 5 book series (YAY!!!!). In my personal opinion, this series (all around) is an amazing read. I typically love alternate realities, but lately it seems that they have been overdone. By breathing life back into the Library of Alexandria, it gives a historical spin on what “could have” been our future. The story line flows- for the most part, I did not hit a boring spot that I had to put down and take a break. Caine has developed this world beautifully- everything is well thought out, described, and intoxicating. The depth of the characters makes you easily fall in love with them- and I HIGHLY suggest at starting with book 1, do not skip books.
It is also my opinion that this series be developed either into a video game (yes you read that right!) or a TV series. Yes, I loved it that much, and I really think it would do well! So, here at Quitterstrip, I cannot wait to continue with this series.
All 3 books get a solid 4 star rating
Now that the requisite spoiler alert is out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Jess finds himself as a lowly grunt in the Library’s Garda. Forced to abandon his dream of becoming a Library scholar, and very aware of the dark underside of the Library’s rule, Jess uses his smuggling past to try to find more information of the imprisoned Morgan and murdered Thomas. When Jess uncovers a bombshell: Thomas is alive and held captive by the Library at a secret prison, Jess must reunite his old friends (and frenemies) in a desperate rescue attempt. Little does he know that this act of rebellion will spark a violent chain of events which could threaten the world as he knows it.
Paper and Fire is a good sequel to Ink and Bone. The characters seem to have grown up quite a bit since we first met them, and the danger from the Library and its minions seems more devious and omnipresent than ever. We are given more information about the inner workings of the Library, and learn more about its past. I always enjoy the second book in the series, we’ve gotten over the awkward introduction phase and the characters can really stretch their legs. Caine lets Jess and his friends grow, but avoids the simple and comfortable and keeps things on a more realistic and complicated plane.
If you enjoyed the first book in the series, you will almost certainly like this one. If you haven’t read Ink and Bone yet, then you really shouldn’t be reading this review, should you? But either way, fans of the Harry Potter or Hunger Games series will enjoy these books, which manage to be both about teenagers and very adult at the same time.