ARC Review – Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Book Review - Paper and Fire

Paper and Fire Cover

Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)

Author: Rachel Caine

Expected Publication: July 5th, 2016

Publisher: NAL

Format: e-ARC, 368 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Dystopian, Steampunk

Read: June 2016

I received an e-ARC of this book from Penguin and Berkeley, NAL via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

 

4.5 Stars

Synopsis
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…

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
After my love for the first book, this plot immediately pulled me in and kept me entertained the entire time. It’s so intriguing because things are getting more intense and heavier. It’s so fast paced, full of tension and action packed. There are so many twists and turns and the stakes are so high that I can’t even wrap my head around what happened completely and I can’t wait to see what happens in the third book.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I’m a fan of this author’s writing style, it lends well into the way the story is developing. It’s quite simple and easy to read but it keeps you intrigued the entire time. The world building has improved from the last book, we get so much more detail into the ins and outs of how the Library works. It transmits emotions really well and it’s very descriptive and intricate. There are also some small additions at the end of the chapters that add to what is happening to the plot but doesn’t have anything related to the present.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
While I’m still not completely convinced on the character’s of this book, there was definitely some much needed development for each of them. I liked Jess a lot more in this book. He’s a lot more focused on the tasks at hand but he’s still too serious and intense. It makes it quite hard to get to know him when he doesn’t really display his thoughts well. He learns to understand who he can trust and how to really let people in which I appreciated. His characters development could’ve been more vast but I hope it’ll be improved in the last book. The side characters are still stellar though, and my favorites are just so amazing! Morgan is awesome, but she’s having such a hard time. She’s really desperate to get out of the situation she’s in because it’s so crazy and intense and not cool at all. Honestly, I would’ve loved to have read this series from Morgan’s point of view. Glain is a character that I didn’t really care for in the beginning. But she’s grown on me, specially in this book. She’s still tough and rough around the edges but she has a special way of knowing she cares and she’s an integral part of the group dynamic. And yet, the romances in these books are still flimsy and I don’t know how much it’s supposed to bother me.

Emotionally

I’m really glad that I got an ARC of this book because the first book was great, but this one was totally amazing.

The plot is full of tension. We follow Jess, six months after the events of the first book on his final training simulation in preparation to become High Garda as he uncovers more secrets about the Library that they have been trying to keep hidden. The stakes are so much higher in this book, the characters are in near constant danger and things never seem to get any easier for them. Even though for some of the beginning the characters were separated, they come back together for a cause that resonates deep in their hearts. A very dangerous, deadly cause that could possibly get them all killed. There’s so much action and tension that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! We get to learn more about the Library, the way it functions, it’s hierarchy and the corruption within those placements. Also, the lengths that those leaders will go to to keep their place in power. It’s such an interesting world and dynamic and it’s absolutely my favorite part about this book and series. The simplest things are so huge and overwhelming because of how “primitive” the world is and it’s astounding. There are so many consequences to the simplest of changes in history and I find that so intriguing. I’m really looking forward  to seeing what is going to happen in this series and how it will conclude because there are so many open threads left after this book.

Sadly, Jess, the main characters is still my least favorite part of this book. He got better in this second installment! I feel like he’s more focused and a lot smarter. He’s grown and matured a bit, not only after the events of the first book but also in his training for the High Garda before the beginning of this book. But there’s something about him that just doesn’t convince me. For a narrator, he has a really flat voice and perspective. I never really feel what he says he feels, whether that’s positive or negative. I can’t connect with him and what he’s going through because he doesn’t transmit it well. And maybe that’s a fault within the writing style, but I can’t help but think that it would’ve been a story better told from someone else’s perspective. He doesn’t develop as a character as much as I think he should’ve considering we’re in the second book of what I believe is a trilogy.

And yet, the side characters just keep getting better and better. Glain is a character that I didn’t really notice much or care about in the first book, but she really stands out in this book. Not only because she reaches her full potential in her assignment but also because of the way she has let in the members of their little group. She was always sort of on the outside in the first book but now is an integral part of what they’re trying to do. I feel so bad for Morgan in this book. She’s been through so much through the series and it doesn’t seem to be letting up at all. Unfortunately, she was born as someone extremely valuable to the Library and the way it functions and she’s desperate to shed them away and to not let that part of her be overtaken and controlled by them. I want to mention one of my favorite characters of this series but I can’t say much about him without it being a spoiler and I just want to say *heart eye emojis*.

I have to mention it again because it’s disappointing for me: the romances are so flimsy. I don’t feel anything for the majority of them. They’ve moved past rapid development into totally unbelievable and have no heat whatsoever. My shipper heart is so disappointed because I don’t feel inspired to want anyone together. Even when there’s angst, and drama, and happiness, it all just feels the same to me. There’s only one couple that kind of gets me going and they definitely not have enough show time. I need more from them!

Overall, this book was a step up from the first one. The plot was more exciting and action packed. We got so much more information about the amazing world and the way its set up. The characters improved but I still want more from them, I want to feel more of a connection with them and their trials. The different romances are kind of disappointing and it’s something I’m not focusing on because I feel like the plot could do without it. However, I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion to this series.

So that’s it for this review! Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it. I would love to know if I’ve piked your interesting in reading this book after my review. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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