Paper and Fire (The Great Library Series #2)

Paper and Fire (The Great Library Series #2)

by Rachel Caine

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The New York Times Bestseller

In Ink and Bone, 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...

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.
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, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698180826
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Series: Rachel Caine's Great Library Series , #2
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 42,985
Lexile: HL740L (what's this?)
File size: 881 KB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

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.

Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

1. Jess Brightwell seems to be doing well in his new army career. Why do you think he fits in so well, given that he didn’t expect to like it?

2. How far would you go to rescue a friend in danger? What would you risk?

3. Morgan is unwilling to accept her fate as an Obscurist, and is angry at Jess for cooperating in her capture in Ink and Bone. Jess feels guilty about it, too. Is he really guilty, or did he not have a choice?

4. In Paper and Fire, you see quite a lot of Rome—a very different Rome from what we see today—with all the wonders of the ancient world preserved (and some added). You also get to see the tomb of Alexander the Great. Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, what is the only one we can still visit today?

5. Why would the Library develop different kinds of automata (the lions of London, the lions of Rome, the Spartans, the sphinxes)?

6. Who do you think is the most heroic character in this book? Why?

7. What danger do you think the group will find in Philadelphia? How do you think the next book’s Philadelphia will be different from the actual one?

8. If you could change one thing that happens in Paper and Fire, what would it be? Why? What aspects of the book would your change alter?

For more information about the history of lost libraries, visit the Great Library Web site at

Customer Reviews

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Paper and Fire 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great follow up to the first book! I would highly recommend this series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
18876111 More than 1 year ago
This book started slow but the pacing picked up. This had a faster pace than Ink and Bone despite starting off slow. There was a lot more danger in this book, and holy hell I did not see any of the plot twists coming. This book was just as adventurous as the Ink and Bone, and I can't wait to read book three.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two sittings. Couldn't put it down.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
The Library is winning. Two of Jess's friends have been taken from him and may no longer be among the living and Jess is set off to join the fighting ranks - not what he had originally hoped for. But Jess and his friends aren't quite done yet. Much of this story involves trying to free certain companions and running away from the Library higher-ups that are trying to capture/kill them. At times this gets just a tad repetitive. It was more action than a lot of deep story development. It seemed like Rachel Caine needed to get the characters somewhere, and she used this book to get them there without any other real direction. The end of book one will really leave you hanging, and I was really glad that I could just jump straight into book two of this incredible series.
BananaTricky More than 1 year ago
This is a classic second book in a series, it moves the plot along nicely but definitely feels like a filler (in a good way?). Warning, this contains massive spoilers for the end of the first book if you haven't read that yet ... At the end of the first book Jess and the remainder of his class have passed their postulate tests but Morgan has been taken into the Iron Tower by the Obscurists and Thomas has been taken by the Artifex, believed dead, for designing and building a printing press. Jess is being forced to spy on his friends by the Artifex. The remaining students have all been offered positions in the Library, but Jess is only offered a one year contract as a private in the High Garda instead of the scholarship position he rightly deserved. At the start of this book Jess discovers that Thomas may not be dead, that the Artifex may have moved him to wherever Wolfe was taken when he was a prisoner. This book is about discovering where Thomas is being kept prisoner, making new allies, finding traitors in their midst and getting Morgan out of the Iron Tower. Their journeys lead them far from Alexandria and lead them to uncover the depths of the deception being played on the people by successive Archivists with the aid of the Artifexes. One of the strengths of this series is that each of the characters is identifiable in their own right, this isn't Jess and his band of assistants, every character brings special skills and knowledge to the table. A picky person might argue that it is too much of a coincidence that all these special people made it into the one class of apostates, but I think the fact that they were the best of the best from across the world, tested for their academic and fighting abilities and honed through their teaching by Wolfe shows that the entire class, even those that failed, were special snowflakes. I couldn't bear to stop reading so I am already halfway through the third book, but a natural break occurred so I took the opportunity to dash off a review, onwards readers!
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Paper and Fire - The Great Library Book 2 Author: Rachel Caine Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group / Penguin Group Published: 7-5-2016 Pages: 365 Genre: Action & Adventure Sub-Genre: Science Fiction; Thriller; Suspense; Dystopian; Teen & Young Adult ISBN: 9780451472403 ASIN: B016JPTGZ4 Reviewed For NetGalley and Penguin/Berkley Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.75 Stars I had to borrow book one "Ink & Bone" from my local library to catch up on previous events that are mentioned in "Paper & Fire". After doing so I reread "Paper and Fire" and found it much easier to follow and enjoy. Imagine if the Great Library of Alexandria survived and was still standing. In this alternate reality it has, but all the knowledge contained within is controlled and dispensed as they see fit. Jess Brightwell is in a fight to save Morgan from the iron tower and find his missing friend. Together he and a few friends continue the fight, hunted by the Library's army. Will they succeed or will the Library exterminate them all and finally hold the ultimate control over the knowledge held in the Library? My rating for this fast paced thrilling action adventure story is 4.75 out of 5 stars. With well developed characters and a thought out plot "Paper and Fire" is guaranteed to give the reader hours of pleasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Parvati More than 1 year ago
I got on board this series not expecting much. It lurched and took off, a tremendous ride all the way to the end. I have nothing but praise for the author, who created an intriguing world and characters you quickly grow attached to. I just want MORE!!! One of the best series I have in my very large library of epic fantasy.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine is the second book in The Great Library series. Paper and Fire picks up where Ink and Bone ended. Jess Brightwell and his friends find out that their friend, Thomas was not killed (as they were told). He is rotting in prison, and they are determined to help him. The group sets out to find his location and rescue him. It means that all of them will be forfeiting their positions within the Library. They are willing to risk their lives and positions to help Thomas. The Artifex Magnus is out to stop them and he will do whatever it takes. Will they succeed in rescuing Thomas and what price will they pay? Paper and Fire is a good book, but a little slow in places. It gets bogged down in details and descriptions (helped establish the world but also slowed down the pace). The writing is good (as with all of Rachel Caine’s books) and there is a lot of action (fighting scenes and running). I give Paper and Fire 4 out of 5 stars. I liked it, but did not love it. Paper and Fire ends with a cliffhanger. We have to wait for the next installment (which means we will have to wait a year) to find out what happens to Jess and his friends. Will they ever be free and can they change the Library? I am not sure if I will read the next book in the series. I probably will just to see how the series ends (if they can change the Library’s ways). I received a complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
StephanieTiner More than 1 year ago
The Library Controls what you can read, write, and own when it comes to books. The personal ownership of books is illegal. And The Library has no trouble dealing with those who break the law. Or anyone who threatens The Library's power. After surviving as a postulant, Jess Brightwell has been placed in The Library's High Garda. After retuning from a dangerous mission in war torn Oxford, Morgan was taken to live in the Iron Tower and Jess' best friend Thomas has disappeared. Despite being told by The Library that Thomas is dead, Jess cannot believe it and begins looking for information to the contrary. Jess and his friends embark on a mission to save their friend but are soon the target of The Library. Jess will soon have to choose between his friends and his family, and The Library is willing to do anything to stop them. I enjoyed this installment of The Great Library series. The cover is very interesting with its image of the inside of one of the great libraries. I really like the burning paper imagery which foreshadows the possible use of Greek fire. I also like the fact that they tried to make the spine look like an old original in the story. I don't understand the images of the dragons on the front, as that have no ties to the story itself, but they fit with the rest of the cover and are very appealing to the eye. I personally simply love dragons as well, so I liked this small addition. As for the story itself, I found it to be well written and constructed. the plot line was captivating and fast-paced. I found the action level a little tame at first, compared to the ending of the first book, but understandably so, and it did not stay that way for long. The mystery is confounding and the many twists to the plot keep you guessing and demanding more. I also enjoyed learning more about the Iron Tower where the obscurists and the automata. The idea that the library could be a force of evil is an interesting and somewhat terrifying idea for me. I love the library and all of the possibilities that is holds. But the idea does hold water, for knowledge is power, therefore, whoever controls the knowledge holds the power. I am eager to continue with this series, to see what becomes of Jess and his friends, as well as, what becomes of The Library. Rachel Caine is indeed a very talented writer. I am surprised it took me so long to read any of her works. This book was terrific and I would recommend it to bibliophiles worldwide. I received my copy of this book from the publishers, New American Library, an imprint of Penguin random House, for the sole purpose of an honest review, and have permission to use the cover image above.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
Goodness where do I even start. More stuff is revealed about the nastiness that is The Great Library. Love grows. Deception is around nearly every corner. There’s heart pounding action. And heartbreaking crimes against people and books. I’m still marveling over Caine’s ability to convey, in this series, how important books are to individuals. I believe the emotion she writes related to books is as strong has the human relationships. I connect with Jess because of his love for books. The emotional connection he has with books just pours off the page. On the flipside of that, Caine walks a delicate balance of the importance, control and power the knowledge that books carry in society. As our cast of characters journey from Alexandria to Rome to London and in the final pages a surprising location that I won’t reveal, the motives of the Burners are revealed. And the question is asked, what is more important—a life or a book? I truly excited to see where Caine takes this story next. Jess and the gang have been tossed into the fire at the end of book 2. After working through the depths the Library will go to cover up, hide and misuse knowledge, I almost certain that the team is in for a big discoveries about the Burners going into book 3. It sucks that those discoveries and adventures are more than likely another year away!
LITERALADDICTION_MLO More than 1 year ago
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Scholastic Siren - Sara: *Copy gifted by the publisher in exchange for an honest review This is a series with very complex characters, plot and world building. Therefore, I highly suggest reading these in order. This review may contain spoilers for the first book. Jess is back in Alexandria at the library and has been assigned to a guarda company. Morgan is still locked away in the tower, but she has found a way to safely communicate. When Jess and his company are almost killed in what is supposed to be an exercise, he realizes none of them are safe. Can Jess, Scholar Wolfe, Morgan, and the rest escape the library while the rest of the world is at war? Can they even keep each other safe? This is a strong entry in the series. There is even more character development than Ink and Bone. The story is full of action, but also a great depth. The theme of the story is very timely even though this is a fictional version of our world. Knowledge may be power, but should that knowledge be shared?
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine Book Two of The Great Library series Publisher: NAL Publication Date: July 5, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): 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… What I Liked: I didn't think I could love this series any more than I already do! Last year, Ink and Bone captivated me, and the ending left me up in arms and ready to storm... something, for the sequel. Paper and Fire is nothing I was expecting, and so utterly satisfying. I got everything I was waiting for, and then some! Now I'm hankering for book three! Jess Brightwell is in training to be a soldier of the High Garda, with Glain as his squad leader. After Thomas's death, and Morgan being sent to the Iron Tower, Glain is the only one Jess trusts. Jess pieces together something incredibly unbelievable, and he rallies the group (Glain, Khalila, Dario, Wolfe, Santi) to try and do the impossible. Nothing is easy; Khalila is a Scholar, as is Dario. Santi is a commanding officer. Wolfe seems unstable. And everyone, including the Archivist, has their eyes on Jess. Nowhere is safe, and no one is trustworthy. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I fell back into the story! I remembered the ending of Ink and Bone very well, but most of the details from the book escaped me. Caine makes it very easy to slip back into Jess's head (third person perspective), and I didn't feel lost. In fact, you could probably get away with reading this book without having read Ink and Bone at all - though I don't recommend going that route. Ink and Bone was intricate and complex and SO good! I swear Jess is Spiderman or something! He isn't a natural soldier (he was training to be a Scholar!), but he gets into shape and follows his duties and his training and excels (in my opinion). He's also retained his intelligence and cleverness, and all of his mastermind criminal ways (from his family business, if you recall). But more than all of these things, Jess has a big heart and a selfless soul. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
alwayskimmer More than 1 year ago
Love this series! Another great book by Rachel Caine. The only thing I don't like is waiting for the next book to come out.
TheGenreMinxBookReviews More than 1 year ago
This book will have a lasting impact with both book lovers and activists for personal freedom. The thread that is woven between both books is about the power of knowledge and its connection to personal freedom. It is a resounding call that few would dare to ignore. Reading this book you are pulled emotionally in different directions. You are entranced by the world building of the libraries and other centers of knowledge and you want, no truly desire for someone to care for those beautiful books. You understand why the Burners want the Library to end its control, because if we were in that world we would also want our freedom. There are also the smugglers, would we, as book lovers become one of those. Heck, I know that I covet my books and if I were denied them I would have to find a way to have them. So who are truly the good guys and who are the bad guys because we can relate to all the groups, it is hard to take sides. For me I felt that the book was predictable but I enjoyed the ride. The Archivist is still a bad guy, we knew that; Jess is still Jess. Glain has some character growth but she is still the girl we knew from the first book. The same goes for Khalila, Wolfe, Santi and the Brightwells. Jess’s family just sucks BUT there was a spark with Brendan that made me think that he may, in the next book, come off the “I suck! shelf.” There was character development with Dario and he made some surprising choices that made him more interesting and Morgan has not really changed but it is her situation that will grab you. I think you can guess through the synopsis who the “one of there own is” and I am so glad for this because I loved the big oaf’s character. So what is this book really about? Elements of danger, subterfuge, mysterious interactions, and more danger, no one is immune and you will feel for all the groups represented. Well except for the Archivist, let that guy suffer, no one is going to feel for him. It is a well-written book and leaves you “burning,” lol, for the third book in the series.
Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
4..5 Stars I am an unabashed Rachel Cain lover. I have enjoyed everything I have read of hers and I was beyond excited to read her latest, Paper and Fire. The first in this series, Ink and Bone was one of my favorite books of 2015 (see my review here) so the wait for this one was torturous and long. Now I love love loved the first book; it was magical and special and I never wanted to stop reading it. I also loved this book, but in a completely different way. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine is very much a transition book. Where book one was all gorgeous world building and character love, this one was very much a build up book. What I mean by that is there was action, a bit of romance and intrigue, tested loyalties and betrayal, but no real sense of completion. It did, however, perfectly lay the groundwork for book three. We re-join Jess Brightwell as he is serving in the Garda with his heart-broken after the loss of Morgan and his best friend Thomas. His conscription to serve the Great Library and through it the written word is consistently challenged by his own feelings and the fate of those around him. The plot of Paper and Fire was solid. It explained more of the world Jess and his compatriots live in, it carried through the truly vile dealing of the high ups at the Library and it set a fantastic base for the next book. Now, Rachel Caine can write, a fact I am very familiar with. She has a way of being able to say the perfect thing at the exact right moment. Through her the characters and world come to vivid life. The pacing of the story was great. There were no crazy time jumps or super slow periods. The world building was somewhat minimal, as book one accomplished most of that, but the new things revealed were incredible. The through description of the automatons alone made the world that much more complete. The emotions were not as strong in this book, I think because the main emotion was despair and while that came through well, it pushed everything else down a little through its heaviness. I still loved the characters here, but not quite as much as I did in book one. I think because they were setting up for the next section they were more focused on mission and not on the feels, but I still enjoyed them. Now I will say do not go into Paper and Fire expecting Ink and Bone. They are very different but in a good way. Rachel Caine has used this book as a platform for the next and I think she did a great job at it. I will anxiously wait for a whole year for the next, and will happily revisit the world Caine created. Original review @ I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
MightyMouseSW More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful second book in a series. The characters get more fleshed-out and we really get the chance to know them all, not just Jess. I love how they pull together and stand up to the tyranny of The Library. I highly recommend this series to all lovers of fantasy, alternate history, dystopian novels, and anyone who just plain loves an action-packed read.