Thursday, July 20, 2017

Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2)
With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, and in the name of the greater good, forbidding the personal ownership of books. 
Jess Brighwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, bu 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, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows.
After 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 from 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...

Review

Ink and Bone was AH-MAY-ZING! So, I couldn't wait to read this book. I downloaded it immediately after finishing Ink and Bone and started reading, even though it was getting late and I knew I would probably stay up way too late reading (which I did). 

I love the characters in this book! The author did an excellent job with character development. The deeper you get into the story, the more you learn about them, but the author also does a great job of keeping some things a mystery so that you just want to keep learning more about them. Even some of the characters that I hated in the first book continue to develop in this book and make you like them more and more. Even those that I still didn't like at the end of this book, I definitely understood them better. 

You have to admire the teenagers int his book! They are all super brave a courageous when something happens to the people they care about, they will go to the ends of the earth to help save them, even if it is reckless and dangerous. 

I wondered if the author was inspired by the growing popularity of digital books today and the fact that more and more people are seeing physical books as almost obsolete. The way everyone in the book can get "blanks" to read, which are basically magical digital books, that instead of loading from the internet, an Obscurist sends the book they want to their blank. The Library holds all the originals, and chooses which content the people can access. However, Jess craves the sensations of reading real, physical, leather-bound, handwritten "originals."I have heard many avid readers explain the similar feelings about reading digital books today and just wanting to feel the book in their hands, smell the paper and be able to dog-ear pages (NOT ME! I consider this sacrilege, but some people do it! I have a slight obsession with keeping my books in pristine condition.). The way that Jess talked about and longs for "originals" is very reminiscent of this, on a whole other level though, since it is actually illegal to own them. 
Jess missed handling originals. He'd grown so addicted to the feel of those books - the individual differences in the bindings, the leather or fabric covers, the weight of papers, the smell. They were very different experiences than these Blanks, which felt so... sterile, somehow. Words that could be readily discarded and replaced didn't have the same moral heft to them, to him, but he recognized he was a rebel and an outcast, even among those who love the Library. 
I found an interview with the author explains some of her inspiration from the book. While in the book, people must request for their blanks to be filled with content that they select from a directory of books approved by the Library, the author explains that although so many books are available digitally today, but there are still so many that are not and only physical copies exist. Also, if you purchase a digital copy of a book, you cannot resell it, and the rights-holder can remove your access if they want. Click here to read that interview. In it she says:
So, I wanted to talk about how in a world where ebooks (i.e., Blanks and their contents) are controlled by the Library, physical books are an act of real rebellion and sedition. The Library doesn't own it, and can't control it. And for them, that's dangerous.
OMG! This book was even better than I anticipated! There were so many surprises that I never could have guessed would happen. 

I was so excited to see what followed the first book, and while I thought a few things in this book might happen, I had not idea that most of this book would happen. It addresses much more than the questions I had after finishing the first book but left me with quite a few more. 

This book is super action-packed! Something big that is essential to the story is constantly happening. 

In short, this book was just as good, if not better than the first! Forgive me for not writing more, I just downloaded the third book in the series, Ash and Quill, and absolutely cannot wait another minute to start reading it! I'll post my review soon!