Hard habit to break, friendship.” // Review of “Paper and Fire” by Rachel Caine

Title: Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: YA/dystopian
Date Read: 25/08/2016 – 08/09/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

paperandfirecoverThis is going to be a hard book to review, because I can’t tell you exactly why I didn’t like it, just that I didn’t much. I’ve been having a terrible time with series this year. They keep impressing me at the outset and then ultimately disappointing me. Unfortunately, this was another one to add to the list.

Jess Brightwell is continuing to juggle his family’s smuggling business with the intense training of the High Garda soldiers at the Great Library in Alexandria. When he and his group of friends learn that their friend Thomas may not be dead, but alive and in prison in Rome, they make it their first order of business to rescue him, regardless of the consequences.

I can’t exactly put my finger on why this book disappointed me. Perhaps it’s because I’m in a book slump at the moment. Perhaps it’s because I had read some reviews in the same vein as this one and I let them influence me a bit too much, so I was looking for the flaws as I read. I know I definitely didn’t really care what happened to the characters, and that I never cared about the peril they were in. The aftermath from events in the first book, such as the war in Oxford, didn’t seem to have had much more than a superficial effect on anyone, and life seemed to be going on as it always had for them. Jess and Morgan’s romance didn’t work at all. It’s all tell and no show. It just feels shoehorned in.

I saw another review somewhere that said that the use of the “Ephemera” excerpts before each chapter ruins any suspense and to an extent I agree. If you already know that someone is going to secretly work for the main characters, even if it will cost them their career, because you’ve read an excerpt from their secret journal, there’s very little tension when the characters run into this person. The Ephemera thing worked a lot better in the first book, but it seemed to be used a bit too much and to less effect in this one.

I’ve got a year to decide whether I’ll finish the series or not. Maybe I’ll feel differently when the final book comes out, but this one turned into such a chore to finish, I’m not even sure I want to bother.


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