Rachel Caine’s Great Library series reminds me of Fullmetal Alchemist, and that’s a great thing

The Great Library is great

Paper and Fire, by Rachel Caine

I just finished reading through an advance copy of Paper and Fire, book two in Rachel Caine’s Great Library series, and I can’t stop thinking how much I enjoyed it. A lot of the time I’ll rush through a book extremely fast to get the core of it and move on, but this one I savored, just like I savored Ink and Bone (the first book in the series). But I couldn’t figure out why the series kept hitting all the right notes for me. What is it about the Great Library I love so much?

Then I started rewatching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood with my family and it hit me. The Great Library has pulled me so deep because it reminds me of FMA, which sill stands as one of my favorite stories of all time and one of the richest worlds I’ve spent time in.

Paper and Fire and Alchemy

Awesome to finally get to introduce my family to this fun world.

Awesome to finally get to introduce my family to this fun world.

On first glance Rachel Caine’s series might not look all that much like the world of Edward Elric and his armor-bound brother Alphonse. Paper and Fire doesn’t have a bunch of magical-science-wielding kids hurling spears they made from the ground with mechanical arms. There’s magic of a sort, sure–teleportation chambers and blank books that mirror text and alchemical formulae that make automatons come to life–but it’s nowhere near as prevalent in The Great Library as it is in Fullmetal Alchemist. You don’t need magic action to craft a deep story about young adults discovering the corruption in the world and fighting back from within, though. And that’s exactly what both Fullmetal Alchemist and The Great Library do, to amazing effect.

Rachel Caine’s series puts our book-smuggling hero Jess back on the front lines of government plots and battles that can have no real victor once again. He sees the futility of war, realizes how power has corrupted his world, and wants to change things from within. And, while the government tolerates and manipulates and uses him and his friends as chess pieces in its deadly games, he does everything to take care of his people. All this should sound familiar to fans of Fullmetal Alchemist, and I can guarantee you that Rachel Caine is doing just as good a job with her story as Fullmetal did with its.

"We're all just paper on a shelf, in the end." - Rachel Caine, Paper and Fire

“We’re all just paper on a shelf, in the end.” – Rachel Caine, Paper and Fire

To top it off, the Great Library’s magic is founded in alchemy, too. Those of you who know me know I’ve got a huge affinity for that whole mythos–alchemy even plays a huge role in my upcoming YA debut, The Outs, though it’s a very different take on the concept from start to finish. I don’t know whether Ms. Caine has traipsed down those same research paths, but I totally loved her work as much as I love my own, and that’s saying something!

In short, if you are or ever were a fan of Fullmetal, you owe it to yourself to dive into Rachel Caine’s world, too. You won’t regret it.

Paper and Fire Giveaway!

And to that end, I’ve got a few advance copies of Paper and Fire to give away to subscribers, as well! Follow the link to enter to get your own early copy.

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