Book Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Book Author: Natasha Ngan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publishing Date: November 6th, 2018
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Synopsis: Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king.
It’s the highest honour they could hope for…
And the most demeaning.
This year, there’s a ninth girl.
And instead of paper,
She’s made of fire.
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl whose golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
Please be aware that this contains scenes of violence and sexual assault.
Girls of Paper and Fire started off with a bang. I was immediately thrown in to the world, and story, of Lei. There was emotion and strength, but also vulnerability. It was deep, dark, and intense.
I had tried to avoid most reviews and spoilers for this one, so I had very little knowledge going in to it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and really appreciated how the author handled the sensitive nature of the story. Lei’s story, and the story of all the Paper Girls, was dark and tragic, but through it, we saw her find courage and hope.
Lei spoke to me on so many levels. She was kind at heart, loved her family, and always managed to keep her inner strength, and fight, despite being torn down and torn apart. She never gave up, never gave in, and always tried to stand up for her beliefs. She was fierce and beautiful.
The story itself was very dark and intense. Though it was fiction, it reminded me that things of this nature have happened in the past in different countries, and situations such as human trafficking, rape, homophobia, racism, and prejudice are still happening now. So, the story was quite powerful in bringing these issues to light while still keeping the entertaining aspect that fantasy has to offer.
I do wish the pacing had stayed even throughout though. The story started off quite intensely, and everything happened so fast, and then things died down to a simmer until about the last 150 pages or so. The ending pace and excitement did pick back up to match the beginning, so that helped save the middle a bit for me.
Overall I really enjoyed the book. I loved the power behind it. I loved the lgbt+ representation. I loved the diverse characters, and emotion in the story, and I loved the writing. That ending really left me needing book two too! 4.5 stars!
Thank you to Wunderkind PR for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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