Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
Series Name: Girls of Paper and Fire
Genre: YA Diverse Fantasy
Publication Date: November 6th, 2018
Pages: 367 (Paperback)
Publishers: Hodder & Stoughton (Hachette Australia)
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.
But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.
In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have 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. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Detailed Violence & Murder of a pet
Another thing I want to note before getting into the review. ALOT of people are saying this is Natasha Ngan’s debut book. However it is not! She released a book called The Elites in 2013 & one called The Memory Keepers in 2014. So nope, not a debut.
The amount of detail in Natasha Ngan’s writing made the world extremely vivid! I could picture every little thing that was described. She also has a very flowy writing style which makes it easy to read and follow. You easily get lost in this world which was exactly what I needed as I was fighting a hell of a reading slump!
While I don’t usually like romance, I honestly didn’t completely hate the romance in this book. To some degree it did feel insta lovey but that had more to do with how the booked skipped weeks & months at a time than the fact that it actually was insta love. Besides that aspect I didn’t mind the romance. It felt natural and that is what made it feel normal and real compared to most YA romances.
While I didn’t hate it, the plot was a little slow for me at times. Every piece had a purpose but sometimes I was like ‘hurry up! I want some action’. This is also not a very action packed book, which accounted for why it felt slower. There is a stronger focus on the world & the characters than the plot.
This book ends on a massive cliff hanger with that epilogue! At the end you a left with a few questions that are obviously going to be answered in book 2 but then you read that epilogue and shit hits the fan!
I really enjoyed Lei as a main character. She wasn’t the typical badass female that you see in a lot of Fantasy novels. She grew & learned throughout the book and developed into an strong character.
The King was exactly what you would think he is, an arsehole. While I hated him as a person and would rather see him be thrown in a volcano, he was an enjoyable villain. He was very well developed and you could not help hate him completely but also appreciate his role as the villain.
I don’t want to talk about any of the other characters as there are a lot of mystery around most of them and you need to experience them yourself!
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It did not get 5 stars because of the slow pacing & also I’m still mad about that cliffhanger honestly! How dare you! There isn’t even a release date for book 2 & you are going to make me wait?!?!
I was provided with an eARC & ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I requested the physical book, didn’t think I was going to get it so requested it on NetGalley. I then received the physical book a couple days after release. So I had both! Thank you very much to Hachette Australia for this opportunity.
You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.
Angus & Robertson