Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published November 6th, 2018
Genres: YA, Fantasy, LGBT
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
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.
TW: violence and sexual abuse.
This was such an exciting read! The synopses sounded awesome but this was for sure much more than I was expecting it to be. I absolutely loved this and how unique and powerful it was!
This book is an Asian inspired fantasy world where every year 8 girls get picked as concubines to a demon king. Those girls belong to the lowest cast of three – the Paper Cast. Some are willing but many aren’t, but in this world, they don’t have a chance, for the highest cast can do anything with/to them.
The Paper Cast is where normal humans belong and from where our main character Lei is. The Steel Cast is the middle cast, represented by half human-half demon people. They are mainly human but they do have some animal features/attributes. And lastly, we have the Moon Cast, the highest of them and represented by Demons. They have mainly animal characteristics and attributes.
This is an unforgiving world, full of sadness, fear, power and a lot of injustice. But it’s also quite a luxury world for those of the Moon Cast. They have everything they desire, be it a person or a thing. Our paper girls live a world of luxury and fear, they are obliged to give themselves to the Demon King in any way he desires, and what they do can beneficiate them or… not. For there are astonishing punishments to those who defy the King.
I really felt for Lei. She already suffered so much, and to see her now have to be a concubine for the king, hurts. She was chosen for her eyes as an extra girl, which is the first time that ever happened, and she couldn’t be more against being there. She is quite a strong character like there isn’t many. She refuses to accept being there but she is afraid of what might happen if she tries to run. Until she makes a new friend who gives her more reasons to be there than she ever could hope for.
This book has some rape / almost-rape scenes which can be triggering. It touches also topics like slavery, torture, violence, abuse, animal abuse, abduction, and a lot more. It’s quite a hard book to read at times, but it’s also a book that shows the good side of things. Our MC battles for herself, and her loved ones. She survives and heals and with help, she makes her life better. It’s a dark book for sure, but it can also be uplifting. Just make sure you’re prepared for it…
But not everything here is bad or sad, there are also beautiful moments in it, of friendship and love. And this book has some of the best f/f romance EVER! I loved how beautiful, strong and emotional it was. The characters are already amazing, but together, they are just perfect. You could totally feel their love building and evolving. It was so impactful and touchy! Love can be everything in bad times, and love can heal.
As for the writing, it was beautiful. It’s extremely vivid, unique and engaging. I loved all the details that went into it, from food to clothes, to physical traits, to everything! It completely hooked me and I can’t wait for the next book, because that end… >.< I mean, I was kind of expecting it, to be honest, but it still hit me hard. This is a beautiful dark book, full of meaningful messages, amazing characters and an unforgettable world – and I highly recommend it!
Have you read this yet? What do you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!