Book Reviews

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2) by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Storm and ShadowTitle: Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Rating: ★★★

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

Ever read every trilogy and the second book is the fluffer for the dynamic ending? Well, this won’t disappoint that generalization. I absolutely loved Girls of Paper and Fire, but Ngan left me high and dry on this sequel. I wanted more action, more deception, and what I got was everyone falling in love. Just didn’t seem believable to me.

Nothing is worth losing yourself.

As I said in my Girls of Paper and Fire review, Girls of Storm and Shadow brings to life the same problems still present in today’s culture: We have the Paper Caste (fully human), the Steel Caste (part human, part demon), and the Moon Caste (fully demon). We see the oppression imposed on by the upper castes and the prejudice present. That hasn’t changed. But what we are now seeing is a possibly revolution taking place. But just like with The Hunger Games, sometimes the revolution has some of the same issues that the threat they’re trying to abolish has.

You’re not the same. I see you, the way you fight. The way you are towards others. You’re soft where they are hard. You have love when they only have hate. Hold on to that as tightly as you can, Lei. Because war will do everything it can to take that good from you. I think sometimes people forget there will be a time after all of this — for the lucky ones, at least. And when that time comes, we’ll all have to live with what we have done. And what we have left of ourselves.

There was so much buildup to the climax, but we never got to see any of that, so it was a little frustrating. Lei just got way too soft for me. She used to be this strong woman that I could admire, but she so easily forgives and is losing herself by being blinded by love. Everything just seems so one-sided. Either she is neglecting the demons she is leading by choosing Wren, or she neglects them by welcoming betrayers so easily back. She isn’t reliable and completely did a 180 on me. Maybe it is because most of the characters seem selfish or whatever, but this wasn’t the most enjoyable read and I found myself somewhat sympathetic to the Demon King. I wanted to hear more from him.

I’ve found you.

I’m hoping to get more action in the next novel, maybe some more deception, and maybe a not-so-happy ending.

Girls of Storm and Shadow is a story of love conquering all, overcoming oppression, and keeping true to oneself.

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