Book Reviews

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1) by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and FireTitle: Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

This is probably the best book I have read in 2019! I am beyond excited for the sequel coming out in November and especially since I will be getting a FairyLoot special edition to match the one currently sitting all pretty up on my bookshelf.

Girls of Paper and Fire brings to life 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.

I like to think there’s some good behind even the darkest sins. That death can be warranted if it paves the way for hope.

In a world where caste determines all, oppression rules all. Lei’s mother was captured by royal guards and hasn’t been heard from in over a decade. Now, ten years later, Lei is about to receive the same outcome. Being of the lowest caste: Paper, Lei’s unique golden eyes make her an object of interest to the Demon King.

Lei is such a relatable character. Her struggles and her reactions show how imperfect she is. She isn’t the most beautiful character in all of the land, she doesn’t always make the right choices, and she isn’t always confident in her decisions. She is perfectly human. Even the other girls have struggles of their own and they all react differently.

They can take and steal and break all they want, but there is one thing they have no control over. Out emotions. Our feelings. Our thoughts. None of them will ever be able to control the way we feel. Our minds and hearts are our own. That is our power”

After weeks of being treated like a slave, Lei and eight other women learn the secrets of piquing the King’s interest and becoming one of his consorts. Only being privy to the King and doing what suits his needs, Lei finds herself in a compromising situation: in love.

What I love most about this novel is the romance between Lei and Wren. For once, we find ourselves with a natural, slow-moving romance unlike most Young Adult Fiction these days.

But I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.

Girls of Paper and Fire is a arresting, diverse story of overcoming oppression, the beauty of love, and the strength of women.