Are you guys ready to hear me go on and on about this book for the rest of time because oh man I am OBSESSED.
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.
before I get into this review I want to make sure I give a clear content warning for sexual assault in this novel.
I loved this A LOT!!
Right from the start I knew this was going to be a new favourite. Natasha Ngan’s writing drew me in right away and kept me incredibly interested the entire way through this story. Her characters were well rounded and realistic, and not even just the main characters, all the side characters were really well drawn out.
Right off the bat I want to mention the romance aspect because WHEW is it amazing. If you are into slow burn f/f romances then this is the book for you. I found myself just dying trying to wait for more scenes between them. Their scenes together are incredibly beautiful. The writing makes it seem so cinematic and gorgeous, the descriptions of the settings bring you right into the moment, Ngan’s talent really shines through in these romance scenes.
Lei is a fantastic main character. I loved her personality a lot, and her decisions weren’t impulsive and frustrating. She actually thinks about what the best course of action is, and a main character like that in a fantasy is everything to me. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when characters in fantasy novels just go around making unnecessary and dumb mistakes because they would never think about their actions. She was smart and caring, and these characteristics really show in her relationship with her family back home, it’s beautiful to see how much she cares about them. She is the perfect protagonist for this story.
This book isn’t full of action scenes, but the ones that do occur are really interesting and always kept me reading. I also really appreciated that I didn’t get lost or confused once in this book. I am the queen at getting confused in fantasy books, but Ngan did a fantastic job at keeping her writing clear and concise, without making it seem slow or dumbed down.
The fantasy elements are interesting, the action is exciting, and the characters are fantastic. All in all, this will be one of my favourite books of the year, if not of all time.
I cannot WAIT for the next books, also I am so excited to see how the covers look for the next books. I’ve said this over and over but the cover for Girls of Paper and Fire really is probably my favourite of all time. I can only imagine that these will get even better as the story develops into more novels, I truly can’t wait.
(p.s I was overly excited about reading a book with a main character named Wren hehe)
Definitely add this to your TBR, and I hope you all love it as much as I did!