I have a wonderful book to share with you today, and on it’s publication day no less. Girls of Paper and Fire is out today – 6th November 2018 and it is absolutely incredible and I have been recommending it to, well… everyone!
I was lucky enough to get a copy of Girls of Paper and Fire a little early in my October Fairyloot box. I started reading it straight away as it is one of my most anticipated reads of year. It was everything I had hoped and more!
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Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
Synopsis: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.
Categories: Fantasy, YA, F/F relationship, LGBT, Own Voices Asian Inspired Fantasy
Publication Date: 6/11/2018
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Rating: 5 stars
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Content Warnings: Violence and Sexual Abuse – there is both and content warning and an author’s note at the start of the book, which discusses how these themes appear in the book. This is only the second time I have come across a content warning with this level of detail and it was wonderful to see it! The scenes themselves are not graphic but sexual abuse is an ongoing theme in the book, and is discussed at length.
Review: Where to start with this review… I have been so excited about reading Girls of Paper and Fire ever since I heard about it back in March. So as you can imagine I was over the moon when I realised that it would be the book that was included in my October Fairyloot Box! I started reading it as soon as my box arrived and could not put it down!
The world building in Girls of Paper and Fire is incredible, I was really intrigued by the idea of Paper, Steel and Moon Castes and their hierarchy. Within a few pages the world of Ikhara have come alive in rich and vivid detail, magical and yet brutal too. I fell in love with both the writing style and the protagonist Lei within the first few pages.
Lei is a wonderful protagonist, she is likeable, brave and honest and her character development over the course of the book is intense and a true metamorphosis. I loved the way her relationships with the other Paper Girls grew and her friendship with Aoki was wonderfully sweet. I love that even despite their differences and arguments they realise that they are truly there for each other.
Lei’s romantic relationship is a wonderful slow burn and I love that the author creates a wonderful f/f relationship, which flowers among the brutality of life as a Paper Girl, of life where being the victim of sexual abuse is the norm as a consort to the Demon King.
Sexual abuse is something which is discussed at length in the book, both fear of it and the fallout from it. I think that this difficult topic is handled extremely well in Girls of Paper and Fire. There are a few on page sexual assaults, but these are not graphic and the focus is very much on how the girls help each other to deal with being sexual assaulted.
On the very last page… don’t worry no spoilers here… I realised that Girls of Paper and Fire is going to be the first in a series of books. It is to be book one of a trilogy. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me, I cannot wait to see where the story goes next and what else Lei will achieve.
If I could, I would, honestly, give Girls of Paper and Fire 6 stars. I have read 103 books so far this year and Girls of Paper and Fire is in my top three! I would definitely recommend it, it’s an incredible well written, sensitive book. It’s a book past-me needed to read, and a book now-me is extremely thankful for.
Girls of Paper and Fire is available from a range bookshops including Amazon*.