When Girls Of Paper And Fire came to my attention, I was not sure whether I wanted to read it or not. First and foremost, I saw mixed reviews and second, it took place in a palace. Again. I was not sure if I could handle another book in that kind of setting. Therefore, I pulled off reading this one until I purchased it back in February. I finally came around to read this and this book was so different from what I first expected this to be.
Trigger warnings: sexual assault, violence, rape, physical and mental abuse, homophobia. Representation: Asian, lesbian.Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls Of Paper And Fire #1
Published by Jimmy Patterson Books on November 6, 2018
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.
Honestly, I had quite low expectations for Girls Of Paper And Fire. Another book about girls who needed to serve royalty, a king in this case. That was what I was thinking and therefore I was a little afraid that this book would feel like something like The Selection series. Well, how wrong was I? Completely wrong. This book is so much darker than previously mentioned book and it’s so much better. Yes, it takes place in a palace and yes, girls have to serve the king, but in such a twisted way. Obviously, this book took me by surprise.
Girls Of Paper And Fire sucks you into the plot completely, right from the start. It does only take the book two or three chapters to get to the main event: Lei being taken to the palace. Usually it takes much longer for a book to get to the first importatnt part of the story. Therefore, it was easy to get into the story fast and I noticed that I was able to read this book pretty fast.
Lei is not your usual hero. She at first didn’t even want to take part in the big event, but later she had no choice. However, she started a revolution somehow. Meanwhile, she developed feelings for someone which caused her to needing to be extra careful. Lei is a strong character and therefore is an interesting main character.
The side characters are also interesting, especially Blue, Aoki and Wren. Aoki is really young, which works pretty well in the story. Wren plays an important role, but so does Blue. I hope we will get to know more about Blue’s role in the upcoming books. And…… I really don’t like the king and his ‘hunger’ for young girls to ‘play’ with. It’s wrong, so wrong. Rape, sexual assault, physical and mental abuse: the king does it all.
What could I say more about Girls Of Paper And Fire except for this being really good, better than I’d expected and I want the next book? Nothing, just 5 stars.