Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
ARC provided by the publisher.
“And I want him – need him – to know that I am not. To know that I am strong. To know that whatever happens, whatever the official position says, I do not belong to him.”
Girls of Paper and Fire is a beautiful, diverse story about friendship, love, trauma, survivorship, oppression, and fighting for freedom. The vivid world-building, lush writing, and wonderful characters form an enchanting novel that nothing short of perfection. There is so much to love about this.
The synopsis of Girls of Paper and Fire piqued my interest from the first time I saw it: an Asian-inspired fantasy in which two of the demon king’s concubines fall in love with each other and conspire to free themselves. Natasha Ngan did an amazing job creating a fascinating world in which everyone falls under one of three castes: Paper (human), Steel (part human, part demon), or Moon (demon). The story follows our main character, Lei, as she struggles with the new role she has been forced into. I really loved Lei and I thought she was very easy to relate with, which always makes reading more enjoyable. There were a few side characters that I liked as well, and the author did a fantastic job of showing how every one deals with their situation in different ways, and that there is no wrong or right way to feel about trauma you have been through. The slow-burn f/f romance between Lei and Wren was executed perfectly. It developed quietly and naturally as the story went on, and never once detracted from the plot.
Girls of Paper and Fire was one of my most anticipated releases for the year, and I’m always delighted when I end up really enjoying a book I had been looking forward to. The entire time I was reading I was under the impression that this was a standalone, but the ending clearly suggests a sequel, which I am definitely here for. Girls of Paper and Fire was an intriguing, romantic, uplifting story sure to please many readers upon its release!