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Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Hey all, Dani here.

I have another Diverse December review for you…yet again a diverse read that I technically did not read this month. I devoured this book in November and it was so darn good. It definitely is one that I will recommend, though, I will state here that the book does come with a content warning for sexual assault. So if that is something that could trigger you, then maybe pass this one, or find out the exact chapter and/or pages where the sexual assault occurs so you can skip over it.

Oh, and I promise that I actually am reading some diverse book pics this month as well, and those reviews will be coming. I’m just also trying to catch up on some of my backlog and it was a bit easier to schedule these posts in advance rather than hope that I have a good reading month and finish books in time for a proper post to be written up. So I’ll have more Diverse December reviews coming in January.

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Summary

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.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

From the moment this book arrived in my OwlCrate, I knew I was going to set aside all of my other reads and dive into this book. The concept just sounded rather intriguing, and I had heard so many other people talking about it.

And I’ll just go ahead and get the content warning part out of the way. The sexual abuse and assault scenes do stick with you. They feel terrifying and awful, and I felt raw after reading them. But in my opinion, I think they aren’t gratuitous in any way, and I feel like it wasn’t unnecessary. They served a point in terms of plot and character development. But, I can see how they can absolutely affect someone who would be triggered by such things. So make sure if these are trigger-worthy scenarios for you, skip them, or wait until you are in a mentally and emotionally stable position to delve into this book.

I did like learning about all of the Paper Girls. They are all so varied and diverse and complex. It was a joy to get to know all of them, and to learn from their lives and experiences.

Learning about the world and the plans to overthrow the king, and seeing as relationships developed (both friendship and romantic), was just such an experience. I didn’t want to stop reading. I flew through this book, squeezing in every spare minute I could for reading it.

And man oh man, with the way it ended, I can say that the sequel is definitely high on my TBR for 2019. I can’t wait to see what happens from the fallout of the actions from the end of this book. This is definitely a book I recommend, but I also understand that with certain content it won’t be for everyone.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

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