Girls of Paper and Fire

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Pub Date 06 Nov 2018 | Archive Date 06 Nov 2018

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Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Selection in this stunning YA fantasy novel. Perfects for fans of Renée Ahdieh, Laini Taylor and Sabaa Tahir.

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honour they could hope for...and the most demeaning. This year, there's a ninth. And instead of paper, she's made of fire. Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back and this time it's Lei they're after - the girl with the golden eyes, whose rumored beauty has piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king's consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable - she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world's entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Selection in this stunning YA fantasy novel. Perfects for fans of Renée Ahdieh, Laini Taylor and Sabaa Tahir.

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls...

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EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781473692190
PRICE A$19.99 (AUD)

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Average rating from 51 members

Featured Reviews

Oh wow, is this book close to my heart.

First off, I know there’s a trigger warning but to strongly reiterate: there are scenes of sexual assault and rape in this book. Please don’t read this novel if that is especially triggering to you.

Girls of Paper and Fire is a fantasy novel based in a world where there are three castes; Paper, Steel, and Moon. Our POV character Lei is a human girl who struggles against the oppression shown against the Paper (human) class but works in her father’s herb shop, both still reeling from Lei’s mother being taken from them seven years ago. But Lei isn’t meant for an easy life, and her golden eyes catch the attention of a general trying to win back the favor of the King, causing her to be dragged away from her father and taken to the palace as a nominated Paper Girl (essentially concubines for the King).

It would be hard not to connect to Lei as a narrator, or even just as a character- she’s funny, clumsy, and has a sharp tongue. The horrifying environment that she is forced in to makes it impossible not sympathize with her, and she still manages to be kind even to those who are less than pleasant to her.

While I loved the entire book, the last hundred pages were, for me, the most gripping. The inevitability of Lei’s circumstance and the tension of events occurring within the palace make this part of the novel the emotional and dark fantasy that it truly is.

Also, I was probably the only one in the world who didn’t realize this was a f/f fantasy novel, and my delight at the events that unfolded… I can’t even begin to describe my happiness. Our love interest, Wren, has her own problems to deal with and a vault of secrets inside her head. She’s mysterious and alluring and beautifully written. The romance is so delightfully angsty and is such a slowburn that I was squealing at even the slightest interactions between the two.

And now here I am, waiting for book 2 and book 1 hasn’t even been officially released yet. I hope it’s as captivating and horrifying as this one was. Thank you, Natasha Ngan, for this beautifully diverse and complicated novel.

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I received this book as an ARC through netgalley - thankyou to the publisher for allowing me to read this book early!
Girls of Paper and Fire has a great premise, and I loved that it is an Asian inspired fantasy - something we don’t see enough of! Something else we don’t see enough of is F/F romance, and this book has a great one! I really enjoyed the originality of the world, with the Paper, Steel and Moon castes. The writing flowed beautifully and made this a hard book to put down!
Reasons I docked a star: at times I felt the pacing was a bit off, and I also felt like the plot meandered in places with no clear direction. Also some things were touched on but not described particularly well, I would have liked to know more about ‘The Sickness’ for example. Overall though this was an entertaining and original read and I look forward to the next book in the series!
3.75 / 5

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