Author: Natasha Ngan
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
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 demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire. In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. 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 learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she 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.
This one is hard for me to put in to words, it’s been over a month since I read it so that’s probably a factor but also even when it was fresh in my mind I didn’t know how to rate this book let alone review it. I went in with incredibly high hopes, especially because everyone hyped it up so much. But honestly, it wasn’t my favorite.
In the beginning I really thought this was going to be an original story, maybe a traveling fantasy with a deep concept and a good point to make. But, for me it didn’t hit any of those points. The traveling fantasy I could care less about, but the other factors seem kind of important. There was no purpose to this story? Girls of Paper and Fire is basically about concubines and the horrors they go through to please the King. This is fine, I was prepared for it, but I do want to point out some triggers for this book: sexual content and sexual assault. I know there was some drama with this book because in the beginning there was no warning for it and that is not fair to you or anyone else that reads it. You should absolutely be allowed to know what is coming.
With all that being said it still felt like there was no purpose to this story. I never felt tension or anticipation for something to come, there was essentially no action and in my opinion I never felt any connection to the characters. All of this adds up to a lot of confusion. I couldn’t even imagine the world because it didn’t seem like it was expanded on? All we ever really saw was the castle, but the ending shows promise for more world building in the sequel. I am still interested in reading the sequel because of this. GoPaF was not a bad book by any means, it just wasn’t what I wanted from it. It was still good, and I plan on listening to the sequel’s audiobook soon!
This was a short review but I don’t really know what else to say on this matter. This is one of those books that’s hard to review because I didn’t dislike it but I also didn’t particularly like it. It wasn’t that memorable and the characters didn’t stand out to me. I’m really hoping the sequel is better!