Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan


Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Published by Jimmy Patterson Books on November 6th 2018
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBTQ+
Page Count: 400

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.

Trigger Warnings:
Rape, abuse, animal cruelty.

I Enjoyed:

  • I really love the fact that this book is Own Voices. I think it's really important for writers to be able to write books about characters that are like themselves. I'm sure a lot of people were extremely happy to be represented in this book.
  • I'm surprised with how dark this book actually is. I know there are a bunch of trigger warnings for this book and the finished copy actually has the trigger warnings inside the book. I knew it was going to be dark, but damn. Did they have to do that Bao??
  • This book has the most interesting story. I don't think I've read a book like this before. A bunch of Paper Girls who have to sleep with The Demon King. They're basically concubines. Unfortunately, not all of them want to do this.
  • I love how there are so many creatures in this book! Different types of humans and demons. It's amazing. I love the concept that there's a group of people that wants everyone to live equally.
  • I love Lei's growth throughout this book. She goes to being a scared girl to a girl who wants to do what she can to save her family. To a girl who wants to make a change. A girl who isn't going to let someone touch her just because of his political status.
  • I love Wren. To be honest, I would have loved for this book to be all about her. I really hope we get more of her background in the next book.
  • The LGBTQ+ representation in this book was fantastic. I love that Lei has someone she can be herself around. I love that she finds love in a place where it's very unlikely for a Paper Girl.

I Didn't Enjoy:

  • I'm obviously not a fan of that cliffhanger at the end! Luckily, I don't have too long to wait for the next book.
  • This book had a bit of a slow start for me. I had a hard time getting into this story. I just didn't really like Lei at first. Until she became a badass.
  • I feel like the Xia should have been expanded. I feel like they were brought up to just be brought up. I want more of the story of Xia people.

Overall Thoughts

I feel like this book didn't 100% live up to the hype. I had a hard time getting into it at first. Once I did, I loved the story. I love the characters. I love the world this is set in. It's so creative. I am so excited to see what happens in the next book. I can't wait!

4/5 Stars


  1. I definitely want to read this book. I think I'll wait for the sequel first.

  2. I wish I would have waiting at least until November so I wouldn't have to wait too long.

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