Wednesday, November 07, 2018

"Girls of Paper and Fire" by Natasha Ngan


SERIES: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
GENRE: Fantasy
SOURCE: NetGalley

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 learns the skills and charm that befit a king's consort. There, Lei does the unthinkableshe 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.


First book in a Trilogy, "Girls of Paper and Fire" instantly grabbed my attention and then, when the book was in my hands, I quickly found out it surpassed my expectations... Hands up who loves when that happens?

Inspired by Ngan's experiences growing up in Malaysia, and her longing to create a story that would let readers lose themselves into a magical world actually reflecting some of their realities, this is a fascinating fantasy about friendship, love, and acceptance. But it is also full of cruelty and injustice, which makes the whole story brutally intriguing and it really lights up the desire in you to fight for/with the Paper Girls. They are trained to be the concubines of the Demon King, whether they signed-up for it or not, they must please the King. But what happens when two of the girls fall for each other? Is their forbidden love going to lead them to destruction even if they find some sort of salvation in it? The world-building is executed with precision, and the writing flows so well with such beautiful descriptions that it seems like you are seeing everything with your own eyes, not just your mind. To me, that is real magic.

Original, strong, and darkly enchanting, this Asian-inspired fantasy book is the beginning of a gripping journey I'm eager to continue. If you haven't already, I'd recommend you to start it now!

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