Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan
Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult/LGBT
Enter a world of Asian beauty and human darkness. A world where hope is dying under the oppressive rule of the Bull King. Find within these pages, a special girl with golden eyes, who despite her human frailness will rise up against the tyrant that has claimed her body for his own. But he can never take away the one thing he wants most, her soul.
Everywhere I look people are talking about this story and I had to know why. I was excited this past week to delve in and learn the secrets behind the life of a Paper Girl.
Now I hate series, I really do. I am a huge fan of standalone books that don’t make you wait five years to complete the story-line. But alas, Girls of Paper and Fire is a series, so I sucked it up.
What an amazing world! Ngan created a world in which humans are the enslaved/marginalized race to the Moon Caste people, which are essentially humanoid animals. I loved the concept, the characters, the romance and the commentary on the slave/sex trade that parallels our own world.
My only criticism is that the trauma caused by rape was reduced more than I think is realistic. But it is a Young Adult book, so the darkness can’t be too strong.
I recommend this story to all fantasy readers, whether you like Young Adult or not, it deals with mature themes that I believe will connect with many readers.
You can find the story on Amazon in multiple formats.
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 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.
Please note: The story contains scenes of violence and sexual abuse.