This review is spoiler-free!
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: November 6th 2018 by Jimmy Patterson Books
Format: Hardcover, 385 pages
Find it here: Goodreads
I. Love. This. World.
I love this world. I love it!
I also love the characters, but it was the world we’re given in this first book (of a trilogy — YES!) that really enraptured me into the story itself. The fact it’s also LGBTQ+ didn’t hurt anything, but, for once, it’s not the thing that got me in the end. The class system, the clothes, the demon creatures that are basically humans but a completely different class, which makes them less human-like in appearance? I LOVE it. It was so interesting!
On that note, though, like many others, I do have to give a content warning. Lei, our main character, is recruited as a “Paper Girl” (paper is a class of human-looking humans, also the lowest of the three), which is essentially a group of girls intended to be concubines to the king (and anyone of a high enough rank thereafter, from what I understood), and that comes with abuse. Power abuse, sexual abuse, etc., along with other things such as slavery and more. It all exists, and I do recommend you read through a full list of warnings before diving into this if you’re at all sensitive to that kind of content.
However, the story does use this kind of content for a reason. Ngan is a wonderful writer, and it’s clear the kind of triggering content is used in the story to show what that kind of stuff can not only do to a person, but how it warps a society and the people forced to live in it. I can only imagine how this could be expanded upon in the sequels, and I’m really looking forward to more of Ngan’s work.
I think the only thing I was iffy on was the last bit before the epilogue. I expected a bit more boom after the chaos that had just happened, but it fell a little flat on my end. The whole thing surrounding the necklace seemed like it was going to have more of an impact, but it kind of just… didn’t. (Though, thinking back on it now, maybe it will in the next books? Hm.)
Definitely a fantastic book with a lot of potential to become one of my favorite series, and I can’t wait to get into the next one.
Thanks for reading!