Book Review

Girls of Paper and Fire Review

I’m reading a whole slew of books currently if you haven’t seen my GR…good, you’ll be less panicked for me that way lol. Anyway, I’m focusing on ‘This Mortal Coil’ now that I’ve finished this book which destroyed me, so yay for the next book to destroy me haha.

Let’s get on with the celebrations of my ravings of ‘Girls of Paper and Fire’

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1)


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.

Presented by James Patterson, Natasha Ngan’s lyrical, searing, visceral fantasy, Girls of Paper and Fire, will remind us how precious freedom is–and the price we must pay to achieve it.

Content Warning: Violence, Sexual Assault, Rape, Attempted Rape. There is Slavery as well. [Natasha does include a trigger warning on/in the book itself.]

My Review

So I finally did it, I finally read my copy of ‘Girls of Paper and Fire’ and omg I am so glad I did. This book was AMAZING. Hands down, a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Lei’s family life in the beginning had me just genuinely smiling, I loved her relationship with her Father and Tien and even Bao. [That’s all I’ll say about that. Ngan. You know what you did.] It was important that Ngan really set this up as it made you truly feel for Lei once she was no longer able to be with her family, to be in the home she loved so much.

It was so easy to see where Lei was coming from but she was still a very believable teenager/young adult, she was a person filled with growth from page one to the end and we such changes in her. Some are mandatory due to her situation but others I think are just unfurling what was always inside her.

The focus of the book is Lei, it’s not her role as a paper girl though that does play a large part, it’s about her life and the changes and the complete lack of control she feels [and her desire to gain control again]. Not only that but she comes to more than just personal growth when she gets to know herself, she finds out about her desires as well, not just in life but within her heart.

The love story in this was perfection for me, it felt slow burning but not too slowly paced, and you could feel yourself come to the realization before Lei on her feelings developing and it’s rather sweet -and beautiful- to read.

The world was also just straight up spectacular, the three different castes, the different traditions and foods and clothes, it’s all so intricately done. She sweeps more than just a broad-stroke brush across the cultures she’s taken inspiration from, she gives the nuances to each one in a manner they so richly deserve.

With Ngan’s job on the demon king, she did too good a job lol, he was utterly terrifying. The monstrous parts of him, the madness, fear, and desperation those were what made him real and again, terrifying. It’s a great sign when a ‘villain’/tyrant is so believable.

Watching the other Paper girls in their duties and the difficulties they face was also intriguing and I’m hoping to just jump right into ‘Storms and Shadow’ after my current read and find out what’s happened in this world since the ending and the separation between them and Lei. Whether that’s physical or like they’ve drifted emotionally, I’m not saying, because, well, spoilers.

The ending was the sort of climatic chaos I love and the fact that we saw something that Lei and Wren won’t realize yet, oooh man, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Overall an amazing blend of diversity and rep and this book not only earns five cups of coffee from me, but it’s also earned a space on my faves shelf.

[I won this book off Twitter but it wasn’t necessary to write a review, I’ve written an honest review of my own volition!]

By TheCaffeinatedReader

A Caffeinated Reader and Musician, destined to write lacklustre book reviews with the over-ample amount of free time.

3 replies on “Girls of Paper and Fire Review”

Ooooo yes, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Haley! I also loved her relationship with her father and Tien (especially Tien because #FriendshipGoals). Bao was such a cutie.

I LOVED the slow burn romance in here – it was kind of sudden but it was that good sudden where it just sneaks up on the character when it’s really been developing for awhile.


I have seen a lot about this series, especially as book 2 has recently come out and I was trying to decide if it was for me or not. I am so happy to see you head over heels loved this one! The world building sounds absolutely fantastic, and I have to admit I am intrigued by the f/f romance because we don’t have enough of those.

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