Uncover a riveting story of palace intrigue set in a sumptuous Asian-inspired fantasy world in the breakout YA novel that Publisher's Weekly calls "elegant and adrenaline-soaked."
*A New York Times Bestseller**#1 on the Indie Next Kid's List*
*Goodreads Best Books of November*
*B&N Top Books of November*
*Publisher's Weekly Books of the Week*
*Hypable Most Anticipated YA Book Releases*
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.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)|
|Age Range:||15 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Natasha Ngan is part young-adult author, part yoga-teacher, part habitual nap-taker. She grew up between Malaysia and the UK, speaking Chinese with her mother mainly as a way to talk about people without them understanding. She studied Geography at the University of Cambridge and later worked as a fashion blogger, social media consultant and freelance writer. Natasha recently moved to Paris, where she likes to imagine she drifts stylishly from brasserie to brasserie, notepad in one hand and wineglass in the other, but in reality she mostly spends her time lost on the metro and offending locals with her French.
What People are Saying About This
Author of The Poppy War - R. F. Kuang
"Queer girls falling in love while kicking ass and resisting oppression in a rich, magical, and Asian-inspired world. What more could you ask for?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Girls of Paper and Fire (B&N Exclusive Edition) based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Read this gorgeous and haunting book!
READ. THIS. BOOK. PLEASE. Content warning for sexual assault and graphic violence. “When the world denies you choices, you make your own.” Lei’s nightmares are haunted by the raid on her village seven years ago that saw her mother ripped from her life. This time the soldiers have come for Lei, a Paper caste girl with golden eyes. She is to undergo training as one of the Demon King’s Paper Girls, which is supposed to be an honour yet feels anything but. ‘I think of the Paper Girls who came before me. The dreams of theirs that might have died within these very walls.’ The extravagance of palace life is unlike anything Lei has ever experienced with her loving family, who lead humble lives running a herb shop in their remote village. In the palace she is surrounded by exquisite gardens and is dressed by her own personal maid in stunning clothes with magic weaved through them! The glamour is only on the surface though, as Paper Girls are essentially the Demon King’s concubines, and this life feels like a prison to Lei. There’s so much I loved about this book, from the gorgeous descriptions of the different castes of Ikhar and their history and spirituality to the strength of the women who inhabit it. There’s action, betrayal, loyalty, friendship, a romance that didn’t make me want to vomit and an underlying hope despite brutality. I absolutely adore the cover image and Jeff Miller’s jacket design is simply breathtaking! I especially loved the Birth-blessing pendant on the front of the hardcover book. I loved learning about the world our characters inhabit and I became immersed in Ikhara. I believed in this world and yearned to learn more about its history, its magic, its spiritual beliefs and its customs. I don’t think Ikhara would have come alive for me if not for the gorgeous descriptions that made me want to sigh with the satisfaction they gave me. I highlighted so many sentences that made me want to follow Natasha Ngan around and have her describe to me whatever she sees. Wren was the standout character for me but I was surprised to discover that I also had a soft spot for acerbic Blue, despite and maybe because of all of the reasons that I probably should have loved to hate her. Lill was a sweetheart but I didn’t get much of a sense of her personality. Similarly the twins didn’t appear to have distinct personalities and unfortunately they became interchangeable for me. There were also a few characters that didn’t have a great deal of page time but I wanted to know more, who I felt more of a connection with than most of the Paper Girls: Zelle, Kenzo and Merrin. ‘I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.’ I want so much to give this book 5 stars for the world the author transported me to alone and by rounding up from 4.5 that’s essentially what I’m doing anyway, but there’s something that’s niggling at me. This may be a problem with me, not the book, but sometimes I felt a disconnect between what I thought I should be feeling and what I was actually feeling. Without getting spoilery, events would happen that would affect one or more of the Paper Girls and I’d think I should be crying, full of rage, joy, something … but wasn’t. I was always interested in knowing what was going to happen next but my emotions didn’t fire up. I’m hoping a reread will clear this up for me. I tried to buy a signed copy of this book from B&N but they couldn’t ship it to me.
In Girls of Paper and Fire, Ngan crafts a rich, lush world that draws on different Asian cultures and a compelling narrative about a girl fighting back against an oppressive system that has taken so much from her and others like her. There is so much I love about this novel: the Asian-inspired world, the female friendships, the slow burn f/f romance, the glimpses of political intrigue. Lei is a great, well-rounded protagonist - she's stubborn and determined to go against her fate as a Paper Girl, but she also fears what any rebellion from her could mean for her loved ones. The relationships between the Paper Girls were also wonderful. Some of the Paper Girls are antagonistic, but there were also a lot of great female friendships, which is really refreshing to see! The slow burn between Lei and Wren is so angsty, but also tinged with hope, and the fact that their love inspires each other is *chef's kiss* beautiful. I recommend GoPaF to anyone looking for a diverse YA fantasy, and I eagerly await book two! content warnings for sexual assault/rape and violence
When it comes to Young Adult fantasy, trying to find something unique is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There is always a new obsession with vampires or werewolves or fairies and it can oversaturate the genre. So when I read Girls of Paper and Fire I was ecstatic to finally find a YA fantasy novel that not only has a well thought out world but a unique plot that stands out. The plot also has plenty of twists and turns that I would love to talk about, but I won't spoil anything. Just know you won't expect what will happen. While I did love the story there were a few things that kept me from giving a five-star review. To start, I felt the main character was a little bland. She kind of went along with everything and didn't take much action, just here and there. Character's like Wren or Akoi caught more of my attention and had conflicts that were way more interesting. I feel there could've been more development for Lei throughout the book to make her as interesting as the other characters around her. Another part that bugged me was the romance. I did find the romantic plot enjoyable, but it only happened later on in the book. I felt like the two were just thrown together rather than taking the time to know one another. I would've liked for Wren and Lei to have spent more time together at the beginning of the novel so we can feel like their love was building. But these are only minor complaints. Overall, the book was fantastic and a definite must-read of YA's fall releases. All I can say is if you're interested in reading it, DO IT! You won't be disappointed.
While I loved the setting and was intrigued by the world of the novel, it moved a bit too slowly for me. Though I don’t normally mind that when there is a large emphasis on character moments, I didn’t feel that way here. Though we spent a lot of time in Leo’s head reflecting on the world, there was a lot of repetition going on. That and her relationship didn’t come together for me as smoothly as it was supposed to. That all being said, I loved how badass and nuanced all of the women in this novel were and how the bonds of female friendship overcome some pretty difficult situations. And the representation here is just wonderful. This book has the opportunity and the potential to give the gift of representation to numerous readers and I can’t wait to see how everyone reacts to it. 3 1/2 stars.
Totally unexpected. The protagonist isn't overly powerful, which makes her relateable. It's a good read, I can't wait to see if there's more to come!