In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.
Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn't the end of the planit's just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei's head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?
The explosive Girls of Paper and Fire was named:
- A 10-week New York Times bestseller
- #1 on the Indie Kids Next List
- B&N's Most Anticipated LGBTQAP Books of 2018
- Buzzfeed's Books You Need to Pick Up This Fall
- Goodread's Ultimate Fall YA Reading List
- Shondaland's Fantasy Novels You Need to Read
- Bookriot's Must Read Asian Releases
- Bookish's Most Anticipated YA SFF List
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Second books are hard. Second books are really, really hard. Second books that deal with trauma and despair have to be among the hardest things on this planet. I can imagine the author struggling over late nights and long days, trying to determine how to widen the scope of Lei and Wren's story, while keeping an element of what made the first book so special alive. This is not light reading, and even seems to verge on the edge of adult versus young adult fiction. Even beyond her experience with processing her own assaults, Lei is thrust into a political game well and truly beyond her capacity to understand. The stress of their battle against massive injustice manifests in many ways, including angst and drama within her relationship with Wren (of course). What second book would be complete without intense conflict in the formerly happy couple's relationship? The world of Ihkara remains very complete and very, very unique. I am particularly impressed with Ngan's multi-faceted descriptions of each of the clans of demons. They never felt repetitive, derivative, or shallow and given the scope of how many are described in this book, this is a really impressive feat. Anyone who read the first book in this series knew the second wouldn't be light lift. We all knew that a book following in the wake of one focused on sexual assault and terror would be in part about how people who deserved none of what they had done to them try their level best to continue living. Perhaps this is what I missed most about the potential of this book. Between constant crises and even a brief stint with a character that seems only to exist to create jealousy and tension in our main love story, there was very little space for Lei to be hurt and to examine her experiences. Beyond several instances of using alcohol to numb the pain, Lei is not given time to just be present in her emotions. This lack is the major fault of YA often, and it saddens me that in this instance, more space was not made. The themes of this series deserve more space and air to show survivors in the real world what comes next - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will eagerly wait for the third book, not because of a cliffhanger (although there is a good one at the end, of course!!), but because I believe that stories like these are bigger than YA, bigger than a fantasy story. These are stories that need to be told, and I applaud the author for telling them. May they find the hearts of those who most need to hear them.
This book was received as an ARC from JIMMY Patterson in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Having read Girls of Paper and Fire and loving how action-packed, dramatic, and spellbinding it was made me very excited to read Girls of Storm and Shadow. Lei and Wren are back but this time they are on a quest to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans to stop the monarchy from destroying the rebels and to use her gift to protect wren and stop evil magic from taking over not only the kingdom but Lei herself. Our teen book club loved Girls of Paper and Fire and are sure to love Girls of Storm and Shadow. It was really easy to fall in love with Lei and Wren which became very easy to follow them in their journey and take it on with them. We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
Girls of Storm and Shadow is the second novel in the massive hit series, Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. The first novel was an emotional and powerful read and thus was obviously an instant hit. Once again we're back with Lei and Wren. They survived their ordeals in the first novel, but that doesn't mean that they're free. Lei has become known as the Moonchosen, thanks to her part in killing the Demon King. Only...she didn't actually kill him, did she? It turns out that demon kings are a lot harder to kill than you might expect. Now Lei and her allies are trying to move forward in their plans. They want to stage a revolution. Otherwise killing the Demon King (or so they believe) will have served no purpose. The cycle of pain and suffering will continue, until they find a more permanent way to end it. “Yet like most lies people tell themselves, it came apart in the shadow and quiet of the night.” Warnings: If you've read Girls of Paper and Fire, then you've already got a good idea of how dark this series can get. This novel will touch upon concerns such as slavery, rape, and sexual assault, torture and murder, and PTSD. Girls of Storm and Shadow had a lot to live up to, thanks to how dynamic and powerful Girls of Paper and Fire is. But I am very pleased to say that it lived up to it, and perhaps exceeded it in some ways. As it's predecessor, this was a powerful novel. Watching Lei try and take ownership of what had been done to her was tough, and as such, it was extremely emotional. But it was also inspiring. And we can't ignore the fact that she came above it all, and she did what she had to in order to make a positive change in her life. This whole novel was heavily focused on what comes after the deposing of a monarch – though we all know that the king isn't actually dead (the conclusion of the last novel made that clear). That means forming alliances, making plots, and doing everything possible to try and make some actual changes within a society. Which is easier said than done. As such, we got to see a whole lot more of the world this time around. And honestly? I'm already anxious to see some more. I'm fascinated by this world. More than that, I'm looking forward to seeing the changes that Lei could bring with her. It was wonderful to see Lei and Wren again. It's been fascinating seeing where their relationship has gone, and how they both handled their trauma in such different ways. It's a poignant reminder about how we're all different – and how these two girls came from very different backgrounds. And of course, I'm going to be very interested to see where their plots go in the future. Both as individuals, and as a couple. Further proof that Natasha Ngan is a superb writer. There were a plethora of new secondary characters, and it didn't take any time at all for me to find myself emotionally attached to them. Ngan has a way of writing these amazing and wonderful characters. They're in stark contrast to the villains of the series, who are so easy to hate and despise. On that note, there was a constant sense of foreboding in this novel. Perhaps it is because we know the truth, while Lei and her allies had to discover it for themselves. Seeing things from the enemies' side from time to time only served to increase this tension. While I'm sad that Girls of Storm and Shadow has ended, I have to admit that the ending was oddly appropriate for the story Ngan is telling. It fits perfectly, and honestly, as much as I'm anxious
I have so many thoughts after reading this book that it’s hard to know where to begin. Plus the cover *swoons*. The biggest three things I want to highlight are the story, the characters and the handling of sensitive topics. So let’s talk the story. This book picks up not that long after with Girls of Paper and Fire lets off. While there is some level of predictability, I didn’t feel like it detracted from the book at all. It’s clear that there is a divide and war is imminent; action must be taken. Lei, Wren and several other favorites are perfect for the mission of gathering support to undermine what the king had built and waste no time it setting off. The pacing of this book is wonderful and there are frequently bursts of fight scenes and some lovers quarrels. When it comes to the characters, I love that Lei shows some personal growth throughout the story. I want to root for her so bad; she has so much potential but her naivety still blinds her at times. There are other characters who you start to see hints of their true selves with. Several of them are struggling with being open about their sexual preference for example and the book allows you to follow their journey beyond just the main story line. It’s inspiring and uplifting. I also love the brother-sister banter. It lightens the book where it needs reprieves. This book does contain some topics that readers may be sensitive to. One such topic is survivors post-traumatic event. I personally have not come across many books that so openly show the characters having flashbacks, the moments that trigger them causing them to completely freeze or blank out. There is open dialogue about having been a victim and the mental struggles now. While it may be difficult for some readers, I feel like shedding a light on something very relateable for many is important; we need to continue to have these books and conversations to de-stigmatize victims and show that the type of behavior that puts people in these situations is just not acceptable. Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It’s fast-paced with plenty of battles, both physical and mental, and uncovers the layers of post-traumatic life. I’m rating this five stars and I must say that book 3 cannot come fast enough! Thank you to Netgalley and Jimmy Patterson for the opportunity to read and review this book. I have voluntarily read the book and the opinions expressed are my own.