Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of paper and fire #1
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 44
(see below for breakdown)
From Goodreads: 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 demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.
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.
Warning: This book does contain scenes of violence, sexual violence, forced nudity and rape. Including scenes of an invasive medical examination. If you are not comfortable reading these topics this might not be the book for you.
I dont know what took me so long to pick this one up but I am glad I did. The writing style is gorgeous and descriptive. While it kept the plot quite slow it really added to the emotion of it all. The descriptions really made the book for me they both created a colourful fully formed world and mythology which really highlighted the dark topics explored.
I also enjoyed the characters, particularly Wren. I just wish we had a lot more of the development of the relationship between Lei and Wren. For me it moved rather quickly from them ignoring each other to falling in love. I wanted more slow burn. Especially as the lead up to the main events of the book we so slow we could have got a lot more of the lead up. The plot its self is not that complicated but again the descriptions made it dark when it needed to be an light at the right moments
What really got me was the epilogue! Oh it hooked me. I was happily reading along and it just grabbed me and made me want to pick up the second in the series. Overall I really enjoyed this book, the ending especially. I will be diving into the second one very shortly.
ENDING – 8
STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 8
CHARACTERS – 7
ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 8
PLOT – 6
ENJOYMENT – 7