ARC Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

GirlsofPaperandFireGirls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Published by Jimmy Patterson Books on November 6, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 336 Format: ARC Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

This ARC was received by my library department for marketing purposes. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

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.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.


If you’re looking for a vibrant, empowering story featuring women coming into their own and fighting back, Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan is definitely for you! Following the journey of Lei, a human girl, being brought to the capitol and forced into a life she doesn’t want; this book delves into difficult and complex issues within a fascinating world, full of of incredible characters.

Lei is pulled from her home and forced into being a Paper Girl, a concubine for the Demon King. Her anger at the lack of control she has over her life simmers under the surface but she’s also fearful with such a good heart that readers cannot help connecting with her. Her love interest, Wren, was such an intriguing girl; driven and supportive all at the same time. Actually each one of the nine paper girls stood out in their own right and delivered dynamic storylines.

The world itself, based in Malaysia, features a diverse array of culture and mythology that grounds the story and gives life to a vast nation. There are three distinct groups of people, humans who make up the oppressed Paper caste, Steel who have one or two demon features, and then Moon who are full demon. The politics at play are tremendous with factions at work, sickness in play, and violence hovering over everything. Honestly none of this would be possible without the author’s phenomenal writing chops.

Overall Natasha Ngan’s Girls of Paper and Fire was a rich and sumptuous tale of rising up and finding one’s purpose. The worldbuilding is off the charts with demons and humans inhabiting vast lands and the author tackles class issues and physical/sexual abuse head on. Lei’s an incredible MC and her struggles, both the inner turmoil and outside factors, drove the story. Plus the romance was beautiful and super angsty. Obviously I highly recommend this one and cannot wait to read more Ngan’s work.

Are you excited for Girls of Paper and Fire?

Let me know in the comments below!

One thought on “ARC Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

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