Title: Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Genre: Fantasy, YA, LGBT
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: November 2018
Hardcover: 400 pages
My Rating: ★★★


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 learn 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.


Girls of Paper and fire is a YA fantasy novel, where every year girls from Paper Casts (the lower social class, meaning they're only human, without demon traits) are taken from their homes and gifted to the Demon King to become his concubines.

“When the world denies you choices, you make your own.”

I liked Lei, the heroine of this story. She is a sweet and caring girl, who even though she finds herself in a tragic situation, she has the courage to deny the King what he wants from her and also be kind to the girls that are in the same situation as her, even though some of them look at Lei with envy and disdain. She takes bold risks to find out what happened to her mother (who Lei hasn't seen for seven years), and never loses sight of how evil and oppressive the Demon King is, even when fellow Paper girls find themselves charmed by him. Her character arc was well presented, I like how she transitioned from a shy and fearful girl to a strong and defiant young woman. Also, her relationship with Wren it was beautifully portrayed, I loved their connection and how their romance developed.

“I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.”

But while I did like the story as a whole I still would have wanted more world-building and a faster-paced action. Half of the book was slow, with details that could have been easily taken out, and the ending could have used a little bit more explanation, it felt like it ended too abruptly. Then again there is a sequel and I guess more will be explained in the next book.

All in all, I feel conflicted about whether or not it is worth the hype because I did enjoy the story but it just lacked something for me, it wasn't as thrilling as I hoped it would be.