Review: Girls of Paper and Fire
by: Natasha Ngan
Review by: Harriet
On Sale: Now!
I was not emotionally prepared for how much I was going to connect to and fall in love with this book. Girls of Paper and Fire takes you on a journey through a system rooted in its castes, made up of humans, demons, and those who have qualities of both. The nation, now ruled by a power-hungry demon king, sets a precedent that each year the king will take 8 human girls to be his for a year as mates. The girls have no choice in the matter and must comply under threat of their families lives. Many synopses have more detail than that, but I was happy with the lack of information I had going in.
This book was a thrilling unexpected read, which dealt with intense topics (TW: rape, sexual assault, violence) in a lyrical way. As someone who loves reading but is very slow at doing so, the pace with which I flew through this book was incredible. Ngan’s writing was encapsulating, the plot was constantly moving forward while the characters were developing, and then she would pause for a moment of imagery that was subtle and detailed amidst the action. Though the diction itself was not complex, the way Ngan strung words together made the novel a beautiful piece of literature.
The characters in the novel all felt flushed out, though they read as if there is more to their story (seeing as the book will be the first of a trilogy this makes sense). The demon king was incredibly interesting, and so were all of the human girls taken for him, the only character I found to be a bit bland was the protagonist Lei. By the end of the novel she had definitely grown in strength, she was the only character I saw as “trope-y”, but as the book went forward I felt she began to move out of her mold.