Do you ever read a book and think why did it take me so long to read this? I’ve had that quite often, but most recently with Girls of Paper and Fire. I meant to read this quite some time ago during a group read, but ended up sick and just never picked it back up. I’m glad to say I did finally read this and want to talk about this book and my thoughts today!
Please be aware that this book deals with many difficult subjects, so please make sure you look this up before reading.
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.
One of my favorite things about fantasy books is getting to know a whole new world and who lives in it. When the book starts our main character, Lei, is taken away from her family rather harshly and let’s say it sets the tone for this book.
Lei hasn’t had an easy life. Her mother was taken away when she was young. She’s a paper and let’s just say the demons don’t always treat them well. I really enjoyed Lei’s character and how feisty she was. Even when in a position that was meant to break her and make her obedient she kept on fighting. After experiencing multiple traumas she’s still determined to stand up to what she believes in.
“I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.”
Girls of Paper and Fire also has an amazing cast of side characters that we see quite a bit of. I loved how different they all are and how each of them deals with the consequences of being a paper girl. We only get Lei’s POV, but I felt like in the end I really got to know all of these characters. I also enjoyed the romance we see develop in this book, but I loved that it doesn’t take over the story.
Like many fantasy books Girls of Paper and Fire also has a lot of politics, magic, and maybe an upcoming war. As things progressed it’s clear that this world has a lot going on. While we do learn quite a bit I honestly do wish we would’ve gotten just a bit more information on the magic and how this world works. I could follow everything, but it’s just my personal preference of wanting more.
“They can take and break and steal all they want, but there is one thing they have no control over. Our emotions. Our feelings. Our thoughts. None of them will ever be able to control the way we feel. Our minds and hearts are our own. That is our power, Nine. Never forget it.”
The author’s writing was amazing and I could imagine seeing everything our character was seeing. The demons and story were something I found very unique. It wasn’t an easy book to read, but It really was amazing. I’ll definitely be finishing this trilogy, because that ending definitely left me needing to read the sequel right away.
Girls of Paper and Fire isn’t a “fun” book, but it’s so good. The writing really sucks you in and I just need to know more. So I can actually say I’ve already read the sequel already and my review for Girls of Storm and Shadow will be online Saturday! What was the last book you should’ve picked up sooner? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.