Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Author: Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, LGBTQI, Young adult
This novel was extremely fucking brilliant. It took me a few chapters to truly want to know what was going to happen next, but then it felt like Girls of Paper and Fire was in my head constantly. Ngan did a fantastic job of world building from the first moment, and her attention to the character’s growth made this a completely irreplaceable book in my opinion. I get why people rave about this so much.
Lei’s journey is seriously heartbreaking. I love how she finds her strength. She is ripped from her home, placed into a horrifying world, and finds her first love. One that’s very existence could get her killed. I strongly suspect that her family has, in fact, been killed though. Which is just something I think will come up later in the series. But is heartbreaking, nonetheless. Part of the reason it took me quite a while to read this was because of how much my heart hurt with every challenge Lei faced.
Lei fits the fairly typical YA heroine mould in that she’s from a poor background, thrust into an unfortunate circumstance and finds a way to triumph when no one expects her to. Her very normalcy is highlighted, but then she’s also special. However, where she is different stands out the most for me. The use of a Chinese sounding (to me) cultural backdrop for starters was a nice departure. Actually, the entire world building was seriously unique and fun. But then there’s the love interest – Wren. Straight up, the fact that this is a F/F couple deviates. But also, the way they are able to create this relationship and how Lei is able to find her own strength in it.
I can’t wait to see how this phenomenal series evolves and where it goes. Likewise, if this is how Ngan wants to start her writing career, then I can’t wait to see what more I will get to sink my teeth into over the coming years. This was a completely unforgettable book that I will definitely read again in the future. And I can’t wait to get the rest of this series for my shelves!
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