Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
ARC ALERT, courtesy of BookCon 2018! We’d like to thank Natasha and Jimmy Patterson Books for the opportunity to review. This book comes out on Nov 6th and you can get it here.
What I drank: 4th of July pregameeeeeee (sparkling rose, shandies, and so on)
Synopsis: Lei, a Paper caste member (ie human) is ripped away from her father’s herb shop to become one of the King’s concubines. Also the king is a demon who looks like…I’m gonna say the minotaur? Also magic. Also queer storylines.
So I got this at bookcon, and I was on the fence about reading it. I mostly picked it to read bc someone on twitter was asking for a copy ASAP, so I wanted to read it and send it along ASAP. It looked alright, but not up my alley….and I frickin loved it.
- Just straight up goddamn GREAT writing. I dont think I could have read this book if it werent just solid, good writing
- Mythical, magical asian-esque world, which was refreshing bc it was pan-asian, not just china
- loved the plot flow/ structure–w fantastic visual language
- The society is well-explained without feeling too “tell”-y (its a caste system of humans (Paper), the demon-human mix (Steel), and the highest caste, straight up demonss (Moon))
- Lei is not the only royal concubine, and while shes the narrator, we still get a glimpse of all the girls’ points of view. (REAL happy Lei doesnt go full Disney princess and get Stockholm syndrome)
- there is a lesbian storyline and sexual awakening that was handled just so damn well
- i got what Steels looked like, but I had a hard time envisioning what full demons looked like (ie the king is a bull and also hot but also demons are animal-humanoids), so yeah this is why I kept envisioning demons as some version of a minotaur. Reading laini taylor yrs ago prob helped me through this part
- curious to see what the magic system looks like, I felt it was only touched on here. Also hope we see more of the rest of the world, since it seems there are cultural and religious variants
– I guess this book may need a trigger warning for violence? I didnt feel it was gratuitous but others might feel some of it was.
– i have prob spent too much time trying to picture how sex w0orks and I feel weird about it. Like way too much.
what I gave it: a wonderfully surprised 4 stars
What I pair it with: they drink a shitload of tea, but i actually think this needs a smoky, slightly bitter whisky