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Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

"They" say never judge a book by its cover. But this one was so pretty I couldn't help myself.

I've been getting away from YA for a while now. Mainly because I write adult romance. I've really been trying to keep in the genre I write. However, the premise of this one seemed really interesting.

The first thing that stuck out to me when reading this one was the trigger warning. The entire premise of the book is based on girls being given to the king as concubines for a year. The author made sure to express that sexual assault was a heavy theme in the book. In getting that warning, I was able to prepare myself for the content.

Overall, this book was fantastic. I'd forgotten that I bought it because it was LGBTQ+.

The main character, Lei, is forcibly removed from her village and taken to the capital, where she is to join eight other girls that have been specially chosen as the king's paper concubines. There are different classes in this world. Paper being human and valued far less than the other classes.

Lei, being the ninth girl in this group that was only supposed to be eight, is treated differently by several of the girls. But, there are a few that she gets along with. As she adjusts to her time in the capital as a paper girl, time passes. The king calls for the girls by sending a slip of paper with their name on it.

Lei is the last one called. The king wines and dines her, then he attempts to have his way. She manages to knock him off kilter and escapes. This is a grave error that won't be overlooked.

While all of this is going on, Lei falls for one of the other girls, Wren. Mysterious and beautiful, Wren sneaks out at night. What Lei discovers is that Wren is the last of her race and was sent here to kill the king.

Overall, this was a fantastically written LGBTQ+ story that had me immediately ordering book two!



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