Friday, April 10, 2020

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

In the kingdom of Ikhara, a demon king rules. Each year, he takes eight young concubines from the lowest caste- the Papers, or the humans. However, when Lei, the main character, catches the eye of a military commander and is brought to the king as a present, she becomes the ninth. However, unlike most of the other girls, Lei doesn't want to be a concubine. When she falls in love with another consort, she decides that she can't be the king's concubine, and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy to end his terrible reign over the people.

I actually enjoyed reading this book, even though magic/fantasy is not normally my preferred subject. It was filled with action and suspense- there were many scenes of Lei barely avoiding the king. It also talked a lot about sexual violence and the characters' responses to it. The caste system of the demons and humans was also very interesting to read about, and the magic and the pantheon of gods were also intriguing. The book was a roller coaster- its atmosphere ranged from very happy to depressing in the next paragraph. However, I still really enjoyed it and would recommend it to other readers who enjoy fantasy, magic, and action.

Reviewed by NK, Grade 10
Montrose Library

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