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 cruel.
But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.
What it is: a YA fantasy novel published by James Patterson’s new imprint. (While James Patterson has personal oversight over the imprint, the books are not written or edited by him).
What it’s about: a human girl with mysterious eyes is kidnapped as a gift for the Demon King, and must survive in the palace while rebellion begins to brew.
Who it’s by: author Natasha Ngan, who is also a yoga teacher and lifestyle blogger. She grew up in Malaysia and the UK.
Best bits: the complicated relationships between the characters, its emotional poignancy, its LGBT representation, its careful exploration of sexual assault, and the fact that it is un-put-down-able.
Protagonist in a sentence: a bakery girl who has been beaten by the demon empire, but refuses to give in
Love interest in a sentence: an aloof girl who is more rebellious than she first seems
Villain in a sentence: a spoilt child of a demon king who laps up power and fear.
Read it if: you love fantasy novels with a strong “court intrigue” element, you’re excited by a pan-Asian fantasy world, you’re looking for good lesbian rep, and/or you want a fantasy book that finally deals with rape from a sensitive and victim-focussed standpoint.
Skip it if: you would rather not read a narrative that is centred on and driven by systematic sexual assault and exploitation.
For more info, check out the author’s website.