A Quick Look At… Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
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.