Book Review: Girls Of Storm And Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Book: Girls Of Storm And Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Published November 2019 by Jimmy Patterson Books|403 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Girls Of Paper And Fire #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

I loved Girls Of Storm And Shadow!  I loved the first book when I read it, and this book didn’t disappoint!  This series is definitely worth reading, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next book.

I really liked Lei in this book.  While the first book was more of the direct aftermath of everything Lei had to deal with, this book is more about dealing with it long-term.  Lei is still dealing with everything that happened, and you really see how it affects her.

I don’t have strong feelings about Wren one way or another, though some of the things we find out towards the end of the book…I don’t know how I feel about it.  I definitely don’t see her the same way, but I can understand why she thought what she was doing was right.

The writing is absolutely beautiful!  There were quite a few times that I paused at her descriptions, and let in sink in.  I loved how she described things, and there were some things that sounded so pretty!  I also feel like there’s a lot of care with how Lei is dealing with everything.

Everything is explained and described so well, and it’s so easy to see why Lei is dealing with things the way she does.  Ngan does such a great job with making the reader care about Lei and what happens to her.  I just want Lei to be both happy and living in a world where she has her own agency, and hopefully, we’ll see that in the next book.

I’m always hesitant with sequels, because they feel like filler before we get to the last book.  This is not one of those books- there’s a lot going on, and it picks up where the first book left off.  Even though this is fantasy, there were parts of the book that felt very real, and there were things that I could totally see happening in our world.  Things were very ground in reality, and yet, I loved the world and how different but similar it is to our own world.

5 stars.  I loved Girls Of Storm And Shadow, and I can’t wait to read the next book.

Book Review: Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan

Book Review: Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan

Published November 2018 by Jimmy Patterson Books|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Girls Of Paper And Fire #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

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.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

I absolutely loved this book!  I wasn’t sure about it at first but I ended up loving it, and while it’s not my favorite book from this year, it’s definitely one of my favorites.

One thing I wanted to start off with is the trigger warning for sexual abuse and violence.  I loved that this book had one at the beginning, but I feel like it could have been slightly more obvious.  Still, I’m glad it’s there but keep that in mind if you decide to pick up this book.

I thought Ngan handled both very delicately and respectfully.  You really felt for Lei and the other girls as they were taken from their homes, and given to the king.  The world Lei lives in, particularly once she goes to the palace seems beautiful, but danger lurks beneath the beauty, and she has to do things she doesn’t want to do.  She says no, but is ultimately punished for that.  It’s haunting, and even though Lei’s world is not real, quite a bit of the book is all too real.  The way the king uses fear and power to control the Paper Girls, and they are seen as nothing but objects.  It broke my heart to see what they had to go through, but I also loved that there was hope that things would change.

I loved Wren, and though she’s not the main character, she really was my favorite character.  I just loved her story and everything about her.  It took some time to warm up to Lei, but I ended up really liking her.  And Aoki was really interesting as well.

I also loved the world.  The author drew from her life growing up in Malaysia, and everything was so vivid.  I wish we saw more of the world that Lei lives in, but we’ll have to wait until the next book, because we’re limited to just a few places in this book.

5 stars.  I loved this book, and I wholeheartedly recommend it, especially if you like diverse books and fantasy!