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. (from Goodreads)
Thank you Netgalley and Jimmy Patterson Books for gifting me an ARC in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I rate this book a 5 out of 5 Stars.
From the first page, I knew this book was going to be my first 5 star of 2019. There was something special about this book. Although it is very heavy with sexual abuse, and violence, it is done very tactfully. Some parts did feel like I was punched in the stomach, and had me hoping things didn’t get more graphic, and luckily they didn’t.
The romance was amazing, I love Lei and her forbidden romance. I felt like this book has found the right balance of YA and sexual intercourse. There is one YA series I can think of that borderlines pornography. This book has just the right amount. Would I be nervous if my 15 year old daughter read this book? No. I will admit though, I was kind of in shock with how graphic the sex scenes did get.
Let’s talk about this prose, a house full of Human concubines only for use by the Demon King. Isn’t that enough reason to read this one? The Demon King, is one of the most vile, and disgusting character I have read about in a long time. There is not one single redeemable quality to his character at all. He was born to be the character you hate. There are parts of this book that are going to hurt you, they hurt me, there are parts that will make you scream, there are parts that are going to make you happy, and the ending is going to have you wanting more! I am already dying for the next book.
I loved the world Ngan created in this book. It was so rich and detailed. I had no problem envisioning the characters, the palace, or Ikhara. For some reason, I kept thinking of the book/movie Memoirs of A Geisha, and I think if you are a fan of that one, you are going to LOVE this one. Granted this one is a lot lighter. Lei is such a fabulous character, I wish more YA novels would have characters written with her strength, heart, and determination. She fought for her beliefs, no matter how bad the outcome was for her. I hope that you love her too. I hope you guys just loved this book as much as I did.
Natasha Ngan is amazing, and she has skyrocketed herself to the top of my auto buy author list. My mind is blown with how much I loved this book. Everything about it, not one complaint to be heard by me.
I like to think that there’s some good behind even the darkest sins. That death can be warranted if it paves the way for hope.