Allgemein, F - J, G, Reviews

Review: Girls of Paper and Fire (Natasha Ngan)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”They can take and steal and break all they want, but there is one thing they have no control over. Our emotions,” she says at my nonplussed look. “Our feelings. Our thoughts. None of them will ever be able to control the way we feel. Our minds and hearts are our own. That is our power, Nine. Never forget it.”

Trigger warnings: rape/attempted rape, animal death, violence, slavery, sexual assault, branding of a character, abuse

Sooo… where to begin? I had high expectations for this book and even though I enjoyed reading “Girls of Paper and Fire” most of those expectations weren’t met. I guess that’s always the problem with extremely hyped books, though. Either they live up to your expectations or they don’t. In this particular case I wasn’t really disappointed but I wasn’t all over the moon either, if that makes sense? It’s really hard to pinpoint my issues with this book but I think I’ll just talk about it and figure it out along the way.

”It’s all right, Lei,” she says. “Go.” As her eyes meet mine, a spark of heat stirs in my chest. It takes me a moment to realize it’s the first time she’s spoken my name. My single syllable is surprisingly soft on her tongue, light, like a drop of rain.

Let’s just start with the things I really liked and take it from there! 😉 The first thing that comes to mind is the relationship between Lei and Wren. I totally loved that this was such a slow burn and that for a long time they were intrigued by each other but didn’t do anything to explore their feelings. There were a lot of brief moments, tender gestures, softly spoken words and meaningful glances and as you probably all know by now, I live and breathe for scenes like that. XD On that front the book totally delivered and I loved their slowly growing bond.

”Whenever she makes a movement – even something as small as brushing a speck of dust from her hair or adjusting her sash – my eyes instinctively cut her way, and I wonder if she’s noticing it, too, this tether, this pull between us.”

Another thing I liked were all the friendships Lei formed during her stay at the palace. Her maid Lill was really sweet and I also liked Mistress Eira. In her own way she did everything she could to make it easier for her girls and to protect them as good as possible. Unfortunately she couldn’t protect them from the Demon King and I liked how this aspect was shown. I mean Mistress Eira has influence in the palace, she’s a former Paper Girl as well and she uses the little power she has in order to make the lives of her charges easier. She always plays by the rules though and never flat out revolts against the system. So in some way her doing her job as good as possible is actually contributing to the injustice and the cruel rule of the Demon King. You might say she accepted her role and that the system won’t change. Mistress Eira gave up and I think that’s even worse than openly supporting the king. The people that allow injustice to happen and never speak up against it contribute to the system at least as much as the ones that enforce the rules. Considering all this Mistress Eira’s character was probably one of the most complex ones in the entire book and I really appreciated that. 😉

”I’m sorry, Lei,” she whispers. “There’s nothing I can do. You’ll have to find a way to bear it – and I know you will. You are stronger than most of the girls who come here.”

As for the Demon King and Madame Himura: I loathed them both. Their arrogance to believe that everything revolves around them and that they are superior because they have special abilities and are demons made me sick to my stomach. The way the king was cruel to the ones who defied him and rewarded the ones that let him have his way… it was sickening. Alone how he treated Aoki vs. how he hurt Lei. The difference between those two couldn’t have been even more pronounced. I’m kind of relieved we never got any graphic details of the violence and rape that happened in here or at least not much…

”Take my brothers, for example. They were one, two years older than me. But at the age of seven I already understood more than they about what makes a strong ruler. I knew that if I took their lives, it would prove to the heavenly rulers and the court that I was infinitely more capable of taking over my dying father’s rule than either of them. They were put on this earth to give, while I was destined to take.”

And take he does! And he even has the insolence to feel misunderstood. Oh what a tough life he must have. So hard to be a king. *notice the sarcasm* Anyway! Let’s get back to the topic at hand and talk about the things that caused me to give this book 3,5 stars rounded up to four. For one thing I missed an elaborate world building. The entire book plays in the palace and we never get a good glimpse at the world outside of it. Sure, Lei is living in the palace and is kept away from the outside world but I still think it wouldn’t have hurt to give some pointers about how the kingdom looked like and where they might find allies. Plenty of clans and places were mentioned casually but there never were any details.

Also since the entire book was built on court intrigues I just wanted more info?! At times it felt like we were only fed the most necessary details so that we didn’t lose the red thread and maybe that’s okay if you just accept being in Lei’s head. For me as someone who loves a good intrigue and likes to be able to follow it, to be constantly kept in the dark was kind of frustrating. I mean Lei is the MC and we see everything through her POV, yet Wren played a very important part too and I think if we’d have gotten a Wren POV it would have been better. Just my opinion though.

”Where the King’s touch closed me, shut me down, Wren’s opens me up. When I’m with her, every part of me is weightless and free, a soaring rush igniting my veins with desire as bright as sunlight. Her kisses heal the parts of me that the King broke.”

Plus I really would have liked to find out more about the other girls. I mean Lei is spending all her time with those Paper Girls but at the end of the book I had the feeling that I didn’t know them at all. The twins were reduced to being twins, Blue was the mean girl that caused trouble among the Paper Girls, Aoki was the soft and gullible one, and the other two girls were so unremarkable that I don’t even remember their names. I think one of them was named Mariko?! I dunno. *shrugs*

In addition to that the topic of rape which should have been a strong topic in here, because of the existence of the Paper Girls alone wasn’t addressed enough. I mean all of those 8 girls don’t want to sleep with the king and are forced to be with him and whenever one of them is summoned to his chamber they get prepared and when they return none of them says a word. They just keep it in and then continue to live like nothing ever happened. Even when it’s Wren’s or Lei’s turn they never speak of it afterwards. I understand why rape victims shut down and won’t speak about what happened to them, but considering the strong relationship between Wren and Lei, I found it kind of odd that they never addressed the issue. And especially in a book like this, where about 50% of the plot revolves around the fact that the king is basically raping 8 new girls each year, the message that his victims endure it silently and don’t even cry or rage or show any emotions after it, feels kind of unhealthy?!

Maybe the author’s intention was to show the bravery of the girls that endure, but for me it would have been braver if they would have spoken about it and not bottled it up. I’m probably a bean counter once again but this just didn’t sit well with me.

4

All told, “Girls of Paper and Fire” was a good book. The author kept me invested in the story and the writing style was easy to read. The ending was pretty mean though and I’m very curious what will happen in the next book. I can’t help but wonder if the world building will be explored more now that they are out of the palace walls. Guess I’ll have to find out by reading “Girls of Storm and Shadow”. 😉

Allgemein, Sassy Antics

SASSY Saturday

SASSY Saturday

Hey there my lovelies!

Welcome back to another round of my montly blog meme „SASSY Saturday“!

How does it work? Well, that’s easy! 😉

All you have to do is to follow those three golden rules:

1. Credit the creator of this tag (The Sassy Library Fox) and link back. (so I can see all your amazing answers!)
2. Answer the 5 questions below!
3. AND enjoy doing the blog meme! 😛 

„SASSY Saturday“ is planned to be a monthly meme but if you want to do it more often feel free to go for it! This meme was created to get to know other bloggers, their new obsessions and to reflect on your own last month! Above all it was created to have fun though! 😉 If you want you can also use the banner I created! This said let’s head to the good part:

S – Series you loved this month

Emily in Paris: I needed to watch something nice that would let me dive into another world for a little while and „Emily in Paris“ was the perfect series to do that! XD I basically binge watched this, because the episodes are all between 25 – 30 minutes and there were only about 10 in every season. This said: I absolutely fell in love with Mindy and Luc. *lol* Those two are amazing and ahh Mindy can sing! ❤ I loved all the covers she sang in this series! Especially „Dynamite“ and „La vie en rose“. So good! =)

#Mindy Chen | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir

A – Author you discovered

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Natasha Ngan – „Girls of Paper and Fire“

This was the first book of the series and I really enjoyed it. When I went into this I didn’t know that the demons look like animals so that was quite a surprise, but it somehow still worked for me? XD I dunno. *lol* The f/f relationship was such a slow burn but I found myself enjoying it a lot. I think the romance was very realistic and it was forbidden love so that kinda added even more spice to the story. Very curious about book two.

S – Song you couldn’t get enough of

No More Dream – BTS

I already knew this song (of course I did because I’m ARMY ;-P) but I kinda rediscovered it in January and I love it so much! XD One of the most interesting things about the „2 COOL 4 SKOOL“ album is the fact that Jungkook actually started out as rapline! Which only proves that he’s truly the golden maknae of the group. He’s so good at rapping! And knowing this album exists makes me kinda sad that we don’t get to see a lot of rapping JK anymore. *lol* Also TaeTae could have easily been a part of the rapline too. =)

S – Surprise – Something that totally caught you off guard

That I was all alone at work for two weeks because all of my co-workers were knocked out due to Covid. >_< I never saw that one coming. I somehow always thought that at least two of us would be in the office but no such luck. Now some of them are back again and I’m so glad I’m not alone anymore. Still, I’m super exhausted and you can bet that I won’t do anything this weekend. I feel like I need a holiday. XD

MY SOUL. | Jungkook, Jeon jungkook, Bts jungkook (Jungkook from BTS sleeping while he gets styled. I really wish I’d have a stylist too. *lol*)

Y – Your fave blog post of another blogger

„Book to movie adaptations coming in 2022“ by Elli @ AceReader

I really enjoyed this blog post because I didn’t know so many book adaptations will come out this year! I’m especially pumped for „Heartstopper“ because OMG!!! And it’s even going to be on Netflix so YESH!!! ❤ If you want to know which other books will be made into movies or series I highly recommend you to read Elli’s amazing post! 😉 Thank you, Elli!

Rankenzeile

What do you think about „SASSY Saturday“? Would you like to join the fun? Did you watch „Emily in Paris“ too and if yes, who was your favourite character? What surprised you last month? And which song were you obsessed with? XD

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

*hugs’n’kisses*

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The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

January Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

I can’t believe I’m typing this in February! Where did January go? The first month of the year passed by so quickly and if this is any indication of how 2022 is going to be then the year will be over in the blink of an eye. *lol* January… well January was actually a pretty tough month. Work-wise because Covid hit us full force and there were days I was basically the last person picking up the phone at work because all my co-workers were either ill, got Covid, or their family members had it and they had to be in quarantine.

I swear Omicron is spreading like nobody’s business over here and the goverment seems to be sick and tired of making rules almost no one wants to follow anymore. So I guess all we can do at this point is get vaccinated (which I did, thrice!) and hope that our immune system will be able to withstand the onslaught. This said I was knocked out for a couple of days as well because my kid got a mean stomach bug and after taking care of my kid for about a week I got it too. Fun times, I tell you. XD Is it just me or do all the other viruses get more aggressive as well? Anyway!

To add insult to injury I even had to pay attention to a healthy diet because apparently my gut isn’t working as it should. The joy of allergies, I tell you! *lol* So yeah, you can see my January was quite the interesting month. For some crazy reason I still managed to read which is a small wonder but I’ll take what I can get. XD And with this nice transition to books I’ll just jump right into my reading month! =)

Books read: 4 (4 books & 1 webcomic, Yes, you read right! A webcomic! And none other than the famous Chakho with BTS! ❤ )

Pages read: 1.961 (Page wise this was definitely a strong month. I feel like I cheated though because I read Now I Rise and Rule of Wolves mostly in December and only finished them in January.)

Average rating: 4,4 (Suanne’s book and Chakho made the difference! ;-P)

Books that were on my reading list: 0 (from 2019, 0 from 2020 and 0 from 2021. I’m so bad at following my TBR but hey, I finally finished another one of my 2019 books!)

January Reads:

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Now I Rise: 4 Pfoten

This was already book two in „The Conqueror’s Saga“ and I enjoyed it once again. I absolutely love the characters in this book because their character arcs are so well done. This is definitely a character driven series and I live and breathe for it. Lada and Radu are amazing and even the side characters are great as well! (I want to marry Nazira and Cyprian both. *lol*) Yes, I’m greedy but I don’t care! If you know them you know what I’m talking about. ;-P If you want to read my full review you can do it here!

Rule of Wolves: 4 Pfoten

I can’t believe it took me months to finish this book but I was in a massive reading slump last year and only got out of it 2 weeks before the year was over. This said once I got back in the swing of things I really had a lot of fun reading this. The „King of Scars“ duology might not have been as good as „Six of Crows“ but I still enjoyed it and I got a huge dose of Nikolai and Zoya so that alone made me a really happy camper. ;-P

A Small Hotel: 5 Pfoten

I think I already mentioned it about a gazillion times but I love Suanne’s books and writing style and this was no exception to the rule. This book! I mean… THIS BOOK!!! It broke me in all the best ways and it mended my heart, just to break it once again. This was… such a rollercoaster of feelings and I laughed and cried and was angry and happy for the characters. Ahh.. If you’ve never heard of Suanne Laqueur you should check out her books! I’m serious. Yes, now, go look her up! ❤

Girls of Paper and Fire: 4 Pfoten

This book was super interesting because we have actual demons in it and they look like animals so I was damn curious about how this would work out. (Understatement of the century. *lol*) I know for many people this didn’t work but for me it actually worked?! I have no idea why I only gave this four paws, but it was more some sort of gut feeling thing this time around. I loved the slow burn f/f ship and the plot was intriguing enough but it didn’t quite qualify for the fifth paw. If you know what I mean?! No? Well, okay let’s just move on. *lol*

Chakho 7 Fates: 5 Pfoten

I only read the prologue and the first 3 episodes but I’m so ready to read more of „Chakho“! This webcomic is right up my alley and this not only because it’s with BTS but because the story is damn intriguing! The mere idea of Beom and 7 boys who fight them is great and as it seems they all have their own background stories and baggage. I can’t wait to read the next episode!!! Give it to me!

Rankenzeile

How was your January? Did you read many books and if yes, which books did you read? Did you already read the books I read last month? And did you enjoy them? Do you read webcomics as well or am I the only one? *lol* How is the Covid situation in your country? Are there many people getting ill too? How is your government/country handling Omicron?

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe!

*hugs’n’kisses*

Sig.V.Ronan

The Sassy Library Fox