Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan - Sprinkles of Dreams Book Review

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan // Book Review

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha NganEach 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.


Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: November 6th, 2018

I know what it means to dream about the past.
To dream about things you have loved, and lost.

Some books entrance you with their devastatingly gorgeous, lush, and magical prose, transporting you to a whole new world with the magnificent imagery they weave, leaving you spellbound, and speechless.

Some books draw you in with characters so full of heart and soul that you feel as if you’re living their stories, leaving you helpless to do anything else but fall in love with them irrevocably.

And very seldom, but every once in a while, all the stars line up, and you find a book that does both—and it’s as if a small piece of your heart that you’ve always felt was missing finds its way to you, cloaked in feelings that can’t quite be articulated, but are experienced all the more deeply.


Girls of Paper and Fire is a book that gradually wound its way into my heart, and has since nestled itself snugly in a corner, radiating light and happiness, whenever I find myself reminiscing about it, even despite the heavy subject matters it incloses.

Remember, even that which seems impossible at first can be overcome by strength of mind and heart.

It tells a story of girls who are chosen as concubines for a powerful king, some more, and some less willing to serve him, some with ulterior motives, and some merely acquiescing in their servitude to preserve their lives, and that of their loved ones.

And at the heart of it all, two girls who find themselves slowly falling in love with each other, as they navigate their way through a world wrought with distrust and suspicion, and faced with the impossible question—what are they willing to sacrifice for their love, and just how much are they willing to endure before they fight back?


The characters in this novel are so intricately crafted, and their layers, as well as their motives, are masterfully unveiled, bit by bit—and even though the plot unfolds at an at times tantalizingly slow pace, something special about it always managed to pull me back in.

I found myself pausing after every few paragraphs just to savor the startlingly beautiful prose that tastes like warm honey, sweetly melting on your tongue.

Understanding arrives then the way twilight falls: instantaneously. Just a blink, a skip in time, leaving only the before and the after, and the inescapable ripples of change.


Girls of Paper and Fire touches upon so many important themes, examines all-too familiar issues with sharp wit and sensitivity, and stands out with its powerful examination of identity, self-empowerment, and faith—in yourself, as well as others.

It’s a portrait illustrating the importance of love, and friendship, and showing us that it’s possible to reclaim your power, and offer opposition to oppression.

When the world denies you choices, you make your own.


Even while I was reading it, I was filled with a deep-seated, glowing happiness that made my heart warm, and with the knowledge that, no matter how hard I try, my words simply won’t be able to capture all the ways in which merely thinking of it makes me feel lighter, and all my surroundings appear just a little brighter.

Out of the two-hundred and twenty-three books I’ve read this year, Girls of Paper and Fire will be remembered by me as one of the most beautifully written ones—and the one that will stay with me for a very long time.

(…) I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.


The quotes above were taken from an ARC, and are subject to change upon publication.


GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE’s Aesthetics Board,
created by Natasha Ngan


Excerpt from the official playlist for GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE 🎶
Better in the Dark by Say Lou Lou
Landslide by Oh Wonder
Goodbye, Goodbye by Tegan and Sara


You’re interested in this book?

You can buy the Paperback or Hardback at Book Depository.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideSprinkles of Dreams - Let's ChatIs Girls of Paper and Fire on your TBR?
If so, on a scale of one to ten, how excited are you to read it? (Only “10+” answers are acceptable.)
What are your favorite books with (good!) Asian representation? 💗

xx, lily - Sprinkles of Dreams
Bloglovin’ – Goodreads – Instagram – Tumblr – Twitter

53 thoughts on “Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan // Book Review”

  1. Wonderful review, as always, Lily ❤ I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this one so much – I only heard amazing things about it from everyone so far and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy to finally discover what all the fuss is about. This book seems so gorgeously written, I hope I'll love it as much as you did 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! 💗☺️

      I’m so relieved and happy, I was really nervous, haha. 🙈 I hope you can get to a copy soon & I really hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, if not more! 🌟💞

      (There are also quite a few trigger warnings, though, I thought I should tell you! I didn’t put them all down while reading, so I didn’t include them in my review.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard about the trigger warnings, thank you for mentioning them 🙂 I’m going to need a heads-up about the exact passages for some triggers that will definitely be a bit triggering for me haha (the animal cruelty especially), but I’ll read it when I’m in the right mindset, and have the resources to buy it, too, haha 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The animal cruelty really gutted me – it happened very early on, and I did not expect it, and I had to put the book away for a while. It’s definitely something that’s hard for me to read about, which is why I’m so hesitant about Lauren Oliver’s newest release. But I thought the concubine aspect and all that it encompasses was very tastefully done, and thankfully not graphic, though the thought of it alone is quite a lot to swallow already as well.

          Definitely read it only once you feel ready to! & I hope you’ll have the chance to get it soon (or maybe your library can order it). 💗💗

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I get that feeling. The scene in Broken Things was very brief, but it kind of made me feel uncomfortable for a little while, too.
            I’m glad to hear that the rest of it all is not graphic, that makes me feel a bit better.
            I don’t have a library, so I’ll have to buy it, hopefully soon 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Exactly, it’s these kind of things that stay with us somehow and…. ugh I can’t handle it too well :/
                Ahhh what, you’re way too sweet you don’t have to 😭❤️ thank you so much for thinking of me, you’re too sweet ❤️

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words, Claudia! ☺️

      I hope you can get it soon, and I can’t wait for you to fall in love with it, like I did. I’d love to hear your opinion, when you’ve finished it. 💗💗

      Happy reading, and I hope you’re having a lovely day! 💫

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Aurora! 💗

      They are so beautiful, aren’t they? :’) I’m so happy to hear that I could make you even more excited for it – I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, if not more.

      Happy reading, Aurora, and thanks so much for your sweet comment! 💞

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you so, so much, Surina! 💓

      I was definitely jumping up and down when I held it in my hands (and I may have hugged it to my chest for a while, haha), and I really, really hope you’ll enjoy it at least as much as I did. :’)

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment & I’d love to hear what you think of it, when you’ve read it. 🙂


  2. okay i’ve been seeing this book everywhere but now lily, my book opinion twin and also queen of reviews/aesthetics/general blogging, likes it??? game changer. may need (by which i mean “possibly look into it if i remember because i never ever remember)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh Lily!! This was such a wonderful review ❤ I've heard so many great things about this book on Twitter, and your review makes it seem all the more amazing. I think it's great that it touches on so many important topics, and your descriptions of the writing make it unbelievably beautiful!


  4. Normally, as a rule, I don’t read reviews until after I’ve read a book. And I finished Girls just the other day, and I am so happy I saw your review again to remind me to read it! Your review is the lovelies!!! I loved Girls so much and could NOT put it down, by far one of my fav reads of 2018!


Leave a Note 💌

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s