Girls of Paper and Fire

Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire, Book 1
Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
4 out of 5 stars (371 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 demeaning. This year, there's a ninth. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time, it's Lei they're after - the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king's interest. 

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king's consort. There, she does the unthinkable - she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world's entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge. 

©2018 Natasha Ngan (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"This gorgeous book is everything I want in a fantasy. Beautiful, lush, lyrical with fantastic world building and an epic forbidden romance, I devoured every word and was left desperately wanting more." (Ellen Oh, author of the Prophecy series and cofounder of We Need Diverse Books)

"This glittering commercial romance has real stakes, and the lavish, intriguingly conceptualized world will capture readers. Love stories between women are still disappointingly few in fantasy, and romance and action fans alike will find much to savor here." (Booklist)

"With deliciously deep world-building and a cast of fierce young women fighting to take charge of their own story, Girls of Paper and Fire cuts you deep and leaves you breathless for more." (Ashley Poston, author of Heart of Iron and Geekerella)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, Sub par narrator

I was excited when I read the synopsis of this book. A F/F romance set in a fantasy kingdom is right up my alley. I really tried to get into this audio book but the narrator is no good. Her tone doesn't carry the emotion that the characters are feeling across effectively. I would recommend that if you're interested in this story to read the physical book instead.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen!

5 stars for a great story performed beautifully! I found myself sucked into a whole different world mixing Asian culture and magic with a beautiful love story.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Strong, Brave Female Roles!

Synopsis: Girls of Paper and Fire revolves around a seventeen-year-old girl named Lei who was taken from her family as a Paper Girl to serve the king. As she learns what this means and the oppression that stems from the caste system in place, she struggles with her own fate. 🥺 She opens up to a fellow Paper Girl, Wren, and the two form a beautiful and romantic relationship. 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩 But once the king finds out, both their fates are doomed.

Have you ever read a book where you can’t quite rate it because some things were done so well and others were a bit bothersome? 🤷🏻‍♀️If so, then hear me out on this one. Because overall, this book is 💯 worth it but I also want to be transparent. 👻

Here’s my twofold review: I gave an astounding 5 ⭐️ to the imagery, plot, and character development of this book. The vibrancy in setting the scene was descriptively perfect! And the narration of this alternative realm was so well-crafted that I was completely drawn in. Also, I ABSOLUTELY loved the characters! 🧡

BUT what fell short was the commitment to critical events that stood as pivotal turning points for both Wren and Lei. That and...the pacing.

What do I mean... as a novel that embraced an LGBT protagonist, I thought more emphasis could have been placed on the actual defining experiences than just the feelings before and after. I think, as a reader, I would’ve had a deeper connection with Wren and Lei if I was carried through a lot of their “firsts” rather than just hearing about them after the fact. (I know this sounds vague and I’m intentional being so because I don’t wanna give anything away). But it kinda bummed me out that the most climatic scenes occurred within the last 100 pages of the book and were slightly brushed over (which, TBH, was why I had to resort to listening to it on audio 🎧).

So that’s why I settled on a 4 ⭐️ rating. This book does allude to a sequel, so that’s exciting! And I frankly think this series could grow better with time and confidence! Also, I should mention some trigger warnings to those who are looking into this as a possible upcoming read: sexual assault and violence.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wow!

OMG what a excellent book! I'm not normally a fan of fantasy books but James Patterson is my all-time favorite author so when he came out with this book I knew I had to give it a try and boy was I surprised! It's got everything.... romance, fantasy, action and comedy. The characters were so well written and with just enough detail. it's a rather long book but I wouldn't have known it because I was hooked from the very start and could not put it down until it was finished. I'm so impressed with everything about this book. I can't speak highly enough about the narrator either she did a wonderful job. I really hope there's a sequel!!! I give this book 5 stars all the way around, HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, the cover is Beautiful the Book is Awful.

Starting with the good stuff, Wren was a cool character. She has an interesting background, a great motive and is a strong female. I love the cover art of the book and the description on the back sounded very intriguing. That was about it.

Reading this book was like riding what was advertised as a roller coaster and turned out to be a kiddy train ride through a brothel petting zoo.... it was so cringeworthy and boring at the same time.

Our leading lady was a bland and weak and the only special thing about her was her eye color. All of the other characters go through so much but are in the background? Lei spends the whole book (besides 2 terrible instances) being left alone all the while her friends are being attacked and raped weekly. This book would have been 100x better if it was in the view of Wren, or ANY other character for that matter. Even then Wren could do so much better with any of the other characters. There is literally nothing interesting or endearing in Lei. She also gets credit at the end for killing the king when it was someone else who wounded him giving her the knife.

I love fantasy but this world is a complete mess that is not explained at all. The author was not very good at imagery so the whole Animal Human Hybrids were hard to picture. She would also just throw animals at random background characters like “crocodile man” with no description. So all I’m thinking is a human body with claws and a crocodile head sticking straight up to the heavens with 2 beady eyes.

The Animal Hybrids were not developed nor were the Castes. I get that paper is the lowest but the steel and higher ones were not explained well.

Every time something interesting would pop up (like her trying to find her mother or the importance of the necklace etc) nothing came of it or it had nothing to do with the plot. It was jut a straight through boring story. I am surprised at the good reviews because this was just awful...
I do not recommend...

Also as an audiobook the performance was ok but she read Lei like she was a high pitched whiny child making this EXTRA cringeworthy.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Hunger Games meets the sex trade?

One of my least favorite listens this year. Mature content. The story and characters are interesting, albeit a bit forced.

The narrator is awful. It was hard to finish listening, but I wanted to know the ending and didn't want to invest in a physical copy.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sooooo good!

I really enjoyed the writing style of this author! This book is great! Would highly recommend!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good story

was a struggle to start for me but I pushed through and enjoyed the story as it progressed. I probably wasn't ready to start it when I did (distracted or something) I did enjoy it though and am looking forward to diving into book 2 and seeing where the story leads.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a good storyline ruined by choppy narration

It was very tough to finish this audiobook. With how every word was clipped and every sentence was read as if it were a children's book it was very difficult to stay engaged. I skip to the end just to see what happened.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

It was ok. The performers voice didn't really match the story IMO, and she over-pronounced her g's which was really annoying. This just wasn't my favorite.