‘Girls of Paper and Fire’ Ignites

Fairy tale demons cast light on real societal issues in Ngan’s novel

Sarah-Marie
Coffee Time Reviews

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Even flimsy paper can ignite change. Banner made by the author in Canva using free use photo from their library.

TW/CW: Mentions of sexual assault

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan is a multicultural tale of a world inspired by fairy tales and structured into castes. In the kingdom of Ikhara, some humans were touched by the gods and given various animal characteristics long ago, creating:

  • those who are mainly animal/ demon in the Moon Caste
  • those who are partially animal/ demon in the Steel Caste
  • those who are completely human in the Paper Caste

The castes are the most to least important/ influential in the order above.

Eight girls from Paper Caste are chosen to be the Demon King’s concubines every year and our main character Lei’s family is threatened if she refuses. At court, she sees even more of the obvious prejudice against her caste than in her hometown in increasing fashions from slurs to slavery and murder. As a Paper Girl, she receives some prestige and privilege, but also contradictory prejudice often due to her sexual duties.

The story follows her life at court as a Paper Girl and her constant struggle for balance between survival (for herself and her family) and also wanting to rebel…

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Sarah-Marie
Coffee Time Reviews

Author & Writer | Querying my YA Fantasy novel |Top Writer in Space | A little bit of everything: Science, personal development, fiction, hobbies, and art