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Girls of Paper and Fire

Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (27 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

What the critics say

"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)

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Average Customer Ratings

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

the best!

A magical story...captivating. You become enveloped in the story. A must read. I hope there are many more books to come.

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  • Dani
  • 2018-12-13

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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • catherine
  • 2018-11-13

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kimberly
  • 2018-11-16

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • natasha_ann
  • 2019-05-23

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • scootnmj
  • 2019-05-17

So many problems

There are several reasons I despise this book but here are a few: rape, girl on girl hate, branding of a girl, slavery, and physical abuse. I had no enjoyment reading this book and I am actually upset that I spent so much time reading this because it feels like a waste.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Israel
  • 2019-08-18

Interesting Book and Okay Narration

This book wasn't completely exciting for me. Sometimes I felt like Ngan was lost in the poetic-ness and didn't give me juicy plot to sink into. I'm still eager to read the next book.

The narration was okay, I guess. I could listen to the narrator all day, sure, but I felt like she wasn't giving me the emotions I needed. She really had three voices: female, male (only used on the gruffer males), and Eagle lady (I forget her name). No matter what the scene, she always used the same tone. During violent or sexually graphic scenes, it was still the cheery, upbeat voice.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-08-18

!!!!!!O◇O AMAZING

Ms. Hiroto does a perfect job capturing the characters voices and bringing to life an incredible world woven by Natasha Ngan. recommended to everyone

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ellie
  • 2019-08-18

not a fan of the reader

the narrator over enunciates and speaks very slowly. I am aware that the sound can be sped up, but for most books I don't have to. the story itself seemed drug out and didn't exite me like I'd hoped. it wasn't bad, it just was disappointing since I had high hopes for it. it's too predictable.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shamona Thomas
  • 2019-08-14

Good Story Line

Easy read or listen to. I would have loved for a more detailed dramatic ending of the aftermath. It took me a while to realize that this was an Asian cultured book. I got a little discouraged at the beginning because of all the mythical creatures...I could have settled for regular people. Once you get passed the thought of that then it all comes together.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-13

Good story, wonderful and smooth voice, bad tone from the narrator

I loved the story, and it absolutely left me wanting more. I would certainly recommend it as a read, and the narrators voice was consistently smooth and soft throughout the book, but therein the problem lies. Her tone didn’t match the story at all. The way she spoke the thoughts and words of Lei was soft and timid, while the actual character herself was described and presented as a strong, bitter girl who had suffered through so much and who had turned that suffering into anger and resolve and indignation at what she and her people faced at the hands of the upper casts. The timidity in the narrative voice of Lei was completely out of character, and it was very hard and a bit irritating to listen to the narrator make Lei sound so small and resigned and soft while the words she was speaking were hard and angry and driven. I appreciate the narrators very clear, very soothing voice and I would love to hear her narrate other books, but her tone was completely lackluster for this story and, while I also appreciated how she gave some of the Demon characters (particularly the bird-forms) interesting vocal characteristics, her presentation of the main character(s) was sadly very dissatisfying to me. It just didn’t sound right for what was going on and when. She gave Lei desperation in her voice when anger was meant, and her conversations with other people made her seem so uninteresting, like the only meaningful aspects to her were her worry and fear. I hope that if she narrates the next book (and I genuinely hope she does!!! It’s really just some small changes to the tones she applies to the individual characters thoughts and words) that she’ll put a bit more bite and drive and some more obvious and fluent emotion into the characters voices. Overall it was a great story, with a well developed, interesting, and dynamic world that I’m excited to see grow and evolve even more! It’s so incredibly refreshing to see queer/wlw women (and spatterings of other, male queer/mlm pairs, although those were mostly, I’m assuming, non-romantic) in such a well written fantasy world, and just as refreshing is the diverse mixing of the real worlds myriad cultures into this beautiful setting and story.