The Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Summary:

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.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

The Review:

This is a book that I heard so many good things about. Just to let you know that there is a really graphic rape scene in the book for trigger warning.

It is set in world in which some women are seen as concubines to the demon king, and eight girls are chosen to do so. Lei, a member of the paper caste is one of the eight chosen. She is also dealing with some trauma at the start of the book. For one being in a the paper caste which is one of the lowest caste also when she was young her mother was taken by royal guards.

Once the demon king takes the young girls they are sent to live in the palace for a year and having a “sort of” life of luxury, and their role is the serve the demon king and do anything he asks them. A lot of the young girls was very well developed. My favorites were Wren and Zelle.

A lot of the first half of the book is introducing Lei, to the world of the palace, and also meeting the other girls who serve the demon king as well as learning a lot of the rules of the courts.

What I loved about the story is that very rich world building. It is an own voices Asian inspired fantasy, which gave a good amount of back story without feeling like info dumping. The caste system I thought added a lot more weight into the world especially when seeing a lot of the higher castes mainly the Steele caste who are half human and half demon  and the Moon caste which is entirely of demons.

The romance was another highlight of the book. While it does deal with a forbidden f/f romance I like the fact that there are stakes involved with the romance and how Lei begins to bond with her and fall in love. Knowing that there are future books I want to see how the romance flourishes. It shows that a romance can be so well developed and you want to root for the happy couple.

One of the main themes of the book, is the theme of trauma and how it affects people. Especially with the issue of sexual assault and male “ownership” of a woman’s body. It also draws on themes of trauma and PTSD, and trying to survive in a dark and messed up world, and having someone you love helping you against the world.

In the end, Girls of Paper and Fire, was a fantastic debut fantasy novel. It introduces you to lust fantasy world, with great characters and a loving romance. It should be a start to a great series.

Grade: 5/5

 

 

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March wrap up/April TBR

Wow, March is almost over and spring is finally coming.

I am happy to share what I read for the month of March and also what I plan on reading in April.

What I read in March.

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This year I started reading graphic novels again, and I am enjoying them. With Paper Girls calling it a girl version of Stranger Things would be an understatement. I kinda want to talk about it, but I don’t want to go into spoiler entire. But this is a series I am happy to recommend to people.

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Another graphic novel that I picked up from the library sort of like a prep school that is not what it seems but the mystery of the first volume is enough to keep me intrigued.

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In my quest to discover Cassandra Clare and the world of the shadowhunter universe. After reading the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series and really enjoyed them, but I love the Infernal devices so far. It was nice to see a good prequel to the shadow hunter universe.

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Also in my quest for reading Cassandra Claire I read City of Fallen Angels. While not my favorite in the series so far the ending had my intigued.

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Lives up to the hype! This was one of my favorites of this year. A Review will be coming up later this week.

April TBR

These are the books I plan to read in April

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As a Sci Fi fan, it surprises me that I never read any Ann Leckie. I heard nothing but great things about this book, and she is an author I have been dying to read.

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A couple years back I read A Star Touched Queen, and I enjoyed it, and I have been meaning to pick up the series again so I am excited to see a new series by her, which is different from Star Touched Queen but I am excited to read it.

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A saw the trailer to the show, and I immediately wanted to read it. It is hard to believe that I still never read Neil Gaiman before and I hope this will be a good one.

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I read the Hate U Give and absolutely loved it, and I want to see Angie Thomas’s next book.

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Okay, so this was a cover purchase. It was a used book I picked up at my local bookstore, and its a dark fantasy that I always love.

Those are the books I read in March and may read in April. What’s on your April TBR, let me know in the comments below.

WWW Wednesday 3/12/2019

Happy Wednesday everyone,

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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Late last year I finally decided to enter the Shadowhunter world and started reading The Mortal Instruments, the first three books anyway, and I really enjoyed them so far and finally seeing what the hype is about.

I am currently loving it so far, and I see why people love Jem so much, and it also gives us another glimpse in the Shadowhunter world.

What did you recently finish reading?

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I really loved this book. The world is amazing, and I love the romance between the characters.  A very well written Asian inspired fantasy dealing with concubines to the Demon King.

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After reading the first volume of Papergirls, I can honestly say that I am a fan of Brian K. Vaughn. I would sort of describe it as a sort of girl version of Stranger Things, while also maybe dealing with time travel. I really want to keep reading this series.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I bought this book during my Amazon gift card haul because I was very intrigued by the premise, especially since I am a fan of twisted fairy tales.

That is my WWW Wednesday. What books are you currently reading? What have you recently finished and what will you be reading next? Let me know in the comments below!

God of War (Video game review)

Okay, I know this is not book related but I finished playing God of War (2018) for the PS4 and I just really wanted to talk about it.

When I first played God of War (2018), I actually never played any of the previsions God of War games, mainly because last generation I had XBOX. From what I was told the previous God of War games was mostly a hack and slash game with Kratos, killing across Greek mythology after the death of his family. Then I remembered the E3 trailer from a couple years back that introduced a God of War semi-reboot with Kratos and his son but instead of Greek mythology the focus in on Norse mythology.

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The story of this game is amazing. From the first ten minutes you are introduced to Kratos, and he left the events of the PS3 God of War era behind him and is now raising a son Atreus. It starts with their wife and mother dying and them burning the body  with the final wish to take her ashes to the highest peak of the mountain.

While the story is a basic journey to go from here to there, the strength lies in its characters, mainly of Kratos and Atreus. The journey takes them across some of the nine realms and they begin to bond with one another and learn to build a better connection with one another.

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It would feel like a very long escort mission but the fact that Atreus is a part of the game play works, with commanding him to fire arrows at enemies and even make light bridges to go across

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The game-play is really amazing. Instead of the normal hack and slash, it introduces a new combat system and the weapon of the Leviathan ax which you could throw at an enemy and call it back to you, very different from the Blades of Chaos. A lot of the enemies have various ways to deal with combat and it starts a bit of a learning experience.

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The boss fights are also amazing. My favorite is the fight between Thor’s sons and after dying a handful of times caused me to really rethink my approach to the fight and trying to utilize Atreus more.

An impressive feature about the game is that it looks as if it was done in one shot, even though there is some cuts in between takes. It makes the game have a more cinematic feel to it and feeling like you are a part of the action.

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In the end, God of War is an amazing. Definitely was a game of the year in my book, with high intense action and a gripping story that made me want to stand up and clap after the game was over.

Grade: 10/10

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Summary:

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

The Review:

This is another book that I read outside of my usual genre reads, which is more of a YA Contemporary mystery novel centered around a young girl trying to find out what happened to her sister.

The main format of the book, follows both Sadie’s story with trying to figure out the murder of her sister. There is also a podcast that is following Sadie’s story as well as the murder of her sister Mattie which happened years ago.

The main strength of the book was the relationship between Sadie and her sister Mattie. Growing up Sadie was always very protective of her sister Mattie, especially when dealing with their alcoholic mother who never really cared about them, even after Mattie’s death their mother became very absent and would always abandon her.

I really did like Sadie the character. She was smart and reliant especially when she was on her own trying to track down her sister’s murderer by any means necessary  and she always used her street smarts to figure everything out.

The podcast format was also very well done. It the sort of boom of true crime podcasts it added a lot to the story especially with the character of West McCray the host of the podcast. While it may seem that he is doing the story about Sadie and her sister for sensationalism, there is times that he really does care about Sadie and is also invested in trying to find out what happened to her sister.

With Sadie, there was also a lot of themes of pedophilia and grooming. When Sadie finds out who the killer is, it also shows how a man can kinda put blinders on a town and that’s how he was able to get away with it for so long.

In the end, I truly enjoyed Sadie. The podcast format really felt as if I was in on the action, trying to figure out the mystery surrounding Sadie and her sister while also being really invested in Sadie’s story.

Grade: 5/5

March 2019 TBR

Happy March everyone,

It has been a while since I did a TBR and I kinda want to give myself a reading list for this month. I have a lot of books planned this month that I will hopefully read this month.

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I saw this at a bookstore, read the synopsis and picked it up automatically. It deals with an emperor’s death, and his daughter and two sons must deal with the consequences and their father’s last wish. It looks like a very complex fantasy novel which I am excited to read.

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This is a book I got from an Amazon gift card that I got for Christmas, and it also seemed very interesting, and of course the Parisian setting isn’t bad either. It looks like a very unique premise with “beasties”.

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I finally was put off the waiting list for this book. It was a book I missed in 2018, and I really want to read this. I am trying to read a lot more diverse fantasy, and this seems like my cup of tea.

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I finished reading Y: The Last Man, and I really enjoyed. I also read some of Saga and really loving it. I was told that since I am a fan of Brian K. Vaughan’s writing and was recommended this book.

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Okay, I have to admit, this was a cover check out from the library. I mean just look at that cover and tell me that you wouldn’t want to read it. It also has a cool premise dealing with warring kingdoms which I am always happy to read.

 

 

The Wicked King by: Holly Black

Summary: 

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

The Review:

Oh, it is so good to be back in this world, created by Holly Black. The Wicked King is the second book in the Folks of the Air series, and it dives even more deeper in the tretrachious world of the Faeries.

The Wicked King picks up a little bit after The Cruel Prince with Jude dealing with the High King of Faerie, Carden, who I can say kinda hates and kinda loves. Oak, her younger brother sent away to be protected, and her sister Taryn, set to be married to Locke, and Balekin locked away.

From the first chapter, you get a great sense of Jude’s character. She sees the world of Faerie, as if it is a game to her, with her trying to take power from Carden, as he is the new High King. The political intrigue is what really makes the book stand out from other fantasy novels. It almost feels as it is a chess game that Jude is trying to win.

The chess game now comes with a new pieces of the chess board in the form of Orlagh, the Queen of the Undersea, and Nicasia, her daugher. I loved the introduction of the Undersea, it added so many layers to this already amazing story, with Nicasia, set to be engaged to Carden and Jude finding a somewhat challenger to her quest for power. It really shows how great of a world builder Holly Black is, and adding more layers to this already expansive world.

A big theme of the book is power and what many would go through to achieve power. With Jude she was taught from Madoc, her semi-adopted father, to learn about how to attain power and also how to keep power, which what she is trying to do throughout. Even though Madoc, isn’t really in Jude’s life,  based on the events of that took place during  The Cruel Prince, you could still sense his presence.

In regards to Jude and Carden. I think that is the textbook definition of enemies to lovers done extremely perfectly. Their dialogue throughout the book is amazing. Even though they hate each other, and I mean really hate each other, you could tell that in the back of their mind, they want each other so badly. Even some of Jude’s inner dialogue about that is funny.

With the cliffhanger. My god, why is wait for the next book so long? I need to know what happens next.

In the end, The Wicked King, was a fantastic read that added so much layers to this already great universe. With even more political intrigue, I could not put this book down. Also filled with rich and lustful characters that I cannot wait to see how the story continues.

Grade: 5/5