by Natasha Ngan
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #2
Release Date: November 5th 2019
Genres: F/F, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Magic, Romance, YA
Format Read: ARC, eBook
In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.
Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn't the end of the plan---it's just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei's head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“Because it’s what I am. Not a Paper Girl anymore, just ‘girl’–almost a caste of its own. An oppressed caste, yes, but one braver and bolder and capable of more brilliance than any other in this world.”
This book explores two main concepts: the effects of trauma and doing horrible things in the name of the greater good. As you can imagine, Lei and Wren are both healing and learning how to cope with the abuse they suffered in the last book. Lei thought killing the King would give her peace of mind yet he still haunts her dreams. Then, Lei finally witnesses what war is like: violent, strategic, horrific, and brutal. She never realized that sometimes people have to do something bad to gain the upper hand in war.
The Girls of Storm and Shadow is a decent sequel. Lei’s character development is executed very well. Through the course of the book, Lei learns that things aren’t black and white. A person isn’t all good or all bad; they’re a mixture of good and bad. However, the pacing is too slow for my taste. The story didn’t pick up until around page 200–which is about halfway through the book. It felt as if the whole point of this book was to set-up the next book.
One of my biggest complaints besides the slow pacing is the fact that Wren and Lei have a lot of miscommunication in this book. Instead of talking things through or asking why one of them does something, they keep it to themselves and get upset instead. I’m sorry, but I’m not a fan of this being used as a plot device. It makes the characters seem immature; they refuse to see things from the other’s perspective.
All in all, I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoyed the first book, just keep in mind it’s the middle book in a series. It’s not the most action-packed book, but it’s full of character development, and events that are leading us to what I expect to be an explosive finale.
Hi, I’m Skye! I’m a college student by day and a bookstagrammer and book blogger by night. 😉 I’m also fluent in the language of sarcasm, so my kryptonite in any book is great witty banter.
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