4.5 stars (:
Thank you to Edelweiss and Hachette for granting me access to this advance copy for review.
When I heard the synopsis of this book, I was immediately hooked and needed to read it as soon as possible. I dived straight into this as soon as I could and started to read right away. In short, this book was stunning.
The writing was magnificent. Natasha Ngan made this complex and magical world feel so real and able to picture. The characters were wonderful as well as their relationships with one another. Lei was a fantastic main character, strong, resilient, emotional and even naive at times. She took every experience and every interaction to heart and felt everything so deeply. Even though the circumstances of these girls seem inhumane to the reader, getting to know Lei, Aiko, Wren and yes even Blue, gave the story a layer of empathy.
I thought that the metaphor of paper for these girls was absolutely excellent and was referenced many times throughout the novel. If a girl was deemed “unfit” or “dirty” the paper would be seen as soiled or rotten and the palace would punish them in turn. The girls became so afraid of breaking and punishment that they subdued. The use of paper to describe how these girls are seen and then telling the story from the point of view of a girl who defies this and makes her paper status stronger with the fire of love? Absolutely brilliant.
I absolutely loved this book, I had such a great time reading it and I’m going to need the second book (I’m hoping there is one, how could there not be after that) as soon as possible.