Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 3 stars Series: yes - final book of trilogy
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE and GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW*
To save the kingdom and their love, the girls of paper and fire must find their way back to each other.
The Hidden Palace is the last place Lei hoped to find herself. As a captive, she’s put on display as the Demon King’s sign that war is on the horizon – and he intends to win. But Lei learned long ago that paer is never as fragile as it seems, and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring down the kingdom from within.
Outside the palace walls, Wren is desperate to rescue her love. Charged by her father to fight in the impending battle, Wren sees the brutality of war up close. As she makes her way across Ikhara, she’ll question what sacrifice for the greater good truly means.
With the two girls torn apart and each in great peril, will they reunite at last – or have their destinies diverged forever?
Blurb taken from back copy of book. Add to your Goodreads shelves here.
It has taken me a while to get around to it, but here with are with GIRLS OF FATE AND FURY, the finale to the GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE trilogy.
I would say this book is probably a slight victim of my shifting reading tastes over the past two-and-a-half years since I read the previous instalment. Structurally, it does feel very much like it follows the mid-2010s YA formula for a final book in a trilogy.
The pacing is good, so it wasn’t difficult to get through it, but I did struggle to invest enough to get emotional. I was never convinced that the two girls were in danger (I just did not feel like the book would actually kill off either girl, which undercut the tension) and, despite there being an impressive body count of other characters (who’d had at least one book to be established in), I didn’t feel anything when the next person died.
It’s quite a compact book for the amount of ground it has to cover, particularly once you realise the last 10% is all epilogue. It means there never quite felt like enough time spent on events, character or plot, as so it’s going along a bit too fast to land properly.
However, it does deliver on the promise of battles and war to tear down the king. And we do get a big showdown, which would have been very disappointing if it had been missing.
Unlike the previous entries, this book is dual POV with Wren’s narration joining Lei’s as they are apart for much of the book. Lei’s part is still written in first person present tense but Wren’s is in third person past tense. While this does really help keep the two separate (you know within a line who’s speaking, if you happen to not register the name under the chapter number), it does mean that there is a much greater distance between the reader and Wren.
That did make it a bit harder to follow along her emotional journey, particularly given she had to go through the biggest change over the book (unlike Lei who got three books to go through it.) I think it wouldn’t have felt so stark a contrast if Lei’s “literally inside her head” chapters hadn’t been interspersed with Wren’s.
Read my reviews of other books by Natasha Ngan:
Girls of Paper and Fire (this series):