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Girls of Paper and Fire Readalong: Day 1

Team FairyLoot

Photo by @chapter_break

EDIT: Please note there is also another post for this blog HERE on another website. You can either comment here or there. All future blog posts will be on this website though! 🙂

Happy Thursday!

I loved reading all of your introductions from the previous post (you can find it here), it feels as if we’ve had a little ’round the table’ meeting with our fellow book club members! Wish I could provide some chocolate chip cookies and tea for the meetings 🙂  

It’s the first day of our very first Readalong guys! I am beyond excited and I really hope this will be a super fun and interesting experience for you.

Today we’re reading chapters 1 to 5 so if you haven’t had the chance to read those yet, go grab yourself a snack, cuddle up with the book and come back once these pages are done!

As I mentioned on our Instagram stories, I will be keeping these discussions very much on a friend-to-friend manner, not official at all so we can all be as relaxed as we wish.

Without further a-do, let’s start talking about our book! Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Girls of Paper and Fire chapters 1-5 inclusive. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!

Here are my thoughts and questions from day one!


First thing we learn about the world is that girls receive the birth pendants that will open on their 18th birthdays and reveal a single word that shapes or embodies their fate. Our main character Lei is no exception. I thought that was such a cool concept and made me instantly curious and invested. What a smart technique to snag people’s attention!

What do you think the word be for you?? Let us know in the comments! 

I think mine would be ‘HUNGRY’. 

I remember learning about caste-like systems at school. We often have these in fantasy books in one way or another; this class separation, however rarely actually specified and acknowledged as one. I found this a very interesting setting, especially since this is inspired by Asian culture. The demon – human dynamic reminded me a bit of muggle – Death Eater relationship. Anyone agree? 

We get introduced to the family: we have our devoted father and a mother figure. And let’s not forget Bao. Our little sweet dog. And then the general arrives, barges in and kills the dog!



Wut. Excuse me?


I was not expecting that. Admittedly I do have a soft spot for animals but BOI that escalated quickly! Definitely turned from a fairly calm setting, just a normal day in Lei’s life, to a dark heart-ripping one in a matter of seconds.

Is anyone else plotting revenge plans against the general? No? Just me? That’s okay.

Lei is taken from her home and my heart bleeds for her. It seems like this is reminiscent of how her mother was taken, I can’t help but feel utterly awful for Lei’s father. Losing your wife is unthinkable, however there is nothing worse than seeing your daughter taken in the same manner while being powerless to stop it. This scene was one of the hardest ones to read, it didn’t even take up a lot of the chapter and yet it was still so vivid and memorable.

During our ride we learn a couple of important bits of information about the world setting. We know there is magic here, we learn some of the most powerful magicians are called shamans. We learn that the General is bringing her to the King as an “offering” or as a “special gift” since her unusually golden eyes are considered a good omen. He then proceeds to threaten to harm her family if she doesn’t try to fit in and be accepted as the 9th Paper Girl. Honestly, this guy better get what is coming for him.

I do really appreciate us being introduced to some of the motivations behind people’s actions from the very beginning, it makes such a difference to me as a character driven reader. Do you enjoy these bits or do you prefer a more delayed reveal? Don’t worry, there will be more of that here too!

The road is definitely harsh for Lei, and the sea is even harsher. We have a fox boy helping us out, there’s one bit that stuck out to me, it was him replying to Lei after being asked why he would help a paper girl. He says that Paper caste needs help more than anyone else. It was oddly touching and infuriating at the same time.

The moment they mention the Cat Clan I instantly question if we will be united with their goal somewhere further in the plot. Anyone else? Any predictions?? I mean, it’s the only demon clan that opposes the king! I think that could be a fun direction.

After arriving at the palace we are taken to meet Madam Himura. I sense Professor Umbridge vibes, don’t know about you. Regardless, don’t think we will be best buds with her, just a hunch. But if Lei does get into her good books maybe we will gain some protection? It would be great to have someone in the palace to rely on at the time of need.

So maybe?

This is where our first part ends. What did you think?? I want to know it all! What parts stood out to you the most? What word do you predict Lei will have in her pendant? Do you think we will get to open it in this book?? God, I hope so! I’m such a curious egg.

We are reading chapters 6-11 tomorrow! Don’t forget to check Fairyloot’s Instagram page for some stories and posts relating to the Readalong. Beware, Instagram is a spoiler-free zone! 

I’ll see you tomorrow, have a good one!






  • Karolina

    Personally I find the first 100 pages quite boring. But it’s get better later.

  • Sabrina

    I already know this is going to be a hard read at times. I find cruelty towards others for no other reason than because their different hard to stomach.
    I like how quickly the story moves along. So many YA books lately take ages to get going. This one is giving us backstory without stopping the pace of the story. Nice balance.
    I agree with your theories; Cat Clan going to be helpful, Madam going to be nasty, General going to be reformed.
    Looking forward to the next bit. Also having a stiff drink with me to do so.

  • Also Sabrina

    Hi everyone! So far I think the book is nicely written. I do still have a few questions about the whole situation of Paper Girls – 8 girls every year? That seems like a lot of girls accumulating over the years. Do they stay year to year? If not, where do they go? I’m still undecided about how I feel about General Yu. The fact that he got demoted for being sassy towards the King kind of won a few points, but his scheme to use Lei to get back into good graces – ehhhhh. To be fair, I’m not always the best at judging characters from the get-go but idunno, it kind of seems like he needs Lei’s help, so maybe Lei will find a way to turn that back around? I’m hoping we get to see a little more into the other side of the story, like maybe being Moon Caste isn’t all that’s cracked up to be? Also, every time they mention moon I instantly think of “Moon Moon” and it’s hard not to giggle (anyone else know what I’m talking about?)

  • Kenzie Manning

    I agree, I think the Cat Clan is going to be a pivotal point in the plot considering they are known to be rebels against the King. I really like it so far, but that scene with the dog made me so mad that I literally cried for a minute! I really hope that the General and Sith get offed later in the book, that is my greatest wish.

    Excited to continue on with the book tomorrow!


  • Julenka

    Hey guys, I’m catching up on the read and adding my thoughts now!
    Personally, I also loved the fast pacing of the book and wasn’t bored one bit of it. I love the cast-system setting and that it’s so vital to the story. Also, right in the beginning we get to know that Tien is Steel, so there’s exceptions from the rule and there’s no all Paper is good, all Steel and Moon are evil thinking there.
    Another fact I liked was that you get the motivation of the General revealed in a way, that it doesn’t feel too … i don’t know, just for the sake of the story going on. It fit in well, like it could have happened like that in real life, too.

    The murdering of the dog didn’t touch me much, although it usually always does. It just felt a bit forced for me, like too much seeking emotion from the reader.

  • Cora @ Tea Party Princess

    I had to stop reading and go and give my puppy a cuddle and make myself another cup of tea. Honestly it was such an intense start, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
    I do get what you’re saying about the General, it felt like he softened towards her a bit and he revealed a touch of resentment towards the King with regards to his scar. It’ll be interesting to see where his loyalties lie!
    My favourite quote from this section was:
    “Because if this is to be my fate, I’m going to walk boldly into it on my own two feet.”

    I’ve had a good read through everyone’s comments, I love being able to theorise about everything.
    A lot of people said they thought it was weird that the General told her so much but I interpreted it as him not being able to help himself because he was so pleased with himself for bringing Lei to the King. Like he was boasting but didn’t have anyone else to boast to so he showed his superiority and her ignorance by telling her things.
    Also I got to imagining if Lei’s pendant said “Smile” and how kind of bittersweet that would be – that she’s essentially lost from her family but even the word in her pendant, the name they gave her, link them. You can’t help but smile when you say her name. I am Romantic haha.

    Cora |

  • Teamara

    Finally had time to sit down and read.. I will try to catch up and comment on each read-along section.
    I like the writing style of the author, though some scenes are a bit predictable and I hope it gets a bit more surprising for me. So far I am unsure what to think of the general… but after the dog scene it will be hard to think good about him. I believe madame himura will turn out to be strict and hard for the sake of the paper girls..
    I think lei’s word might be queen or savior.
    Mine would maybe be.. Teacher
    The most notable and most intriguing part for me is where she mentions smells and views to feel welcoming and familiar. A reminder of her home. I guess this will turn out to be related to her mom.
    I’m very curious to see where i’m right and wrong 😀
    To the next 5 chapters!

  • cskea1

    I’m really late to the game but I’m here.
    Ok, so I’ve had to put the book down after the brutal killing of little Bao. I’m a mess now. Unnecessary death. For a very emotional response from readers. It’s hit me hard as I’ve had to deal with a lot of deaths in the last 10 year’s.
    Had to take a break. I will be back.

  • Malaika

    I’m enjoying the book. It gets a little slow at points but then it picks up so it’s okay till now. My only problem is the part where bao is killed. That emotionally hurt me as I’m a huge dog lover and have a dog of my own. Reading that scene literally made a cry and till now whenever they mention bao I get this really bad feeling. I will never be able to eat bao’s again without remembering this scene and being disturbed.

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