Girls of Paper and Fire Readalong: Day 3

Photo by @book_roast

Happy Saturday!

Finally the long awaited weekend! Do you guys have any plans? 

I’m going to be reading. SHOCKER, I know!

I hope this includes sitting down with Girls of Paper and Fire too! According to our super-mega-seriously-official schedule (I’m joking, please make sure that the reading pace suits you!) we are reading chapters 12-16 today. Let’s go!


Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Girls of Paper and Fire chapters 1-16 inclusive. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!



The fact that Lei is forced to genuinely try and be accepted as a Paper Girl and be selected for a summon in order to protect her family makes me want to scream. But would any of us actually risk checking the validity of that threat? Not when your family is on the line.

During the dance lessons, Wren sort of hints towards the possibility that all girls are blackmailed in one way or another to be here. I shouldn’t be surprised by this because, who would willingly choose to be in this position? However, everything that we have publicly learnt so far point towards some pride and honour of being selected as Paper Girl; something any paper caste girl should be “lucky” to be selected as. It’s sickening, but I feel like it’s a true to reality: how certain things are glorified even when the reality of those positions is very grim. Fame for example. Or beauty. So many horrible stories have emerged fairly recently from people who suffered silently everyday, yet their status still remains a dream & goal to many. Life, eh?

At least we’re starting to talk about it!

Again, we are lulled with this calmness of a new-found routine, that does give most people comfort. I’m a person who gets a kick from being organised, so can relate. And then something horrible happens – Aoki is selected to go to the King. Our sweet, youngest Paper Girl and Lei’s first friend here. Damn it!


Previously Lei has asked to send some letters to her family. Do you think the family actually receives them? Because I am highly sceptical. I feel like Lei is as well, but writing these might work as a coping mechanism.

Ooooh Wren is sneaking about.


I personally really do like the fact that we learn a bit more about Blue because I don’t believe for a second that a person becomes a bully ‘just because’. There’s always a story behind it, not that that justifies it, not at all. However, it did make me feel a ping of pity for her. Imagine your parents using you as a pawn in their political games to an extent where they’re happy to send you out as a concubine to a demon. And then ignore you just for added injury. Makes me want to hug my parents and thank them for not selling me out. They’d be so confused haha

The dreaded moment has come. Lei is chosen. The one good thing that seems to come out of this is that we meet Zelle, whom I instantly like. You can feel her rebellious nature from the very first moment we start speaking to her. And she says:

‘Yes, they like to think they’re in charge, ordering us around and taking women for their own whenever they fancy. But is that true power? They can take and steal and break all they want, but there is one thing they have no control over. Our emotions.’

Considering the situation, I think those are the only words that can make you feel even a little bit less defeated.

The scene with the king is so intense, the atmosphere, you can sense the tension. I think I forgot to breathe a little bit when I was reading this.




Oh no but she gets knocked out. The short lived win is now leaving me very anxious as to what will happen to her now. This book.


What comes next is so unbelievably cruel, yet is presented by Madame Hamura as “mercy”. She beats her up. I feel so much hatred towards this stupid woman. You’d think she’d be more sympathetic after dealing with Paper Girls for so many years. It feels even more like a betrayal, I expected her to be on our side eventually, when it mattered. Guess not.  She must be one that really does believe Paper Caste is lower than them.

Lei is imprisoned. Prison within a prison. 

We get a little flashback moment with Lei and her mother. I love Lei’s mother; she seems wise and I love her yin-yang based coping mechanism, which is basically a breathing exercise.

Like some type of rescue angel, Wren appears. Yay! She brings food! My favourite type of person is the one that gives me food!

Where DOES she go? The way she said that Lei is making it hard for her, I think she has some conspiracy to bring this whole thing down.

What do you think? She’s definitely up to something.




30 thoughts on “Girls of Paper and Fire Readalong: Day 3

  1. I love this books so so much and I can’t express how proud I am of Lei for standing up to the king (who I hate btw). Lei is my freaking queen!! Also I love Wren and I’m very very excited for her and Lei to get a bit closer 😉

    1. Agree Agree Agree haha

  2. The fact that so many women are allowing others to be treated this way really gets my back up. Madam H is one I’d love to smack. Her role reminds us that a lot of abuse against women us helped by other women. Whereas Madam E is compassionate, understanding having been in that situation herself.
    The tension and description in many scenes is really emotive; totally in Lei’s shoes making me feeling the frustration, angry, helplessness and degregation.
    Can I kill the king? The aggrogance of him is disgusting, as most men who use rape to assert their position of power are.
    I’m not surprised we had the last minute ‘save’ of Lei, that she wasn’t raped, as that does built the tension for next time, how long will she stay safe though? Will she get through the whole book almost untouched, or will the author actually have her lead character raped? Tough one that
    Going to have some chocolate now to try and feel a bitter better.
    Certainly a good read, though I wouldn’t call it escapism.

    1. I’m right here with you. I know violence doesn’t solve anything but BOI Madam H is really pushing it.

    2. I agree that the fact that all these women condone this horrible tradition and help “prepare” the girls for it, seemingly without any qualms, makes it even worse. I hope we get to see at least some of these women join forces to take down the King.
      And yes, Madam H definitely deserves a good smacking, especially after that last chapter…

  3. Wow. That was intense and I do feel worried about next time. G so far the King is nothing like in The Wrath and the Dawn but then he isn’t actually the love interest.

    I loved Zelle too and hope we get to see more of her.

    I’m sad asking about the Birth Blessing name is taboo- I want to know everyone’s. It’s a bit similar to not asking the result of the faction test in Divergent.

    Yay for Wren bring her food and smiling and the growing relationship between them, and for Lei finally realising her attraction. I found it interesting that male/male relationships seem to be commonplace in this world but not female/female.

    I think I’m going to read on but I’ll make notes at the end of each section stop.

    1. Same! I want to know everybody’s words, especially Wrens! I think in part because we know it’s taboo so we want it even more, damn it! 😀

    2. I’m with you. I hope we at least get to know what Lei’s Birth Blessing word is.

    3. I’m curious about the birth blessing name as well! I hope we will find more about it later

  4. I love this book, I finally have time to catch up and I’ve read 16 chapters. I’m proud of Lei, what she does was extraordinary strong, she doesn’t believe it but anyway it is. I like Wren too, and mistress Eira, these woman are sweet and I’m impatient to read the next chapter.

    1. Yes! Girl power! She was so brave at that point.

  5. Just a few things to sum up the last 5 chapters

    – I’m not okay with Lei’s nightmares ‘Look what you’ve done.” He holds up his arms. From his hands, my father’s and Tien’s severed heads hang, blood dripping to the floor. “Catch,” he calls, and throws them to me.I wake up, a scream dying on my lips.’ Poor girl
    – Wren dancing with Lei, my heart melts.
    – Aoki is chosen and I feel so bad for her. So young and vurnerable.
    – Yeah, Eira isn’t sending the letters to Baba and Tien.
    – What’s is Wren up to?
    – I was shocked by chapter 15 and 16. Speachless… but chapter 16. Wren <3 Oh my I love her so much!

    I have no words to actually describe how I currently feel about this book. At first I thought it was okay. But now it is brilliant.
    ps. I absolutely hate the Bull King. He is digusting.

    1. The nightmares were written in such an accurate dream manner, it really felt horrific!

  6. For some reason I feel like Aoki will end up betraying Lei, probably because she’s still too young and she can be easily manipulated by the Demon King.
    I do need more Lei-Wren moments. I want to see how their relationship will evolve, considering that Wren seems so “serious” all the time. Even if she’s sneaking out!
    Finally, Zelle is my GURL! When I read that part I felt like it was actually me talking to Lei.
    I love how Natasha bring up those sensitive issues, the fact that there are societies where women aren’t supposed to be in charge, which is totally infuriating by the way, and the fact that they come up with clever ways to outsmart the men that keep them captive.

    1. Honestly, I want a whole seperate novella on Zelle, I hope we see more of her later!

      1. That would be amazing! I hope so, too. I don’t want her to be just a secondary character.

  7. I’m probably wrong, but I’m hoping Wren is a spy and the Hannos are working on overthrowing the monarchy from within. If so she’s most likely sneaking out at night to leave messages for her allies. Maybe her destiny is to kill the king.

    1. I really hope so! At least I think Wren is not just sneaking out to meet a lover or something like that. I’m pretty sure it must be really important (not just for her) or she wouldn’t risk getting caught. I can’t wait to find out!

      1. Exactly my thoughts!

      2. Agreed. I wish I had been taking notes. I started paying closer attention to what Wren was doing after it was revealed she was a Hanno because of a comment Lei made in Chapter 4.

        “The largest Paper caste clan in Ikhara, the Hannos are one of the Demon King’s most prominent supporters […] So why were two of their men talking with one of the King’s main opponents?” (page 38)

        Lei keeps mentioning how Wren moves like a cat. I don’t think it is a coincidence. I wonder if the Cat Clan helped train her.

  8. Whoa, quite a lot happened in the last few chapters! I think I’m still processing everything that happened…
    I feel so much anxiety when I think about the King calling on Lei again. On the other hand, I love that she was brave enough to run away from him, it shows that she hasn’t given up yet and is willing to fight, even if it might be hopeless. She is so courageous, it’s really admirable.
    The King, though… Urgh, what a horrible man! Somehow the fact that he ordered Lei’s imprisonment (without food!) and wants to call on her again is even worse than if he had just had her killed. It seems he really wants to humiliate her and show her that he will get whatever he want. Now that he knows that she will not simply resign to her fate he is probably even more determined to show her that he owns her.
    Also, I have no words for Madam H. She is just as cruel as the King. Maybe they’re related? Anyway, I really want to smack her, too.
    And while Mistress E seems kind enough, I’m pretty sure Lei’s letters are not delivered to her family. Though that doesn’t necessarily have to be Mistress E’s fault, it could be somebody else intercepting the letters. Anyway, I don’t think the King would want Lei and her family to communicate…
    On the bright side, I am so excited to see Lei and Wren bond! It is so nice to see them open up to each other, especially since Wren seemed so determined to distance herself from everybody. Though her reason is understandable.
    And I really need to know Wren’s secret! What is she up to?

  9. I totally pegged Madame H as the tough love type but I definitely dont feel that way anymore. She perpetuates the stereotype of the moon caste. This book is definitely a page turner. I feel like Wren was disappointed by her birth pendant. I agree with one of the other commenters that she’s probably a spy. What I really want is her to be an assassin and go all Godsgrave on the king. Yea I feel like one of themes of the book is the power of unity and all these women will have stand together again the King’s rule.

  10. These last few chapters were so intense. I really enjoyed the introduction to Zelle, she was such a fun character, there’s a nice spark in her personality. I found the whole no name thing with the Bull King so interesting. I can’t believe they don’t get names, it’s such an interesting concept. I’m also curious how long he’s been the king. Lei remarked on his youngness and he mentioned it himself. I’m so scared of how the next interaction between Lei and the Bull King is going to go. He’s clearly super upset and probably feels humiliated, I worry how much anger he’s going to take out on her. Lei is recognizing her feeling for Wren now and I am so here for it! I loved seeing Wren open up a bit about herself while talking with Lei. Still fully convinced that she’s plotting to take down the king, her secret meetings are obviously important.

  11. I am so in love with this book! It’s so intense and scary in such an elegant yet gruesome way. The way that the characters interact with each other feels so real and raw.

    Wren and Lei are so precious, I love them so much! They have so much subtle chemistry, I really hope that they start getting more comfortable around each other (especially after the end of chapter 16).

    I would love to see where Aoki and Eira’s stories go. I really want them to be good all the way through, but I don’t think that Eira is all that she seems. I don’t think that she’s sending the letters at all and I really hope that that isn’t because of something sinister.

    I’m really curious about what Wren is up to! I really want everything to work out well, but with the way this book is going, I don’t think I should hold high hopes for a perfect, happy ending.

    Really looking forward to reading the next few chapters! ❤❤

  12. Wren be our Spy champion please and take the King down with all this nonsense thing.

    I feel for Lei so much! She was so brave! I wonder if it happened in the past.

    The subject the whole thing makes me a bit uncomfortable but the way it is written simply made me hooked. Fingers crossed for Lei and Wren and the other cute characters I like.

  13. I just wanted to say I’m really enjoying this reading experience! It’s so cool to read along with everyone.
    I’m just getting starting chapter 17 but still can’t get over what happened to Lei’s dog when she was taken. It’s interesting how the Steel and Moon demons have animal attributes but yet see actual animals as beneath them.
    Does anyone else get Laini Taylor chimera vibes from the Moon caste demons?
    Also any fantasy story that makes me want to try literally all of the food mentioned gets a star added from me ?? looking forward to the next chapters!

  14. Finally caught up until this previous day. I’m one day behind with my reading, but oh well.
    I love what you mentioned about Blue, that we get some story of hers and it’s not just an evil character just because. It makes the book so much richer, to not have strictly black and white. But this way, it makes me feel at unease when people are just randomly nice to Lei. Like…why? Maybe they aren’t? Now I’m just confused…
    Also wanted to add that I think,
    -Wren is going away to chat to some Cat Clan people
    – Lill is the cutest and I really love the way that Natasha wrote the character. Very much believeable and lifelike.
    – I can totally understand the struggle of Lei. Not wanting to have fun, because of the horrible situation, but kinda also having to live on somehow…
    – Wren and Lei’s interactions so far is the cutest thing ever
    – The descriptions of feelings and movements and generally all metaphors are so well chosen, poetic and fitting to the Asian setting!
    I’m really loving this story so far!

  15. This book is so amazing!
    Is anyone else thinking about the guard? The one Wren watched to get to Lei? She said he leaves is post to meet someone and Lei asks if it’s one of the Paper Girls and Wren doesn’t answer. She knows someting, doesn’t she?! So I am torn between thinking of some forbidden romance between a guard and a PG (hopefully Aiko, she deserves a bit love) or considering the face that he maybe uses one of the girls for something. So they get raped by the King and this guard, yay….
    But I miiiight interprate too much in this 😀

  16. I had so many things to say up until chapter 15.
    Wren’s secret.
    Zelle is lovely.
    That fox guard ?
    I had to will myself to keep reading, I’ve only read one other book with sexual assault, it didn’t come with a warning otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it and to be quite honest had I known before purchasing my first Fairyloot box I would have held off. I get why it’s important to voice these kind of things, I understand that many suffer in silence and they shouldn’t have to but like most reading is my safe space, it’s my escape. Why read it then you ask? I had a friend read it before the challenge so I knew what to expect and when, it sure as heck didn’t make it any easier to read. I foolishy thought I could handle it.
    I admire Natasha for speaking up about something that happens to so many men and women all over the world but I’m going to duck out of the reading challenge. It’s been so much fun, I will participate in future, after the trigger I’m going to read something else until (if) I’m ready to go back to GoPaF.
    I hope ya’ll enjoy your read.

  17. As atrocious as the court is, I could happily read about it all day? I love the mundane, the slice of life. And then… And then.
    I can’t really focus on anything other than THAT scene, and I’m really glad that the readalong for the day ended on the chapter after. Part of me expected Lei to be dead regardless of her being the main character. But I did like meeting Zelle.
    I feel that Madame Hamura was very panicked and out of control in that last chapter, like she lost her cool. I wonder what pressures and threats she’s under?
    My favourite quote for this part was:
    “This isn’t dancing the way I saw it done back home, all abandon and laughter and loose limbs. This is a kind of clockwork, technical thing.”
    I think it reflects a lot about the Paper Girls and their positions and life at court, their lack of freedom.
    Cora |

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