Girls of Paper and Fire Readalong: Day 4

Photo by @myfriendsarefiction

It’s Day 4, baby! It’s the middle of our readalong, can you believe that?? It’s going so fast!

Do you have any Sunday traditions? For a while me and my boyfriend would have french toast every Sunday. Not sure why we stopped, I should get back on that!

Can I just say how much it warms my heart seeing you guys discussing the book in the comments? I love the conversations you’re having!

Today we’re reading chapters 17-22, so without further a-do let us get on it! 

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Girls of Paper and Fire chapters 1-22 inclusive. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!



An interesting start to the day, our teacher has a Professor Trelowney moment from The Prisoner of Azkaban! That was quite chilling though, right? All that fire! What do you think that prophecy means exactly? Do you trust it? Time to speculate!



Lei couldn’t find her mother’s name on the list, which then makes her believe she has been killed and didn’t make it to the palace. Might be the case but I still feel like she can be the hidden queen! It must just be me being extra dramatic! It would make for a very good plot device, however I don’t wish that fate for her so maybe best to forget this notion.

The king constantly seems so unhinged, almost like Joker from Batman. What was that little talk about the gods being angry about? Punish those who disobey? It’s like you can’t predict what he will do next because whatever he does doesn’t seem to follow any rational thought and his delusional conclusions could lead anywhere! That’s one of the scariest types of a villain to me, because how the hell can you counter somebody who doesn’t make sense, you know?

Okay chapter 20 is dark. First we have the woman who didn’t get her magic fix and is shedding her face skin off, and then the slaves the king is giving away as ‘gifts’. How, in his head, is that going to please the gods? See previous point!! (P.S. that skin part is still visually haunting me.)


We see Wren with somebody else but she then quickly says there’s nobody we should actually worry about, they have their moment!! But Lei runs away. Why Lei, why?!! People do tend to run away from things that could make them happy.

A very interesting point is brought up about the hurtful society’s assumption about your love interests, specifically that it’s always heterosexual. I’m sure this is a point a lot of LGBT+ community members would say is very accurate. I’m glad this is pointed out.

We learn about Xia family and that Wren is part of them, I don’t really know why the noblemen kept her, maybe she’ll tell us that there’s a resistance already in place and that’s what the guard was part of? I can’t say that I am surprised by Wren’s “secret” as I think it was very heavily hinted towards something like that so I’m glad we have that addressed here rather than later! 

Lei has accepted her mother is dead and says it for the first time, this is a truly sad scene. What a sad note to end our day on! If you still have your mothers around, make sure to let them know you love them <3

Hope you had a brilliant weekend and are nice and rested for the week to come! We got 3 more reading days left, we can do this! I know it’s getting darker and darker, and we all know it’ll only get worse until things start picking up so let’s all send each other good vibes! 🙂 




35 thoughts on “Girls of Paper and Fire Readalong: Day 4

  1. I love The end with Wren and Lei. Is it weird that I am impatient to see the next time The king will choose Lei? I want to know what her reaction will be.
    I like Zelle too she is interesting.

    1. OMG I’m so curious too! I don’t want her to be called by him but at the same time I’m dying to know what will happen.

      1. Yes i feel like that too. I’m just curious ?

  2. The book keeps getting better and better.

    When Lei said out loud that her mother was dead I felt bad. But at the same time, maybe that’s what will give her the strength to fight all of this. Maybe now she will be able to trick everyone. I don’t know. But dead is better than being the hidden Queen right?

    I love Lei and Wren together.

    And OMG I thought the same thing when the teacher had his “vision” haha

    I cannot wait to see what will happen. At this point I honestly have no idea. I think Lei will find more allies than she expects. There is probably a lot of secrets and conspiracies going on there no? I wouldn’t be surprise.

    1. Same! The teachers vision reminded me so much of poa. especially since he couldn’t remember that he had one! And considering that the King isn’t popular everywhere I`m pretty sure there are definitely conspiracies going on.

      1. Haaa I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking that. I hope we will read some of that and not just pieces of it!

    2. Haha love it that you guys also thought about PoA there 😀

  3. I’m really enjoying the king’s character. I like how I don’t want to completely hate him. I’m really interested to know why he is the way he is. Maybe his father was abusive towards him.

    Also Wren is my type of girl, I love the fact she’s from a warrior clan. I think the romance is panning out quite nicely. I find the most romances in YA novels feel rushed and artificial. This one feels really organic and I’m loving it.

    Last point I want to make, the author does a really good job with passing time. I think we are 4 months into the story. If I remember correctly it took 2 months for the king to pick her and then 2 more months passed. (So only 2 months till her birth pendant opens!!) It feels like her relationships with the other characters have also developed at an appropriate and realistic pace.

    1. I feel that her pendant will open right at the end, which will have a cliffhanger.

    2. Yes! I’m so glad this isn’t your typical YA insta-love. This is how I like relationships in books!

    3. I was thinking the exact same thing about the pace of the romance during the paper tree scene!
      The way their feelings are developing seems very realistic, especially given the dreadful context…

    4. Yes!! 100% prefer a slow burn to insta love!

  4. The end scene between Lei and Wren was so touching. I like that the women have their own place to go to pray for their dead and honour them the right way. It’s something small but it’s their own bit of rebellion against the king.

    I definitely think there is some sort of rebellion running through the court and I hope that’s what Wren’s involved in. Let’s hope so because the King certainly seems a little unhinged! That whole show at the celebration was disgusting and I felt so torn for Lei.

    Underlying everything is Lei’s next visit with the King. What will happen? I agree with the other ladies who have commented, I don’t want Lei to have to face him but I really want to see how that will play out.

  5. I couldn’t help it I finished the book yesterday. I did however pause at the end of each section so I could still join in without spoiling. Here’s my thoughts on these chapters.

    Madam Himura is horrible.
    I think I believe Madam Eira is nice. I don’t think she sent the letters though.

    Lill continues to be a sweetheart (and almost a younger sister to Lei) and if anything happens to her!!!

    Master Tekoa had a Trelawney moment. Think the guesses for the word Fire are apt

    Is ‘Tears I hadn’t known were falling’ – the new ‘breath I didn’t know I was holding’?

    The old paper girl. A statement on the nature of youth and beauty – and perhaps plastic surgery.

    For a moment based on Aoki’s claims and how he acted at the party I thought the Demon King might have some humanity but then …nope.

    The Sickness – allegory for Climate change. Taking too much. Not giving back.

    Lei’s statement that she won’t be touched is making me scared. Will she make it out unscathed?

    I feel so sad for her not finding her mother’s name in the Night House and then Wren’s tribute on the Paper tree.

    And Wren’s secret about her origin. Wonder how the King would react. Although she didn’t explain why she’d been meeting with the Wolf. Does she have magic?

    So nearly with the kiss. Happy that Lei doesn’t think it’s wrong, believes their attraction is natural but that their circumstances prevent it.

    1. “For a moment based on Aoki’s claims and how he acted at the party I thought the Demon King might have some humanity but then …nope.” – I like how he’s so unpredictable sometimes, you don’t quite know at the start if he’s redeemable or not and it adds more layers to the whole thing

  6. There is so much mystery and spookiness with the chapters!

    The most schocking would have to be Wern’s secret! I’m schock at that little bevolopment and can’t wait to see where it goes. I also have a bad feeling about the King, he’s giving me all the wrong vibes that he’s gonna do more damage than good. I’m also really interested to see where Master Tekoa’s vision/ prophecy goes!

    Things are a’brewin!

    What was your favorite or spookiest parts about today’s chapters?

    1. The vision was surely the spookiest part of the chapters. I have a good feeling that the pendant will have a word inside that has to do with fire or the word fire itself.

      So far, Lei has been defiant in trying to run away before going on the ship to the palace and refusing the King. It’s a strong possibility that the word in the pendant will reflect those actions.

    2. To me it was still that peeling off skin… the visual!!

  7. I do also think Lei’s Mother could be the Hidden Queen! I do also really want a tragic-yet-amazing-and-loving mother and daughter finally meet – I’m all in for the drama!
    Which also mean I can’t wait for the next time the king calls for Lei. I want to see her be fierce and brace again!!

    1. Oooh, that would be a nice little twist!

  8. It’s not exactly a tradition, but we often get together with friends on Sundays to play games.

    I agree with a lot that has been said already. I really like Lei and Wren together, but I’m worried that Wren told Lei a partial truth about where she has been going and I hope what she has been up to isn’t revealed in a way that drives them apart.

    1. Aw that’s a lovely way to spend a Sunday!

  9. The scene between Lei and Wren under the tree with paper leaves is so precious, and a very welcome break from all the tension. <3

    Wren's reveals didn't surprise me, but I do wish she'd also explain the wolf soldier's presence to Lei. If they're planning something against the King, surely Lei would be an obvious ally!

    Sad to see how blind Aoki is to the injustice of the court. Just because you are capable of enjoying some parts of being a paper girl, doesn't take away the fact that it's imprisonment and rape. Of course the King will make her feel special – but he'll do that with all of them, right?

    Lastly, I don't really understand Lei's strong sense of responsibility and guilt. Why should she be the one to protest (and face the severe consequences of that) when paper people are being mistreated? Why should she feel guilty for managing to find some sources of comfort in her existence (food, friendship, love, beautiful gardens) while she's imprisoned? I never get how someone can feel guilty in a situation in which they are so clearly a victim. Not to say that she should give up – I do believe rebels like her can make an impact – but she needs to realise that she can't save everyone by herself. (and hopefully that's where Wren and some other potential allies come in. Perhaps Zelle will play a part too, if it comes to a rebellion? And some of the former Paper Girls?)

  10. These past chapters, Chapter 20 in particular, were kinda dark. I was shocked and saddened for Lei and other characters.

    What I love about this book so far is Lei’s internal struggle. She tries her hardest to toe the line between what she wants, freedom, and what she has to do as a Paper Girl. Lei knows that her rebellion will mean punishment for her family. It’s so heart wrenching to see her go through this.

    In addition, her scenes with Wren were as well. The topic of them being together comes up, and Lei denies herself the chance due to a warning from the King. Again, she knows she has to comply or her family pays for actions. Including loving another Paper Girl.

    The scene in the temple was revealing and emotional for me. We learn more about Wren, that she isn’t who we thought, and that Lei’s mother is very likely dead. The two now have a bond over who they’ve lost. I just hope they can be together somehow and find peace with each other.

  11. THe prophecy part killed me, what in hell wD

    Omg, I believe that too, or she’s in a rebel group that we’ll discover later being all badass and all.
    The king is too delusional and religious, he doesn’t seem to understand what he’s doing wrong and how that can have consequences, just treating others like trash and slaves when… dude, learn your history, without them you’d have nothing. And he’s all sweet, then says something like that talk…. I’m afraid this is going wrong for Lei the next time she’s called up.
    It’s also crazy how people have qi abuse consequences and still continue, like, really? Does no one see anything wrong here?

    (I believe in the resistance too, it’d make sense)

    God, I need to

    1. Agreed about the king, he’s out of it!

  12. I was behind on readalong so I read chapters between 6-22. So much has happened and I can’t get enough of this book.

    To me the King seems weird… Why is he so obsessed with Lei? He was literally happy to see Lei. ?

    I love how Lei’s feelings for Wren are growing and even she doesn’t recognize it. I liked how jealous she got when she saw Wren with the wolf guard. I wanna just read the book till the end.<3

    And one more thing.

    What do you think that reads in Lei's pendant?

    1. I think the word ‘Fire’ is inside her pendant

  13. Woah, the book is getting dark indeed. I didn’t make a lot of notes. I only wrote down scenes that made me smile:

    1) ‘So you’re the one who will be babysitting me.”
    “Who else would it be? Didn’t you know, Lei, I’m at the top of the class?”
    “Is that so?” Glancing round to make sure the other girls are out of earshot, I add, “Top of what class? Thievery?”
    Her eyes glint, but she keeps her voice casual. “Yes, I heard about some food going missing from the kitchens. A real mystery. Do you have any idea where it went?”
    I grin. “Into someone’s belly, I expect.”
    “Well, I hope that person enjoyed them.”
    “I’m certain they did.”
    Wren smiles, a warm, honeyed curl of her lips that draws my eyes.’

    2) ‘What are you doing?”
    I whirl round. Zelle is standing in the doorway.
    “I-I was just looking for something,” ……
    “I can see that.” Her voice is hard, but not unkind. She squints at the scroll in my hands. “What exactly were you looking for?”
    “My mother,” I mumble thickly.
    “Your mother is a piece of paper?’

    I swear Zelle deserves her own book.

  14. The only prediction of mine is that Lei’s mother isn’t dead but actually the Demon Queen. Anyone had the same thought??

  15. Definitely prefer that this book has a slow burn romance that builds.
    It’s interesting to read a ya fantasy where the main character isn’t the one with secrets of being a secret warrior or lost heir , in this case Wren is, although I’m intruiged to see what comes about from the fire prophecy and her birth pendant

  16. That prophecy, wow. It was a little scary?
    I feel so sorry for Aoki, she’s being drawn in by the toxic King, like she’s falling under his spell.
    I love that Wren is very much presented like your typical main character, the last heir to a powerful dynasty, a warrior. And yet, she’s there on the side, second to Lei. I *love * it. And the two of them? Oh my, so precious.
    I do have to admit though, I am TERRIFIED of the King. He’s so unstable and vicious and he believes he’s the hero of everyone’s story and that’s SCARY.
    My favourite quote from this part was:
    Never has it felt more true. Because it appears I have found a new person to betray, and it might be the worst one yet.
    Cora |

  17. Goodness! I love the idea with the hidden queen being her mother!! That would be an amazing plot twist!!! I really want to see that happening. And yes, I’m pretty sure her mother isn’t dead. It could still be possible for her mother to be in the Night Court too. Lei only looked up the year her mother was taken. It could be that her mother had another ‘use’ before becoming part of the Night Court…

  18. I forgot to post yesterday! I thought the whole prophecy part was exactly like Trelawney too! I liked that we got to see more past Paper Girls. The mention of them staying in court after the year was up was so confusing to me because I just kept thinking well what will they be doing then? The shaman magic causing that one woman’s face to fall off was so creepy! Also if the Gods are angry maybe it’s because you’re allocating magic for silly stuff like making women look younger/nicer? We’re finally really learning about the mysterious Wren! She’s the last of the Xia warriors! I’m so sad Lei has given up hope for her mother being alive. It always seemed likely that she wasn’t but I felt like that hope was really helping Lei survive this ordeal.

  19. I couldn’t read on saturday so I binged read all the chapiters from that day and the ones of sunday. I really really like this book. My main concern is with Aoki. I’m quite sure she’ll betray Lei or at least Wren, which actually means the same thing. I don’t think Lei’s mother is dead, although it would be much more if a surprise than the opposite. I’m quite sure Wren is part of a plot to kill the king or usurp his throne. And the melting face… This was sooooo disturbing.

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