Girls of Paper and Fire Readalong: Day 6

Photo by @raqreads

Hello lovelies!

Welcome to day 6 of our week long readalong! Almost there now! What are your rating predictions for the book so far? Who’s your favourite character?

We still don’t know the word in the locket, do you reckon we will? You can tell that I can’t let it go haha

We’re talking chapters 28-32 today. It gets heavy. Let’s get to it.

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Girls of Paper and Fire chapters 1-32 inclusive. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!



We start off with one of the Paper Girls getting caught with a lover, the way she’s dragged and marked for life is insane! The whole scene was outrageous, I can’t believe anyone would see this as just. Lei speaks up as, I hope, we all would, but the manner she speaks in makes me so anxious! Gurl, you gonna go get yourself punished again and we cannot handle that, mmmkay? She goes and calls the king a “sad excuse of a leader”.  We might lose a finger over it here but…

We don’t really know much about Mariko, but we do know she’s one of the only friends Blue has. The fact that Blue stays quiet during this whole show is a testament to her unenviable situation. Blue is so set to satisfy her father that she would sacrifice her best friend, yet the said father has not reached out to her once during the whole stay. Wonder what she thinks would happen if she suddenly stopped ‘playing along’? I would be keen to find out.

Some things that we speculated would happen and now we know for sure:

  • Lei has known deep down that her letters to her family are going nowhere
  • She writes for her own benefit to cope with everything
  • Wren IS indeed involved in a plot to assassinate the Demon King

Oh you know, just a small manageable task, no biggie.


Lei is summoned again. This is the chapter we have all been dreading. What made this even worse, for us readers, is that flimsy hope that she will succeed in poisoning him and we will win ourselves a couple more days. Lei has this brilliant, or so it seemed at the time, idea to slip something in his drink, something only she can come up with due to her expertise in herbalism. Because we spend so much page time trying to organise this I really did think it will work. But it didn’t.

This scene has been so hard to read, but it isn’t supposed to be easy. Something snaps in the king, we have seen the glimpses into his insecurities and paranoia before. I think the more insecure and unsure he gets, the crueler he becomes to compensate for it and fake control. Unfortunately, girls like Lei are there at his disposal for this purpose. They are the easy pray to his cruelty, they simply act as tools to boost his bravado. He whispers to Lei that he has personally issued an order that had her mother killed, and he sexually assaults her.

–Please remember that the helpline phone numbers are listed at the start of this book and if you have suffered from physical and/or sexual abuse, there is help available. —

Considering the state and the motivations of the king, I am not too convinced that what he said was true and still hold hope that her mother will reappear. What are your thoughts?

I know the king doesn’t give a second thought to Paper Girls but I wish he knew what he has just done. If Lei was determined to help Wren before, there are no words that do justice to her resolve to end him now. 

After some minor arguing with Wren, she agrees to let Lei be part of the plan and will teach her some self-defence, although we don’t have that much time left so I think Lei will not have that much skill where physical battle is concerned. 

Aaaaaand Wren is gone???

Lei’s told that Wren’s mother has passed away and so Wren was taken home. I’ll eat my FairyLoot beanie if that wasn’t the king’s doing! (But like, not really. I promise nothing!)

Maybe it’s up to Lei now entirely. A furry hand catches us after a while. Guess who? hehe

And that is where we stop for today. Like damn, I hope the worst is behind us!

Thoughts? Feelings?




60 thoughts on “Girls of Paper and Fire Readalong: Day 6

  1. Where is Wren?!?! I want Wren back like seriously. I felt something like that coming but it was so sudden. I wasn’t expecting it to be done that way but hey why not haha But of course she was involved and of course paper caste is not the only one involved. I mean of course there is always some conspiracies going on under our feet. Always.

    And of course her letter were not sent to her father. But I love the fact she admits she does it for herself as well. It’s so realistic and that makes her even more human and loveable.

    From the beginning, I knew she wouldn’t find her mother. Maybe I will be wrong in the 5 next chapters. But I don’t think she was killed either. it just came from nowhere. I’m sure the King said that just so she would feel destroyed from the inside even more, and wouldn’t fight back. He has no self-esteem I feel. So he had to make her believe he has all the power in the world.

    I wonder what is going to happen. How the other characters are going to do in the next chapters. Maybe some interesting twists.

    I honestly don’t know how I will rate that book. It’s a really good book but different things are bothering me. So depending of the ending it will be a four or a three stars. But I’m picky so I will be happy if everyone gives it a 5 stars haha

    Loving this readalong so much! It’s so much work for you I can imagine but I feel so much more like I’m a part of something bigger! Not a part of your team but a part of something. and it’s always a good feeling 🙂 Thank you

    1. Hey! Just want to say I’m also conflicted with how to rate this book… yeah it’s a good book and really unique and all, and I think many others will rate it highly, but there’s a couple of things that are just bothering me too…. I can’t put my finger on all of them and I’ll hold off till the end before judging too fast, but theres just some things that don’t feel quite so right about it all and making me nitpick ?

    2. Totally fine not to rate every book you like 5 stars, I’m personally SO picky with my 5s as well! I’m so very glad to hear you’re enjoying the readalong!! Thank you for saying so!

    3. I would probably give it 3.5-4 stars. It’s just that a few things that bothered me at the beginning of the book.

  2. Oh no. I though Lei was going to escape with her herbs but ?. I’m glad it happened off page but having to endure that just after full confirmation her mother was killed.

    Kenzo’s kindness and the fact she made up with Aoki is positive though.

    And I hope her involvement means that Wren survives although this is a series so I’m guessing the assassination doesn’t happen.

    And then I get to chapter 32 and it all goes wrong. Poor Wren. Does the King suspect or is it just terrible timing?

    How did Blue guess about Lei and Wren from just that. Surely you’d act that way if she was just your friend too? I hope she won’t say anything.

    I keep flitting ing between 4 and 5 stars

    1. I thought of that! That Wren was suspected so that’s why the King sent her away… I cannot wait to find out

    2. I honestly thought Blue knew from the bath scene! 😀

      1. Same! Thought Blue was sneaking up on them and that she had seen the whole bath scene

  3. Lei is more demanding then ever with Wren but I love how wren is patient with her. And the moment where she tells Kenzo that she loves Lei is so beautiful.

    OMG Chapter 29 was so awful, or at least the end of it. Lei is a brave girl but against a monster it’s not always easy.

    I like Kenzo , I hope I will see him more. The king is an aject man, he ordered the death of Lei’s mother and just after the confession he rapes her. How a man can do a thing like that.

    Wren is gone, or not ? is it real or just a trick.

    Just a question not on this subject: Will you host a readalong for each box ? Because it’s awesome and it’s usefull to motivate me.

    1. That King doesn’t deserve to be a King. I have no respect for him. I wish him the worst.

    2. Yes! We will have these readalongs for the foreseeable future! Will you be joining? x

      1. Yes I’ll be joining, I love it and you’re a wonderful host 🙂

  4. Okay so most of my predictions for this book have been completely wrong ?? which is good because I love a story that surprises me!

    I’m still hoping that Lei’s mother will show up though and I’m gonna be disappointed if she really is dead!

    I can’t believe Wren is gone… did not see that coming! Maybe it’s part of her plan rather than the kings? (??living in hope here)

    THE chapter was awful. Horrible. The King needs to die, painfully, like as soon as possible! Poor Lei ?

    1. As you said he deserves to die…

      I honestly don’t know about Lei’s mother. If she is dead or not? In the palace or not? I’m not even sure we will know the truth at the end. I don’t know I could be wrong about that…

      1. I have a harboring belief that Lei’s mother is the hidden Queen ?‍♀️

    2. That would be cool! But I don’t know if she would risk worrying Lei that much and wouldn’t tell her it’s part of her plan? But that would definitely be a nicer plot twist for us haha

  5. Lei is growing on me as a character – I love her wit and her cleverness with the herbs. I really though she’d succeed.
    THAT chapter was heart breaking. Poor poor girl.

    I think she will kill the king, using what Wren taught her maybe.

    How will it end???

    1. I was hoping she would succeed because it’s almost the end of the book but I was expecting another twist before haha

      I hope it ends good for Lei… And the girls

  6. I also don’t think the King bothered to research the raid on Lei’s village and just told her her mother is dead to break her.
    I hope we’ll see Soraya in the future (not in this book, though).
    And I’m glad the part with the king “faded to black” after the sake scene, that was hard enough to read… Assassination, you said? Yeah, I’m all in.

    I’m so scared for Wren. Did one of the fortune tellers see something?
    Disclaimer: I’m not waiting tomorrow to finish this book ? I just need to know, haha!

    1. Yes! I think the same thing. Just to break her before using her and destroy her mentally and physically… Sadly 🙁

      hahaha I get that feeling. I was about to continue when I decided that I would try to stay strong and play the game haha

    2. Agreed! I think he just wanted to fake more power and just said what he thought would make him feel better and in control.

      Yup, can’t say I’m mad about the possibility of that assassination.

    3. Yup, I definitely think the shamans saw the assaination coming, just like in the theater.

      Wait, I got this great idea, what if the shamans turn against th king? ?

  7. I have this prediction which I don’t exactly know what I will do with or if I want it to come true or not – but after Lei was with the king we didn’t read about her drinking the tea that is supposed to prevent pregnancy… I mean someone could easily have given it to her while she was passed out or we could just not have read about it… but what if Lei becomes pregnant?? Again I don’t really know where I am going with this but the thought just struck me

    1. Oh you’re right! I didn’t think of that actually… OMG imagine…

    2. Oh goodness no… that’s the most awful thought ever and I completely missed it too…

      You could possibly be right though, but I don’t think and really hope the book wouldn’t go there…

    3. Oh no….you’re right! What if?

    4. Ooooh nooo, that would be horrible ;-;

  8. Well, here we are almost at the end, and I have a feeling it’s going to end on one heck of a cliffhanger.
    Wren going was a little obvious, but then it makes Lei stand up and actually face the king herself. Anyone thinking fire’s going to be involved?
    Thanks for sharing all your thoughts on this. Been helpful.

    1. Oh let the fire burn that palace haha I agree fire has to make a stunning entrance… I mean that’s what I’m expecting…

    2. Not sure if the fire will be literal but Lei is fired up for sure! Wouldn’t be too mad if the whole place burnt down either though.

  9. So much happened in these few chapters, I can hardly handle it!
    The way they treated poor Mariko is INSANE! I felt so bad reading that…
    And not to mention what eventually happened to Lei, now that she had to go back to the king… I was hoping her plan to poison him would be successful, but to be honest I had a feeling it wouldn’t…

    That twist, though! She’s GONE! Wren is gone! I did totally not see that coming. What now???? If Lei tries to kill the King herself, I bet it’s gonna go terribly wrong… I‘m so scared! Also I agree with Sabrina, I can feel the cliffhanger coming already… this is gonna be awful, I don’t like cliffhangers… *crying*

    1. It’s going to be awful and we will have to wait till the sequel comes out… That’s not ok haha

    2. How many books in this series? Do we know yet?

  10. These sections were quite difficult to read, especially the sake scene and the one with Mariko. I truly hope that the king gets what he deserves.

    As for Wren’s disappearance, I did not expect it at all. I’m a bit worried about the plan now. Maybe there were suspiciousions that one was going on in the court and one of them told the king. And on top of this, Blue is now aware of Lei and Wren’s relationship and at the end of the latest chapter Lei is seemingly kidnapped. I’m so worried about how this will end, considering how few chapters left.

    1. Imagine nothing happens in the last chapters and we need to wait for the sequel to come out to actually see what will happen… Oh my

    2. I really wonder what Blue will do with the information. Probably nothing that bodes well for us.

  11. So crazy thought, but I think Lei will open her pendant and the word will be QUEEN and we will find out she is pregnant!!!!!

    1. Noooooo. Please don’t make her pregnant of the monster

      1. It’s a possibility and she overthrows him to put her son on the throne.

    2. That would be a badass word but I hope she’s not pregnant!!

  12. Aghhhhhh…. this book….

    So what happened to Mariko was horrible, but there was a little for shadowing – the talked a few times about ‘rotten paper’ or ‘when paper rots’ though I certainly didn’t predict things happening quite how they did with the word being carved into her…
    Maybe it’s odd, but I feel like we might see Mariko again – she was the most under developed paper girl, and there’s factions in the palace working to kill the king and that hate what he does, so I think it’s possibe she might have escaped the brothels by being taken somewhere where the resistance is, and then we’ll see her in the next book more – a broken, violent and angry soul.

    Tbh I was unhappy at Leis herb solution… I mean it’s all well and fair to want to escape the situation but poisoning the king wouldn’t work – he’d definitely know he was poisoned and know it was her and that would lead to perhaps her own death, definitely sweet Lills death, and probably more brutalisation of the other girls… IF BY SOME MIRACLE he didn’t suspect Lei then the kitchen staff or whoever prepared the wine would be killed – her path and choice had she managed it would literally garantee people would be killed for it. (She could have poisoned herself though – that could have worked I recon. The king might not care if she had cramps, but if she was throwing up he wouldn’t want to touch her anymore and whilst she might be healed by the doctors I doubt they’d investigate too much into the cause and if she did the suspect would be equally on all the other paper girls and their families [as who’d think she’d poison herself], without actuall reprimand being possible)

    Im happay that Lei and Aoki made up, but things don’t seem quite completely smoothed over…. Aokis base jeousy and love for the king will still be there regardless… I feel like something really bad will happen to her.

    I don’t trust blue with this knowledge of their relationship at all… she’s had reasons to suspect from what she’s seen, but the way she’s reacting now is making it seem very suspect that she’ll tell the king.

    I always thought that Lei would be the one to have to try and kill the king in the end – like it goes wrong and she has to step in and save Wren or something… so the aspect of Wren being taken from the castle is a surprise, but the inevitable outcome of Lei having to be the assassin doesn’t surprise me, and I suspect that the palace will be on fire towards the end of her attempt.

    1. I wished she used the herb for herself at some point. i don’t know why she didn’t think of that…

      Finishing reading the book with fire? I’m all in for that haha

    2. I definitely agree, the poisoning was a dumb idea but I mean can we blame her? At that point I would probably try whatever could delay the thing that you know is coming. But yes, poor Lill could have been harmed too!

    3. When I was reading that part where she was planning using herbs I thought she meant for herself! To make herself too sick.
      Cora |

  13. I am shocked with how they treated Mariko. That is not a humane way to treat a person. The King treats the Paper Girls like toys. He plays with them for a year and then forgets about them. He doesn’t value them in any way. That is so infuriating! Blue should have stood up for Mariko. They were supposed to be best friends.

    I am glad that Lei and Aeiko made up but I stilll don’t fully trust her. She is still loyal to the King even after seeing what he did to Lei.

    I like that Wren was teaching Lei how to defend herself. Even if she never needed to use it during her time as a Paper Girl, it would still come in handy latter.

    I don’t think Lei’s Mom is dead. The king just told her that to make her upset. The rest of that scene was just awful. I wish no one ever had to go through something like that.

    Poor Wren! Her mother was killed 🙁 I definitely agree with everyone who thinks that the King had some hand in her killing. Although, if he truely suspected Wren, he would have publicly humiliated and punished her so I am not sure what his motives would be.

    I am afraid of what Lei is going to have to do now to make up for Wren not being available to complete the assasination. Will Lei have to do it now? How are they going to pull this off now???

    1. Oh, I forgot. I am not surprised that Blue has figured out what is going on between Lei and Wren. I feel like she already suspected after catching them in the bathing room together. Lei’s reaction to Wren being gone was just the final proof she needed to accuse Lei of it.

      1. Yep I guess so. Do you really think Wren’s mother is dead? I mean even if she was it’s like like they forced Wren to leave asap. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have left the castle, because duty I mean she is all about that. So there is something not clicking right there

        1. I agree with you Sasha. I don’t think Wren’s mother is dead. I think her leaving the palace is part of the big plan somehow.

          Looking forward to see what happens.

    2. Oh yeah I was sure Blue knew after the bath scene but appears not! I’m also not sure how Lei will carry on without Wren, I don’t quite think she’s ready for something like that!

    3. Lei’s mother turning out to be alive, that would make an amazing plot twist!

  14. What happened to Mariko was so brutal, but also how could she have done it, taking a lover as a Paper Girl? I think this scene (poor Mariko) really reinforced how careful Lei and Wren have to be. And I actually understand Blue not speaking up – she has a part to play and she’s so desperate for love from her family, her father, that she’ll do pretty much anything to keep that part going.

    I knew that Lei would have to go back to the King and I honestly thought the herbs would work. When that plan didn’t work out? God. I had to put the book down for a while. But if they had worked, what would have been the repercussions?

    Honestly I so badly want Lei and Wren to be A Thing but with Wren being pulled away last minute I’m now wondering whether this was part of the plan all along? To find someone to take over Wren’s place since she’s the last of her clan, to prevent her from dying? Yeah, I guess I’m a bit cynical.

    My favourite quote from this section was: “Falling in love is the most dangerous thing women like us can do.”

    I really am quite fond of Zelle and I hope we see more of her – she definitely has hidden depths.

    Cora |

    1. I think Wren being sent away is part of the plan. How on esrth would the king have figured out her plans? Allright, maybe because of the shamans, the fortunetellers. That could be possible.

      I also hope we can see more of Zelle! I loved how she just said’:

      ‘Have you… have you ever thought about escaping?” I ask quietly.
      Her eyes glint. “Every second.’

  15. Wow, intense chapters! I’m just speachless. Where is Wren? The female assassin. That woman got some secrets indeed.

    The way this story builds up is just beautiful. The pacing is perfect. There is only one thing I don’t understand.

    Why is the king so cruel? Why does he need 8 Paper girls each year? I’m so confused.

    1. I think a lot of the King’s behaviour is his struggle to stay in power, his arrogance. He believes he is the hero of everyone’s story, that he can do no wrong, and when things go wrong he lashes out in a devastating away.
      I think it’s a fantastic exploration of toxic masculinity.
      Cora |

      1. That actually makes a lot of sense! Thank you for explaining!

  16. By the way, I was just wondering, will we ever explore the other courts? Like Industry court, City Court, Flowting Hall. I think these places would have a purpose, or is that just me?

  17. This book is pretty amazing, I think I’ll give it 4 stars (it depends on the ending though).
    I don’t think Lei’s mother is dead, my bet is that she became a rebell and thus never came back to her family because it would endanger them.

    Besides, here are things I am dying to know (hopefully in this book but if not in the next please)
    – Can we meet the Demon Queen? I am really interest about her
    – I want to know why Lei such amazing eyes, is their some Demon blood in her veins?
    – Will Lei be able to get back to her true home and family?

    Now I am going to finish the book, I have the slight feeling that I won’t be okay after that, there probably will be a HUGE cliffhanger….and fingers crossed that the King meets the end the deserves!

    – Julia

  18. The scene with Mariko was so awful, we didn’t know her super well but it was still so horrible to read about. I’m not sure I can really discuss Lei getting summoned again. I knew it would eventually happen but I was really hoping it wouldn’t. I’m hoping her mother isn’t actually dead and she’ll come into the story later on in the series. I was screaming at the end of this last chapter! I can’t believe Wren is gone, I have to wonder if the king did anything because this whole thing is just too convenient timing wise. Wren mentioned that Lady Hanno was really sick when she was adopted so that’s how they convinced everyone that Wren was their baby. So did that sickness come back or did the King make it look like a sickness?

  19. The king is cruel and the scene with Lei and him was really hard to read.
    I don‘t believe her mother is dead. She will reappeare. Pherhaps she is the hidden queen. I lile reading this book and I am thinking of a high rating.

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