Title: Girls of Storm and Shadow Review (Girls of Paper and Fire #2)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Expected Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?
e-ARC provided by Jimmy Patterson and NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
- War theme
- Sexual abuse
- Graphic violence
- Major character death
Please let me mourn for my favorite domestic couple, Lei and Wren. Second, can I scream about everything that happened in the book? Thank you.
This book is about sacrifice and making hard choices during a war. Girls of Storm and Shadow follows Wren and Lei finding allies for a war that is rising in Ikhara. It’s actually a theme of the book and finally we get to see Ikhara outside the Hidden Palace. The forest, other clan’s place, provinces and archipelago.
We’re also introduced to a lot new characters; Bo and Nitta, leopard-demon siblings. Merrin, an owl-demon. Shifu Caen, Wren’s mentor. And Hiro, a shaman Ketai Hano saved. I prefer this found-family to Paper Girls, partly because I feel lack of chemistry in between characters back in Girls of Paper and Fire. The dynamics of each characters are just different from the one we had in Girls of Paper and Fire, and it’s a good thing! It’s more emotional, more real.
When I said Girls of Paper and Fire is rich in culture, it’s nothing compared to Girls of Storm and Shadow. Can you imagine how happy I am to know that these characters wear and eat the same thing as me? And my culture (spoiler alert, kebaya and dadar gulung) are mentioned in the book? It’s a small gesture but really, I feel represented enough. There are a lot of customs from various Asian countries—not just Japan, Korea and China. It makes me happy to read someone said Singaporean slang or wear India’s traditional clothes.
Girls of Storm and Shadow is about betrayals and keeping a secret to yourself. It’s about accepting an ugly truth. It’s about loss. It’s about going up to our feet when the world refuses to stop kicking us. This book is beautiful.
Lei is a strong, young woman who’ll do anything to save everyone. She’s soft, but not weak. She is learning how to deal with the trauma she endured in the Hidden Palace. I’m down with my girl learning martial arts and how to use a weapon—and really, I can see how she developed. This book makes me love her even more.
Wren, on the other hand, is still the same Wren we know; mysterious, holds a lot of secrets to herself, thinks about the mission first rather than her (or anyone’s) feeling and trying to love Lei by the way she knows how. Honestly, I felt betrayed by her at the end of the book—but, at the same time, I understood why she did it? If that makes sense?
One of the problems I have about this book (and why I didn’t put higher rating), is a hint of love triangle that’s probably going to happen at the next book. The appearance of ex-partner sometimes can spices things up (seriously, I’m always down with petty and jealous character) but…I don’t like it when a character suddenly gets involved again with their ex-partner when they already have someone new. I don’t like how this relationship will develop and let’s just pray it won’t involve a dirty love triangle here.
Even though I didn’t expect this book to be this good, but I’m a little disappointed too. I read Girls of Paper and Fire and I had problem with how slow the story was. Yet, Girls of Storm and Shadow is still too slow for me. But, at least, we didn’t wait until the end of the book to see the real action.
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Favorite shelf: Yes
Will I recommend it to you? YES. Go read Girls of Storm and Shadow as soon as it comes out! Southeast Asian readers, it’s OUR time to shine!
You guys… my first e-ARC review. :’) I’m so happy and honored. Writing this review feels different, not because the e-ARC but because of the book? Southeast Asian rep??? Can I cry? Alright before I ramble even more, I need to stop. I hope you guys found my review helpful and please pick this book up once it’s out (and it’s tomorrow!!) Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog! It means the world to me. See you later!