Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)
In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.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?

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2) Details

TitleGirls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 5th, 2019
PublisherJimmy Patterson Books
ISBN-139780316528672
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, LGBT, Romance, Fiction, Young Adult Fantasy, GLBT, Queer, High Fantasy, Magic, Audiobook

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2) Review

  • chai ♡
    January 1, 1970
    Love is a sacred word reserved only for rebel girls and their warrior girlfriends, aka Lei and Wren
  • may ➹
    January 1, 1970
    ...2.5 starshello Im May but I go by Eternally Crying Over This Rating now ...2.5 starshello I’m May but I go by “Eternally Crying Over This Rating” now
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    1.) Girls of Paper and Fire ★★★★★Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch
  • Natasha Ngan
    January 1, 1970
    This book contains: an epic journey, dark magic, stormy seas and blistering deserts, cute queer boy demons, fancy parties, politics, betrayal, badass girls with swords, declarations of love that come too late, secrets and fears, hope and devastation, battles at midnight, stolen kisses, glorious feasts, shattered lives, and scenes that will both make and break your heart. Prepare yourselves 😈
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  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    remember when I read the entire first book in one day good fucking times I cannot wait for the sequel. and for my lesbian warrior mums to return
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    love is real and it came up to me at a Starbucks and punched me in the face
  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Julie at jimmy Paterson for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewThis book was sent to me by the publisher! If you would like to know how to get ARCs and review copies, feel free to watch my video, Advanced Reader Copies 101! ************setting this aside because... 1) i'm bored 2) i had to return the audiobook to the library************Here we go! Fingers crossed that the cute demons come quickly************happy book birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!************I just noticed Many thanks to Julie at jimmy Paterson for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewThis book was sent to me by the publisher! If you would like to know how to get ARCs and review copies, feel free to watch my video, Advanced Reader Copies 101! ************setting this aside because... 1) i'm bored 2) i had to return the audiobook to the library************Here we go! Fingers crossed that the cute demons come quickly************happy book birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!************I just noticed that Natasha said in her review that this book is full of "cute queer boy demons" and my gay heart is already palpitating ************It's here and I am so glad I got the coverless ARC because.. this cover.. is... not my cup of tea..************WE HAVE A COVER AND I AM QUAKING IN ITS BEAUTY!!! actually, after a lot of thinking, i hate this cover 🤷************Please let November come sooner! I NEED more Wren and Lei!!!| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
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  • ellie
    January 1, 1970
    petition to rename this book "gays of storm and shadow" because that's basically what it is
  • ;3
    January 1, 1970
    and thats on lesbianism! and that’s on lesbianism!
  • Ash | Wild Heart Reads
    January 1, 1970
    This cover watered my gay crops and cleared my gay skin 😍
  • Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨
    January 1, 1970
    ENJOYABLE BUT SLIGHTLY UNDERWHELMING 🙃 Like with the first book I had a feeling that this was somewhat unoriginal. It had some clear The Hunger Games vibes - girl becomes figurehead for resistance, girl gets a (strange) 'codename', girl doubts whether resistance is actually better than established ruling faction. Also, it had some world-building problems. Still, I enjoyed the characters, the overall direction of the story and the LGBT representation.👍 THE THINGS I LIKED 👍Bo!: Bo was such a ENJOYABLE BUT SLIGHTLY UNDERWHELMING 🙃 Like with the first book I had a feeling that this was somewhat unoriginal. It had some clear The Hunger Games vibes - girl becomes figurehead for resistance, girl gets a (strange) 'codename', girl doubts whether resistance is actually better than established ruling faction. Also, it had some world-building problems. Still, I enjoyed the characters, the overall direction of the story and the LGBT representation.👍 THE THINGS I LIKED 👍Bo!: Bo was such a bright spot in what was, otherwise, a quite dark and gloomy story. Bo was a ray of teasing sunshine that, at first, I found really annoying, but, as the story progressed, I became obsessed with! (view spoiler)[I was so sad, when he died! Especially when he and Merrin had finally given in to their feelings for one another 😭 (hide spoiler)]Wren: I will not give away too much here, but I was really invested in Wren and the things that we learn about her and her character. It was surprising, exciting and unexpected.Direction: With the way the story is evolving, the direction it is taking, I am very hopeful for the next book!👎 THE THINGS I DISLIKED 👎Steels: Throughout this entire book I kept thinking about the Steels! Why aren't they really a part of this story? Whose side are they on? Why are they even in this world if they play no part in it at all?Unoriginal: Like I said, there were a lot of Hunger Games vibes with this book, and as soon as I picked up on it, it was hard to disregard it.World-building: This was a problem I also had with the first book, which I hoped would be somewhat solved here. Sadly, they were not. I still felt like I didn't understand the world, the casts, the role of the Steels and the history of the society.Background: This book introduces several new characters including three Moon casts that fight alongside Wren and Lei - Merrin (whom we met briefly in the first book), Nitta and Merrin. What bothered me was that I didn't understand their motivation for turning against their own cast and assisting the Papers. I wanted to know about their background to understand why they did this. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Follow me for more book goodness: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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  • Iris
    January 1, 1970
    ***Pre-review #2*** OH. MY. GOD. This cover is absolutely stunning and I am 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍I don't love it *quite* as much as the first cover, but at the same time it is GORGEOUS and I CANNOT STOP STARING AT IT.Productivity? What is that? Why bother doing anything responsible when I can just stare at this cover all day long instead? ***Pre-review #1*** This book may not have a release date, cover, or title yet, but it's sure as hell one of my most anticipated releases regardless! I. NEED. IT.
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  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    January 1, 1970
    Fear is good. It means you care. And caring is its own kind of magic. One just as powerful as any dao I can weave. representation: own voices all asian cast (author is Malaysian), f/f relationship, m/m relationships. [trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]★★★★yooooo i don't know what book y'all were reading, but this was so good. i think i liked it just as much as the first book! It was so sad tho and i need the next book, like, yesterday. trigger “Fear is good. It means you care. And caring is its own kind of magic. One just as powerful as any dao I can weave.” representation: own voices all asian cast (author is Malaysian), f/f relationship, m/m relationships. [trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]★★★★yooooo i don't know what book y'all were reading, but this was so good. i think i liked it just as much as the first book! It was so sad tho and i need the next book, like, yesterday. trigger warnings: gore, sex trafficking, PTSD, past trauma of sexual abuse and rape, loss of loved ones, brief mentions of animal death, murder, self-harm, being in an abusive and manipulative relationship, fire, death (lots of it), whipping and torture, self-medicating with alcohol, mentions of slavery, war themes.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    There was a quote I immediately thought of when I finished this book. It comes from Pitch Perfect 3 courtesy of Anna Kendrick who says :"Oh, honey, that was.. we didn't like that at all."I'm not as disappointed about this as I might have been had I actually liked book one to begin with. But I did hope the story, or plot, would transition into interesting avenues, or at least properly process trauma and/or grief. And it didn't. I feel like little to nothing actually even happened in this There was a quote I immediately thought of when I finished this book. It comes from Pitch Perfect 3 courtesy of Anna Kendrick who says :"Oh, honey, that was.. we didn't like that at all."I'm not as disappointed about this as I might have been had I actually liked book one to begin with. But I did hope the story, or plot, would transition into interesting avenues, or at least properly process trauma and/or grief. And it didn't. I feel like little to nothing actually even happened in this instalment beyond journey chapters, training sequences, inappropriately timed jokes and banter (some of which felt so modern for such a distinctly historical-ish/fantasy story), and a few reveals that might have been surprising had I not clocked them through some poor attempt at being sneaky with foreshadowing.I'll admit I'm also disappointed this is not the duology I thought I would be and that I still have another book to read to finish this series (and I will read it) but that's more a me problem than anything else. Though arguably it's all a me problem.I'm not enamoured by the writing, the plot, the bloated cast of characters and names that I lose track of, and while one of the few things in book one that won me over was the romance, in this one.. I don't know. I feel the cracks that have begun to show are perfectly natural and expected considering both trauma, events, and losing the blush of one's first love/exiting the honeymoon stage, but.. I don't know. I don't think these characters even like each other anymore? They just lust after each other and call it love. That sounds harsh but considering the genesis of their relationship, it might not too far off base. And also, hey, nothing wrong with lust? Just call it what it is?Anyway, suffice it to say I'm still waiting to be won over by this series and at this stage I can only hope it ends well. It's a pretty low bar for me at this point.** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **---This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
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  • julianna ➹
    January 1, 1970
    Siri, please translate [a thousand dying screams] into english for me because that's it. That's the review(Also, May is lowkey disowned)buddy read with the scourge of all human creationanyways :) the heavens looked down favorably upon me and the publicist decided to give me a physical arc of this (after I wrote a five body paragraph essay in my review request)
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan is the second book of the young adult fantasy Girls of Paper and Fire series. This fantasy series is one that continues the story onward that was started in the first book so it is highly recommended to begin the series with the first books, Girls of Paper and Fire.While this is a young adult fantasy series again I must stress these should be for the more mature audience. There are several things included in the series that deserve a bit of warning Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan is the second book of the young adult fantasy Girls of Paper and Fire series. This fantasy series is one that continues the story onward that was started in the first book so it is highly recommended to begin the series with the first books, Girls of Paper and Fire.While this is a young adult fantasy series again I must stress these should be for the more mature audience. There are several things included in the series that deserve a bit of warning before picking it up, violence, slavery, abuse, rape along with animal cruelty.Natasha Ngan’s world she’s created consists of three different levels to the society known as castes. First we have the Paper caste which are the lowest in the world of Ikhara, this caste consists of the humans which includes the main character Lei of the story. Then we have the Steel caste which consists of a cross between humans and demons. And then there is the Moon caste which are fully demon including the King that rules Ikhara.The story began with Lei who was born with brilliant golden eyes which set her apart from other humans and drew the attention of the Demon guards who kidnapped her away from her family to take her as an offering to the King. Every year eight girls are taken to become the Paper Girls and served up as concubines to the King but this year Lei has become number nine.Girls of Storm and Shadow picked up where the story had ended rejoining Lei and Wren and seemed to me to get off to a somewhat slow start from how I remembered the first book. As the book goes on I got that dreadful “middle book” feeling, the one in which it seems the second book spends half it’s time remembering the first then the other half setting up for the next book feeling as if not much of importance takes place. In the end I found this one just so-so however I’m sure those that truly loved the first may enjoy it a tad more. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Katie.dorny
    January 1, 1970
    This was a decent sequel...I loved it!!!! Usually I hate sequels in a trilogy as they as always so bleh and full of filler to stretch the storyline..but this I devoured. Here we pick up more or less right where we left off with our band of characters hiding for their lives as they try and forge a path away from the demon king.We hear a lot more about the geo-political landscape which was so interesting and the various castes as lei and her crew fight to found a better world..but nothings ever This was a decent sequel...I loved it!!!! Usually I hate sequels in a trilogy as they as always so bleh and full of filler to stretch the storyline..but this I devoured. Here we pick up more or less right where we left off with our band of characters hiding for their lives as they try and forge a path away from the demon king.We hear a lot more about the geo-political landscape which was so interesting and the various castes as lei and her crew fight to found a better world..but nothing’s ever that easy right?There were slightly obvious twists and turns but the writing more than made up for it. The pace, the description, it was just as amazing as the first book.Many a moment here did also break my heart. Natasha sure does know how to do that to you.This was a decent sequel setting up the finale perfectly and it was one I absolutely flew through.
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  • ilsa➹
    January 1, 1970
    girls of paper and fire - 1 stargirls of storm and shadow - 1.5 starsGOD I'M SO GLAD THIS IS OVERthis series is so tiring and boring and stupid and pointless...this book had NO PLOT. I just read 400 pages...and I'm like "that's it? that's the book?" because it was so STUPID. literally, point out ONE thing they accomplished in this novel and i will be surprised. they did little things, like finding allies, but the entire book was people just keeping secrets, and action scenes that lasted way too girls of paper and fire - 1 stargirls of storm and shadow - 1.5 starsGOD I'M SO GLAD THIS IS OVERthis series is so tiring and boring and stupid and pointless...this book had NO PLOT. I just read 400 pages...and I'm like "that's it? that's the book?" because it was so STUPID. literally, point out ONE thing they accomplished in this novel and i will be surprised. they did little things, like finding allies, but the entire book was people just keeping secrets, and action scenes that lasted way too long, characters being whiny and annoying, and "healing" (all that other mushy cringey stuff) i am SO glad this book is over. should i talk about everything i hated in-depth? no. i think i'll spare myself the pain of thinking about this book for too long.me trying to figure out why lei and wren are in a relationship when they clearly don't understand each other, keep secrets from each other all the time, have major miscommunication issues, and the only thing they like about the other is that they are both beautiful, me shipping lova and wren because they're both bad-ass, selfish, smart and fucking amazing:me realising lei is stupidly impulsive, can't shut up about how "heartless" other people are whilst she kills people after living in a peaceful village half her life and experiences no guilt and trauma from it, annoying, hypocritical and stupid:me when (view spoiler)[bo dies, (hide spoiler)] and i'm actually sad about it, and realising i care more about the side characters more than lei and wrenme realising i wasted 4 hours of my life, maybe more, reading this bookme every time lei is doing things because she's "brave" but really she's just dumb and is messing up the plan, and always lets her emotions rule over basic logicme reading the scene where Lei wins naja, a warrior probably trained since birth, in a fight, after lei has only had in total 5 training sessions. me reading this book, the biggest clusteruck of annoying dumb characters doing annoying, dumb thingsme trying to find the plot or point to this book but then realising it's just the same repetitive nonsense for 400 pages straight natasha realising merrin is a way more interesting character than the entire cast, and he would be a better main character because he's got a brain, has several flaws, and is the only one speaking logic and not speaking out of his ass half the timeme, every time lei says she "hisses" or "growls" at another characterme trying to find a good way to end this reviewokay goodbye, that's the end of me reading this shit series. I'm not going to read book 3. yeah it's got some good writing, nothing special, but it's pretty. I'd much rather read a spin-off series about bo and nitta's GOD TEIR banter and sibling relationship, bo and Merrin being cute and flirty, Merrin being developed as a nuanced character who's experienced trauma and is angry at the right people, but instead this series will continue to be about lei - a character i find to get on my nerves a lot.pls don't waste ur time reading this series. it's got side characters that are way better than the mc, and some cool prose, but other than it's a WASTE OF TIMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEe.note/disclaimer thingy (not an actual spoiler but in tags as i dont want this appear too long) : (view spoiler)[ so, i realise this review was completely insensitive and some parts of it 100% uncalled for. calling lei a "whiny bitch" was 100% me being salty and not trying to take away from a story of empowerment for sexual assault and rape survivors. i genuinely feel terrible for writing that in a first place, because i know this series/book means a lot to many people, and lei is such an inspiration for many who have gone through the same thing as her. i do want, though, to point out that a (quite) popular author shouldn't subtweet reviews, which leads to replies attacking a review they probably haven't read, and a reviewer they don't even know. it honestly hurts just seeing an entire thread just calling you out, out of nowhere. it was really unexpected. i personally didn't like lei as a main character, not because she's a strong female, but because of her weird relationship with wren (where i find she's hypocritical) and because of her narrative, which i found very repetitive and boring (as i stated in my review) i 100% take the blame for my words, written out my pure saltiness and negative emotions after finishing the book, and not because i genuinely thought that lei was a "bitch". and my criticism of "whiny" was because i thought lei complained a lot about *wren*'s actions a lot, which i found again, hypocitical.i was in no way trying to take away from her story as a survivor, and as a queer asian girl. i am truly very sorry for any people i've hurt with this review, as i recognize the importance of this story for many. i hope to be more careful with my wordings in the future (hide spoiler)]
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  • Sophie_The_Jedi_Knight
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5Not long ago, I was a girl of paper and fire. And Ill be damned if Im going to let a little bit of snow smother those flames.Thank you so much to Natasha Ngan for an autographed ARC at BookCon!Also, a shoutout to Raena, the librarian who runs the monthly YA book club at my local library who gave me her ARC of GoPaF when she heard I had an ARC of this one so I'd have a matching set, Angel bless her.*inhales**screams*This book. THIS BOOK! GoPaF was excellent, but I enjoyed this one even more. *4.5Not long ago, I was a girl of paper and fire. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a little bit of snow smother those flames.Thank you so much to Natasha Ngan for an autographed ARC at BookCon!Also, a shoutout to Raena, the librarian who runs the monthly YA book club at my local library who gave me her ARC of GoPaF when she heard I had an ARC of this one so I'd have a matching set, Angel bless her.*inhales**screams*This book. THIS BOOK! GoPaF was excellent, but I enjoyed this one even more. It was thrilling, kept me reading, and oh my gosh it made me cry. How could you do that, Ngan??My few complaints would be that Lei does a few stupid things here. Not too many, I loved her overall as a character, but there were a few things. Also, I have a few questions about the very end, and I hope Lei and Wren actually sit down and talk in book 3. They have some stuff they need to work out.Oh my goodness, book 3. How can I wait??? This book was amazing! I don't know how I can wait over a year. Agh.This book didn't feel rushed or like a quick read, but it felt nice and steady. It had a great pace is what I'm trying to say. I loved reading this chapter by chapter every night. Like Truthwitch, reading it this way made me feel more attached to the characters (who are AMAZING) Natasha Ngan is an absolute tour-de-force in the YA world, worthy of being up there with Cassandra Clare and Leigh Bardugo. Prepare yourself, world.4.5/5 stars.
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  • Romie
    January 1, 1970
    *screams into the void* I'm fine, I swear I am. I'm fine I'm fine I'm fine I'm fine I'M FINE. but maybe I'm fucking lying.
  • Elle
    January 1, 1970
    A binge-able follow-up to the entrancing and vivid Girls of Paper and Fire, I found this sequel not quite at the level of its predecessor. Where the first book in this series had a heavier tone (MASSIVE trigger warnings for sexual violence here), Girls of Storm and Shadow takes place mostly outside of the palace that previously held Lei and the other paper girls, in essentially a gilded cage. The shift in setting and pacing ended up leaving a lot of the grittiness and human-connections we got to A binge-able follow-up to the entrancing and vivid Girls of Paper and Fire, I found this sequel not quite at the level of its predecessor. Where the first book in this series had a heavier tone (MASSIVE trigger warnings for sexual violence here), Girls of Storm and Shadow takes place mostly outside of the palace that previously held Lei and the other paper girls, in essentially a gilded cage. The shift in setting and pacing ended up leaving a lot of the grittiness and human-connections we got to experience with Lei, Wren, Aoki and the others behind, seemingly in exchange for smart-mouthed warrior-cats and a snarky bird. My biggest issue with this book was that tonal change. Natasha Ngan flipped back and forth between adolescent frivolity and the brutality of war in an almost jarring way. As just about everyone in the story at this point is well into adulthood, it seemed ridiculous that in the midst of fleeing for their lives they dole out so many cringey dick jokes or that one highly-trained demon fighter would refer to another as an “incredibly cute boy”, out loud amongst their peers. The romance in the last book was also so much more, well, earned. It was dangerous to develop feelings and even more so to act on them. But now, when the stakes are different, but arguably just as high, most love interests come off as superficial afterthoughts. As an aside, this book has such “Everybody is GAY!!” energy that the only evidence of straight people is the fact that clearly there are some still procreating. Unfortunately, the myriad of gayness wasn’t enough to save the plotting of this one.I feel like so many characters were oversimplified and turned into sass-monsters that it undermined the entire buildup of their personal journeys up to this point. I knocked Leigh Bardugo for doing this in some of her books as well—it’s really not necessary for everyone to be so biting and sarcastic all of the time. I get it’s YA, but please work on the time and place of these exchanges. Lei seems to backslide as a character here as well. She acts before thinking, making rash decisions and endangering those around her; I call this type of main character the Dunce Gryffindor. They are, unfortunately, very popular in Young Adult fantasy, which is a major bummer for me, a full grown adult who (still) loves the genre.Like I mentioned initially, this book is extremely readable and a good time generally. But based off of my expectations for it after reading Girls of Paper and Fire, it’s a bit of a disappointment. At least they talk significantly less about bathing in this one. I will never understand why so many authors love to go into such bath-related detail, but it’s apparently a thing.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you very much to Hachette Australia for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Girls of Storm and Shadow is one of 2019s most highly anticipated YA sequels and one I was desperate to get my hands on. Reading this book felt like I was going on this journey with the characters: following in their footsteps, laughing at their jokes, and experiencing their hardships and trauma. Ngan has crafted a beautiful, haunting sequel that has made me even more excited (and Thank you very much to Hachette Australia for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Girls of Storm and Shadow is one of 2019’s most highly anticipated YA sequels and one I was desperate to get my hands on. Reading this book felt like I was going on this journey with the characters: following in their footsteps, laughing at their jokes, and experiencing their hardships and trauma. Ngan has crafted a beautiful, haunting sequel that has made me even more excited (and terrified) for the third and final book in the series.The novel picks up a few weeks after the conclusion of Girls of Paper and Fire, which Lei and Wren on the run from the Demon King’s assassins, after killing the king … or so they think. Lei and Wren have joined up with Wren’s father’s army and are given the incredibly important task of traveling through Ikhara and convincing powerful Demon clans to join the humans’ rebellion. Together with some new friends, Lei and Wren set off on this journey, but realise very quickly that war is far different than either girl had imagined.Girls of Storm and Shadow is a novel about journeys in two different ways: one is Lei and Wren’s arduous journey through the country, fighting assassins and demons along the way; while the other is an emotional journey, as Lei and Wren together learn to process the trauma they suffered at the hands of the king and begin to recover. Ngan perfectly encapsulates both elements of these journeys in the novel, with equal page time given to the action, the hard discussions, and the sweetness.While Girls of Paper and Fire was already a dark novel, Girls of Storm and Shadow is somehow darker, making the characters question what lengths they would go to for the greater good. In wartime, there are no good guys and bad guys, even when it seems as though there is, and Lei has a very hard time understanding that in reference to her lover, Wren. Wren makes some hard decisions in this novel, in the belief that doing bad things in the name of a good cause is worthy, which Lei cannot accept. It is heartbreaking to see them fight, especially after what they endured, but I also really enjoyed these scenes. So often when characters get together, that’s it — they’re forever happy, even in the midst of war. But Wren and Lei, despite being desperately in love, struggle with understanding one another’s viewpoints on war, death and sacrifice.Lei’s character development was beautifully done and so incredibly inspiring too. She suffers from PTSD throughout the novel, dreaming about the Demon King and believing that he’s coming after her. As such, she decides to take her safety into her own hands, which is something that wasn’t possible during her time at the Demon King’s Court, by learning hand to hand combat. This is just one way that Lei begins to regain her sense of agency, as she acknowledges that the patriarchal world she lives in is a dangerous one for women. Part of this is Lei’s time in the Cloud Palace, a matriarchal society run by bird demons, where Lei sees a place where women can be free.Despite the action scenes, Girls of Storm and Shadow is quite a slow book and that’s because not much actually happens, plot-wise. Much of the book is Lei’s group traveling to persuade clans to join their cause, but they only actually visit two. A slow book has never bothered me, but I do believe that some readers might become frustrated as nothing is actually resolved in this novel. Many issues and questions were raised but none answered, with some character and their plot lines appearing for a single chapter and then never returned to. This book very much feels like everything is leading up to the final book in the series, where all the characters and open plot lines will come to a head.That being said, if you are a fan of character-driven books (as I am), you will love this book. While the plot is placed on the backend here, the characters of the book really shine: from Lei and Wren’s romance and recovery, to Bo and Nitta’s humour, to the sweet romance between Merrin and a certain someone. The characters absorbed me into this book and kept me glued to the page, even with the minimal action.Girls of Storm and Shadow is a powerful novel about recovery and survival, and taking your destiny into your hands. It’s about how sometimes you have to do horrible things for the greater good, but how that might actually mean you’re just as evil as the person you’re trying to defeat. Most of all, this is a love story between two incredible badass women who will do anything to protect the other, and to fight for their freedom.
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  • Trina (Between Chapters)
    January 1, 1970
    This had the typical sequel slump. They're was a lot of travel and small battles just building to what will happen next. I felt like not much of importance happened for the length, was mostly bored, and often considered DNFing. I did appreciate how it portrayed coping with trauma.AUDIOBOOK: the narrator had a pleasant voice, but the reading was pretty flat. Inflection was often in the wrong place, there was a lack of emotion and urgency, and chapter transitions were confusing because she did not This had the typical sequel slump. They're was a lot of travel and small battles just building to what will happen next. I felt like not much of importance happened for the length, was mostly bored, and often considered DNFing. I did appreciate how it portrayed coping with trauma.AUDIOBOOK: the narrator had a pleasant voice, but the reading was pretty flat. Inflection was often in the wrong place, there was a lack of emotion and urgency, and chapter transitions were confusing because she did not wind down to close out scenes. I kept thinking my audiobook had cut off in the middle of a paragraph.
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  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by AB EndacottNote: This review contains spoilers for Girls of Paper and Fire. You can find The Nerd Dailys review for it here.When I finished Girls of Paper and Fire, I thought it a beautifully written book set in a fabulously intricate fantasy world whose plot had a few things that bothered me. My consensus: a good book that Id definitely recommend but not necessarily rave about.Then it kept intruding into my thoughts.I found myself eagerly Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by AB EndacottNote: This review contains spoilers for Girls of Paper and Fire. You can find The Nerd Daily’s review for it here.When I finished Girls of Paper and Fire, I thought it a beautifully written book set in a fabulously intricate fantasy world whose plot had a few things that bothered me. My consensus: a good book that I’d definitely recommend but not necessarily rave about.Then it kept intruding into my thoughts.I found myself eagerly anticipating the release of Girls of Storm and Shadow. I wondered what events were triggered by the move against the Emperor. I wanted to dive back in to the lush, evocative world that Ngan crafts with each carefully chosen word. It’s why I requested to review it—I didn’t want to wait.The book has two underlying central concepts: doing bad—possibly unforgivable—things for a good cause, and the way in which trauma haunts those who have been touched by it.Sweeping across several locales from snowy mountaintops to tropical jungles, to arid desert, we chart Lei’s journey as she accompanies Wren and a band of rebels across the sprawling Ikhara as they try to secure allies in their coming fight against the Emperor. The variety of these settings give a clear sense of the geographical scope of the Ikhara, and offered free reign for Ngan’s powerful imagination. However, I was disappointed that the novel did not dive into the regional history of each setting in the manner that Ngan so spectacularly grounded her world in Paper and Fire.To the backdrop of these locations, Lei undergoes significant character development that was deeply enjoyable to read; insisting on learning how to fight. This beautifully furthered her unwillingness to remain silent and compliant in the face of wrongdoing which was curbed by her limitations as a woman with no combat training, which limited some of her agency in Paper and Fire. It also beautifully intersected with one of the major underlying themes of the book; the way trauma lingers on a person as something indefinable yet inescapable.After the horrific sexual violence she endures as the unwilling concubine of the Emperor, it makes sense that she would want to learn to defend herself. Similarly, all too often characters shrug off traumatic events from one book to another. Girls of Storm and Shadow does not shy away from the fact that enduring something horrific means you – and the world, for you – will never be the same again. As a survivor of sexual abuse, one of Ngan’s intentions in writing Paper and Fire was to prepare teens for the world as well as to tell the story for others to know they weren’t alone. The manner in which Storm and Shadow depicts the after-effects of trauma and the way the hands someone has laid on you without your consent remain on your skin, long after they have gone, provides a powerful narrative about what exactly the victims of sexual abuse endure.Indeed, Ngan clearly outlays the difficulty of existing in a man’s world, leaving women subject to this kind of trauma. While Ketai Hanno, the leader of the resistance movement and foster father of Wren, is only ‘on stage’ for a few pages of the story, what he would make Lei into as the ‘moonchosen’, the paper (human) girl who nearly killed the Emperor, and how he would use her, are questions that dominate the book. Thus, his presence is a tangible thing, a counterpoint to the manner in which the Emperor, although only ‘on stage’ for a short time, dominates so much of Lei’s thoughts.These complex depictions of how men use and manipulate those around them for their own ends, and how women as less powerful are the most vulnerable to this, are the strongest parts of the book, and the uneasy fear of how it will affect the lives of the characters meant I was virtually unable to put the book down. While these themes may seem somewhat clichéd, Ngan sidesteps traversing well-trodden ground by working through Lei’s empathy. Her pity for those who do the unthinkable because they have been taught to think such acts are necessary for the greater good offers a compassionate way of seeing such behaviour, and gives nuance to a delicate, complex narrative. It’s refreshing, not overstated, and gives depth to the book that means it’s lingered in my mind despite having finished it several days ago.That being said, the second book in a trilogy is subject to certain pitfalls, and Storm and Shadow falls in to some of them. It is difficult to advance the meta plot of the first book, and set up the denouement to arrive in the third, while also offering a reasonably contained narrative. I felt very little, if indeed anything, was resolved in Girls of Storm and Shadow. Many questions were raised and none answered – not even the question of why Bo and Nitta were exiled from their clan.Similarly, Ngan picks up the narrative thread of other characters to give us glimpses of what’s happening in the palace, yet doesn’t return to them. It means the plot itself didn’t feel particularly tight.Fortunately, the strength of Ngan’s prose mitigated much of the frustration that arose out of the lack of resolution (and the fact that the book ends on a huge cliffhanger).Girls of Storm and Shadow is not a perfect book. But then again, few are. For the second book in a trilogy, it has a few flaws that could have been avoided – I would happily have read a longer book for a bit more detail and resolution. That being said, I cannot wait for book three to come out, and you can bet that I’ll read it as soon as it is available.
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  • Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon
    January 1, 1970
    3/5 ⭐ "Being vulnerable isn't a flaw. It is the most beautiful thing in the world. If you were invincible, being brave would be easy." I am so torn about this book! I absolutely loved Girls of Paper and Fire, it was a fantastic story which I devoured in I believe two days during finals season because I just couldn't put it down. As such, I had very high expectations for this and unfortunately I was left a little bit underwhelmed. 3 stars is still a high rating for me, that's for sure, but I 3/5 ⭐️ "Being vulnerable isn't a flaw. It is the most beautiful thing in the world. If you were invincible, being brave would be easy." I am so torn about this book! I absolutely loved Girls of Paper and Fire, it was a fantastic story which I devoured in I believe two days during finals season because I just couldn't put it down. As such, I had very high expectations for this and unfortunately I was left a little bit underwhelmed. 3 stars is still a high rating for me, that's for sure, but I felt like there was something missing from the story and that sometimes it dragged for too long. I was bamboozled I love this word omg on more than one occsion however by unforeseen plot twists so that was fantastic even if it meant my heart got crushed and stepped on relentlessly. And omg, that wlw representation, can we please have more of it in books? Thank you. Anyway, I will still pick up the third book because this story and its world are so well-written even if at times it felt like some of them acted a bit strange. I can't wait to see how the trilogy ends! My Bookstagram
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Why does it have to end like that?!WHY DID SO MANY OF THE THINGS HAPPEN IN THIS?! -I cant believe Ive got an Arc for this! I know what my first book of October is going to be :)) Why does it have to end like that?!WHY DID SO MANY OF THE THINGS HAPPEN IN THIS?! ———-I can’t believe I’ve got an Arc for this! I know what my first book of October is going to be :))
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  • Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    genuinely cant stop imagining the animal characters looking like theyre from kung fu panda genuinely can’t stop imagining the animal characters looking like they’re from kung fu panda
  • Kate (GirlReading)
    January 1, 1970
    From the characters and the world to the society and magic system, everything about these books is beautifully crafted and captivating. Although I admittedly didnt love this as much as book one (which is unsurprising, considering how much I loved book one. Although I do worry this somewhat fell to middle book book syndrome, as I was a tad underwhelmed) I still thoroughly enjoyed it and am ridiculously excited to see how this trilogy is going to conclude. Im just devastated Im going have to wait From the characters and the world to the society and magic system, everything about these books is beautifully crafted and captivating. Although I admittedly didn’t love this as much as book one (which is unsurprising, considering how much I loved book one. Although I do worry this somewhat fell to ‘middle book’ book syndrome, as I was a tad underwhelmed) I still thoroughly enjoyed it and am ridiculously excited to see how this trilogy is going to conclude. I’m just devastated I’m going have to wait yet another year to find out!
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  • Alice
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars | video review ~ 13 min*single tear* Last year, Girls of Paper and Fire came out. This year, I was lucky enough to have my request for a Girls of Storm and Shadow ARC granted by the publisher! I was super excited to receive this in the mail, so thank you Little, Brown and Co. for sending GOSAS to me.If I was lukewarm about GOPAF, I am pleasantly REELING from GOSAS. Natasha pretty much gave me everything I asked for at the end of GOPAF in GOSAS. Color me impressed!Notes: I will have a 4 stars | video review ~ 13 min*single tear* Last year, Girls of Paper and Fire came out. This year, I was lucky enough to have my request for a Girls of Storm and Shadow ARC granted by the publisher! I was super excited to receive this in the mail, so thank you Little, Brown and Co. for sending GOSAS to me.If I was lukewarm about GOPAF, I am pleasantly REELING from GOSAS. Natasha pretty much gave me everything I asked for at the end of GOPAF in GOSAS. Color me impressed!Notes: I will have a condensed video version of this review on my booktube channel. It is essentially a spoiler-free version of this one. I have mild-mild MILD spoilers mentioned here but I don’t go into plot detail.As a reminder, the main things I asked for in GOSAS were:- more expansive world-building outside the palace- more Wren development + further development of Lei/Wren romance- more characters like Kenzo and Zelle outside of Wren/Lei’s main group. At the start of GOSAS, I thought I was in for a Gaysian / Furry Shatter Me. I mean that’s kind of what it is. Lei unlocks the warrior within herself and learns that her girlfriend just has layers and layers of secrets. Ragtag group of teens/young adults fight against tyranny of the Bull King and his foxy general Naja and act real gay while doing it.CharactersHiro – My precious bean!!! NOOOO. He was my fave because he was the deadpan sassy little boy. I had a feeling he was gonna go because there wasn’t a lot of focus on him except for when he was using magic and getting tired. Merrin – I think the dialogue in GOSAS does sassy owl man a disservice because the banter had me annoyed at the leopard siblings and everyone else in the party. Merrin is at least smart and questions shit before everyone else. Wren – I ASKED FOR MORE WREN AND I RECEIVED MORE WREN. DEVELOPMENT. THANKS, NATASHA. Though Wren’s (negative?) development wasn’t at the forefront as much as I would have liked it to be. Probably bc Lei is the POV character, not Wren. The development in their relationship was so interesting I kinda wish we had more hints of it in GOPAF. IT WAS JUICY.Lei – SHE GREW UP SO MUCH MY GIRL. At first her naïveté was annoying but she eventually saw the truth she didn’t wanna see. I actually grew attached to Lei in this book, something I didn’t imagine happening like ever. She’s out there admiring every woman’s beauty. The way Natasha writes Lei’s experiences and her reactions with the trauma from GOPAF in mind is *chef’s kiss*. GOSAS Lei is just such an improvement upon GOPAF Lei. Her background matters so much more because we’re given more variety in character backstories to compare hers with – so the difference in that she was never trained as a warrior is very evident in contrast with everyone else in the party. I’m still unsure as to what exactly Lei being the Moonchosen entails and if there’s anything going on with her special golden eyes. Guess we’ll find out in book 3. Bo – I knew he was going. He was a wannabe Kenji from Shatter Me. It was ripped away from me noooNitta – was annoying with Bo but in the end she drops the truth bombs on Lei and it was so insightful. I approve. Mistress Azami – I LIKED HER CHAPTERS THE MOST along with other side chapters of the resistance faction. Like I said before in GOPAF, characters related to Zelle and Kenzo were the most intriguing because theyre not following the main party’s plot but yet they’re also working towards the same goal. Makes the world feel more expansive bc the world doesnt revolve around Lei and company.Me last year: I woud like more Zelle and Kenzo and like… resistance characters outside of Lei and co.Natasha: Order received. Expected delivery date is November 15th, 2019. Lill and Aoki – good side povs/charas to flesh out what was happening elsewhere. Aoki was tryna help Blue and then got a very rude awakening to the Bull King’s true self. Lill being hopeful and forming relationships with the girls at the Night House and Mistress Azami??? All the women in this book are amazing???? I feel like Lei just being in awe of every woman in this book because she’s like Big Gay Oprah and Keanu Reeves all in one going: “You’re breathtaking, no YOU’RE breathtaking! You’re all breathtaking!”The Bird princess swan girl / Eolah? – She knew what she was doing and I was cheering for her but then she went and sided with the king WTF. All this time I thought we were wasting time wandering in the wilderness but it all had a point in the end to fuck up Lei’s group as much as possible.Caen – ok he was the butt monkey of a lot of the jokes in this book and I thought this highlighted how much the dialogue just did not work for me in GOSAS. idk my knee-jerk reaction is that the shifu/sensei character deserves respect and the way the siblings and co. talk to and about Caen was just disrespectful and immature. Like I legit didn’t register that Caen was mlm bc of the teasing he got form the leopards but then they just say he’s Ketai’s lover like Oh I thought you were kidding but he actually is Ketai’s boo. In my mind Caen was a disgruntled gay Jet (like from Cowboy Bepop) following these youngsters around. The eternal struggle. WorldI asked for more worldbuilding and Natasha answered with all of this!!! I was right to predict that we would see more of Ikhara in GOSAS because they were journeying all over the place for alliances. I’d like more expansion on the different clans and their alliances and I wouldn’t be surprised if I get that in book 3. WritingProse: The physical descriptions of like the lush scenery and environments were beautiful. Natasha brought it with her prose there. Dialogue + Banter: I have issues with the dialogue, especially the banter and humor. It’s just not my style. I feel like it got in the way of establishing who Bo and Nitta were at first. They became annoying since their backstory with the Amala clan was revealed so late and was only hinted at initially. The humor sounded too similar among different characters, it probably would have been better to mix in some variety to help make the voices more distinct. The serious moments made me roll my eyes when SOMEONE just *had* to insert some witty quip. There’s a time, manner, and place and those moments were mistimed, mis-mannered and misplaced.Action: I wasn’t feeling the action scenes until maybe in the last 100 pages with the final fight scenes where Lei went full-on warrior mode. Maybe that was intentional because Lei herself just started training in the beginning of GOSAS. Overall, the action go incrementally better as Lei gets better at fighting – it was so interesting to see that progression.ThemesI left this out in my video review because I was still stewing over this portion after filming it. Think of this as a goody section in my written review.Trauma – Lei, Aoki and Wren all get passages dedicated to unpacking their trauma from being Paper Girls, which is great. Not because they have trauma, but because we’re given multiple POVs on how these girls are coping and/or realizing how the current power structure is affecting them.Plus like… characters die. So there’s that.WrenLei + The Price for Power / Sacrifice – I love that the situation regarding (no spoiler coughs) Wren is laid out so carefully throughout GOSAS. I complained about Lei’s POV in GOPAF, but in GOSAS using Lei as the POV is super useful because Lei herself doesn’t know Wren’s entire life story. She only knows Wren from their time together as Paper Girls. Their backstories complement each other so well, that I’m facepalming at myself for not noticing it earlier. Lei gradually comes to learn more about Wren but maybe not information she would consider the most savory. Lei always put Wren sort of on a pedestal for being so fierce and beautiful and now Lei has to face the entire truth about her boo. It was just so juicy *clutches chest*. The gradual elevation of magic use by Wren and Hiro by sacrificing life force tho ;;;;Closing ThoughtsGOSAS makes huge improvements on GOPAF. Natasha cultivates the seeds of the ideas she planted in the first book, and many of them grow and blossom, while others are still waiting for their day in the sun far off in book 3. GOSAS brings forth exemplary prose and expanded worldbuilding for Ikhara. The friction developing between Lei and Wren is a particular highlight in this book. Overall, the cast of characters play off each other well – the secondary characters elaborate upon and introduce different angles of the narrative that flesh out Ikhara as a society. One particular area of weakness I’ve noticed is the dialogue and humor – GOSAS could be more considerate of the right time/manner/place for its banter and differentiate more between character voices by employing more distinct styles of humor.That’s it for my GOSAS review! I hope you guys enjoy it when it’s released!————I need this in my life OTL can't wait for that cover reveal.6/14/19 EDIT: I'm sobbing I got this as an ARC in the mail just now. 2019 said Alice rights.
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  • Laura ☾
    January 1, 1970
    *Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review * ★★★★★ 4.75 stars Picking up Lei and Wren's adventures where Girls of Paper and Fire left off, Girls of Storm and Shadow is a bold piece of brilliant storytelling. It is a tale of political warring, with shifting alliances, intrigue, complex dynamics in an empire in turmoil and the heart-wrenching choices the characters are forced to make and paths they have to travel as a result. Set in a gorgeous *Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review * ★★★★★ 4.75 stars Picking up Lei and Wren's adventures where Girls of Paper and Fire left off, Girls of Storm and Shadow is a bold piece of brilliant storytelling. It is a tale of political warring, with shifting alliances, intrigue, complex dynamics in an empire in turmoil and the heart-wrenching choices the characters are forced to make and paths they have to travel as a result. Set in a gorgeous world, which is inspired by a mix of asian influences, we get to explore much more of this world and the clans that inhabit it than in the first book. This instalment has a very different tone from the first book, simultaneously more humorous but also feeling much much darker. I felt myself getting much more invested in the characters, as I felt their emotions were better-explored in this instalment, which was heart-wrenching at times. This book is packed with intriguing, lovable new characters, as well as interesting development of those we already know from Girls of Paper and Fire! Lei, who I was not entirely convinced by in the first book actually grew on me in this one!The ethical struggles of the characters related to warfare is one major theme of this book. What means are justified to reach an end? How far should you go? How power corrupts, and the resulting transition from hero to villain are also explored here, as well as the shifts in interpersonal relationships as a result. To me, this book felt much more real than the first book in the series! The shifts in point of view make the narrative more interesting. The first book was written only from Lei's point of view, while this book intersperses other characters' pointe of view, which makes the plot flow much better However, somehow again the middle of the book (about a third)  just wasn't that gripping to me and I still would have loved more of an exploration of the religious system and mythology. Also, due to that cliffhanger I need the third book immediately!
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