Title: Girls of Storm and Shadow
Series: Girls of Paper and Fire #2
Author: Natasha Ngan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 403 pages
I received an ARC copy of this from JIMMY Patterson Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
NOTE: As this book is a sequel, this review may contain spoilers for book 1
Lei and Wren have escaped the confines of the Palace. But slaying the Demon King was only the beginning. Now the real rebellion begins. As Lei, Wren, and the rest of their group travel across the country in search of allies, they encounter not only threats from the court they’re trying to overthrow, but insidious doubts within their own group.
“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?”
➸ POV: 3rd Person, Multi POV
➸ Lei: “Moonchosen”, Paper Girl, Fought the Demon King
➸ Wren: Paper Girl, Daughter of the man leading the rebellion, Magic wielder, Bred to help lead rebellion
➸ Content Warnings: *There are content warnings from the author at the front of the book* Violence, Self-harm, Sexual Abuse, Trauma Recovery, Death of a Child, Blood/Gore, Scenes of War/Fighting
Overall I enjoyed this sequel but I didn’t love it quite as much as book 1. While I loved these characters and being back in this world, the plot was way too heavy on the traveling for my personal preference.
I was a little apprehensive going into this because I knew a lot of what I loved about the first book wouldn’t be present in this sequel. And while I did miss some of those aspects, this book had so many amazing moments and new characters. I absolutely fell in love with the new side character in this which made the fight scenes feel so much more high stakes.
I also loved that this book really showed the losses/sacrifices of war. Too often in YA fantasy, war is depicted as epic final battles where the good guys all persevere. But Natasha Ngan did an amazing job at showing what war can take – lives, mental health, relationships, etc. There were so many difficult moments throughout this that ripped my heart out. Definitely take a look at the content warnings before going into this book. It tackles some pretty dark themes that could be heavily triggering to some readers.
My biggest issue with this sequel was the focus on traveling. The entire plot of this book is the band of rebellions traveling across the country to gain alliances. And honestly I personally just don’t like that fantasy plot. The “walk, walk, fight” arc isn’t something I enjoy and sadly that’s mostly what this book was.
Also, each and every character in here made absolutely abhorrent choices. I was so frustrated with almost every single character at one point or another. They kept doing terrible things or making ridiculously stupid decisions that I as a reader could see from a mile away. It was definitely a little frustrating at times.
Overall I’m glad I read this sequel and definitely plan to continue with the series (especially with the way this one ended!). I’m desperate to know how Lei’s story wraps up and how some of the hints and little threads that have been introduced all come together. I love Natasha Ngan’s writing and this story was easy to fly through. I can’t wait for 3rd and final book next February!