This is a book two, so there will be spoilers for book one in the synopsis and review.
Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
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?
Just a reminder that this is book two and there are spoilers below for book one. If you haven’t read Girls of Paper and Fire, you want to skip reading this.
I’m going to start this review with warnings. As with the first book, there are quite a few things that may or may not prevent someone from reading.
Warnings for: captivity, forced sex mentioned from first book, torture and hangings, blood magic and cutting, a lot of deaths/war/battles, bodies cut into pieces/halves, a lot of gore/blood, sacrifice, secret affair, castes (paper treated as if they’re nothing), slavery, death/bodies of children, talk of consensual sex, someone drugged, fires, stealing. I may have missed some. There is also one that isn’t a total spoiler, but I won’t post it. You can message me if you need it.
This was one of my most anticipated books of 2019 and it lived up to my expectations.
The book starts off with a bit of a reminder of how book one ended. Lei and Wren had escaped. They are with Merrin, Bo, Nitta, Hiro, and Caen. (I think I got all of them.) The King is still being healed and there are a lot of rumors about what happened to him. Some believe he is dead (Lei and Wren being two) and others think he’s injured. Both the King and Naja are both plotting their own revenge against everyone involved, but especially Lei. We see a bit about the other concubines from book one, but not a lot. Mostly Aoki. She is torn between her love of Lei and her love of the King.
Wren’s father meets up with the group with their plan to take over from the king they believe is dead. The Hannos are still leading it, but he wants the group to visit different areas and create alliances that are willing to fight. While Wren is 100% in and believes her father will be a fair ruler and not a dictator, Lei isn’t so sure. She has some strange feelings when she meets him. Nevertheless, they all decide to take their chances and help. Nothing during their travel is easy. Lei is sure someone is watching them and she’s trying to deal with her feelings of what happened to her with the King. There are a lot of attacks and fighting. The Hannos ,along with Lei and their spies, basically started a war that will be impossible to win on their own. There are more details about the magic in this one. Lei continues to train so she can fight with everyone. Lei is still very much in love with Wren, but she starts to lose trust in her as more and more secrets come out. Wren is willing to do anything to finish her father’s plans, but Lei has too much heart for certain things that happen.
I really don’t want to get into the plot too much. There are secrets being kept, betrayals, and a lot of fighting/blood. I will mention a bit about my favorite characters without getting into too much detail.
Lei is still a favorite. She’s an overall good person that questions a lot vs just listening and trusting. She sees good in almost everyone. Also, her strength along with her kind heart really impressed me.
My other favorites are siblings. Bo and Nitta are both cat form demons that were exiled from their group. The love between these siblings is everything. Bo made me laugh so much. His banter with Merrin was perfect. I just loved everything about them.
The book has random chapters from other pov’s. Because of that, we go back and forth a bit between the kingdom area and the group’s current locations. I liked that we were able to see what was happening, sort of behind the scenes. The ending was a bit crazy and I cannot wait for book three.
I gave this book 5 stars. Thank you to James Patterson Presents/Little Brown for sending me a review copy.
Have you read Girls of Paper and Fire? Have you read Girls of Storm and Shadow yet? Is it on your TBR?