Today, I’ve hit a bit of a milestone with my blogging, as this is my 100th post!
To celebrate, I wanted to review one of my favourite contemporaries from last year and an stunning fantasy that’s already a contender for my favourites of this year.
I want to start off with a review of the beautiful Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman.
Trigger warnings: emotional abuse, parental abuse, sexual abuse, racism, suicide, ableism, anxiety, panic attacks
This book reduced me to a sobbing mess.
Akemi has this beautiful way of writing that just entranced me and I can’t wait to read more of her stunning work.
Kiko broke my heart over and over again, as I just wanted to protect her. I’m a big lover of character-driven stories and good character development, both of which Starfish had in bucketloads.
I adored the sketches that were in each chapter, as I just wanted to see more of Kiko’s work throughout the book.
Bowman doesn’t shy away from hard topics either, with unflinching, raw portrayals and discussion around mental health, racism and abuse.
A complex, detailed and quietly brilliant story.
Another book that has completely entranced me is the wonderful Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan.
Girls of Paper and Fire:
Trigger warning for sexual assault, animal abuse, torture, graphic violence and slavery.
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.
But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.
In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
This book was stunning, as in, it took my breath away with its brilliance.
Girls has great characters, a strong supporting cast and excellent political intrigue, all of which I love to see in a book! Every character felt three-dimensional and intriguing.
The world was so well developed and lushly described, I really felt like I was there.
I utterly adored the romance. For me, it provided the quiet, softer moments in a story full of rage and brutality, which made for a really nice contrast.
I really struggled to put this spell-binding, heart-breaking book down. Now all I need is the sequel, which I’ve just learnt is supposedly coming this autumn.
Over To You:
Have you read either of these books and what did you think of them?