ARC Review // The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

ARC Review // The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

“You shouldn’t have told them I was a girl. Then they might have believed that I was dangerous.”

One girl can make a difference…

Moscow has burned nearly to the ground, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to hold accountable. Vasya finds herself on her own, amid a rabid mob that calls for her death, blaming her witchery for their misfortune.

Then a vengeful demon returns, renewed and stronger than ever, determined to spread chaos in his wake and never be chained again. Enlisting the hateful priest Konstantin as his servant, turmoil plagues the Muscovites and the magical creatures alike, and all find their fates resting on the shoulders of Vasya.

With an uncertain destiny ahead of her, Vasya learns surprising truths of her past as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all…

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ARC Review // Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

ARC Review // Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

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.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

Girls of Paper and Fire was one of my most highly anticipated releases of this year, so I was over the moon when I managed to snag an ARC of it at YALC. I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint and has quickly become a favourite of mine!

Girls is an Asian inspired fantasy that follows Lei, a human girl who lives in a world controlled by the Moon caste (anthropomorthised animals). Steel (humans with animal features) are also above Paper (human) castes, the lowest of all. Every year, eight Paper girls are chosen to serve as concubines to the Moon Caste king. This year, however, rumours of Lei’s golden eyes – never seen in a Paper caste before – have reached the King, and she is taken away from her family to be the ninth girl. What follows is a story of intrigue, justice and forbidden love.
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