“Finish it. Those had been Zelle’s last words to me. And though she was talking about the King, I know that in order to truly finish it, I can’t stop at taking the King’s life. I’m going to burn this whole godsdamned place to the ground.“
The jaw-dropping conclusion to Girls of Storm and Shadow left the fates of Lei and Wren hanging in the balance. There’s one thing Lei knows – she can never return to the Hidden Palace. The trauma and tragedy she suffered behind those opulent walls will plague her forever. She cannot be trapped there with the sadistic king again, especially without Wren.
The last time Lei saw the girl she loved, Wren was fighting an army of soldiers in a furious battle to the death.
With the two girls torn apart and each in great peril, will they reunite at last, or have their destinies diverged forever?
I went into reading Girls of Fate and Fury with both fierce dread and hope. The Girls trilogy has become near to my heart with all of its unique characters, atmosphere, and of course, all of its stakes. Thankfully, Natasha Ngan skillfully weaves the story together in a spellbinding conclusion.
So, what did Girls of Fate and Fury do differently than the first two books? For one, we are introduced to dual perspectives and are able to follow both girls: Lei, who is captive inside of the Palace, and Wren, who is viciously fighting with the Hannos army outside of the Palace. This dual POV style allows the readers to intimately see the reality of both girls and leaves room for imagining how they will be reunited. I thoroughly enjoyed this new feature in the trilogy because I enjoyed reading about Wren and the war waging outside of the Palace as well as following Lei while she perilously discovers who her secret allies are inside of the Palace (Who doesn’t love the secret code words/phrases trope?).
“The small bird flies on the wings of the golden-eyed girl.”
There were many moments throughout the book where I found myself stopping to pause, study, and visualize how the scene before me was unfolding. Natasha Ngan is masterful at writing the spectrum of a fantasy book: from the pulse-quickening battle scenes to the quiet pensive moments we spend inside the characters’ minds. The entire book is riveting from start to finish.
“As I look back at the soldiers, it strikes me I’m not the only one riding to their death tonight. Do some of these men and women feel marked, too? Do they also sense a swift blade and sudden rush of blackness awaiting them? Are their hearts also crazed with fear? A voice in their heads crying out this can’t be it, there is so much more they wanted to do, so many years they hoped to have, so many more times they wanted to feel the sunshine on their skin and the warmth of their lover’s embrace. To close their eyes at the end of a long day, so certain there’ll be a new one to wake to.”
The theme of this trilogy comes down to the dismantling of oppressive power. It is a version of the classic David and Goliath tale of an unlikely protagonist defeating a seemingly invincible opponent. Though some have critiqued this book under the guise of it doing “nothing new,” I find that I cannot feel more different. I was entirely consumed by this sapphic and action-packed trilogy, and I believe the world-building and plot progression across all three books were sensible. I believe that the character arcs were complete and believable, and that in the end, the driving purpose of the trilogy is achieved.
In all, I am very happy with the conclusion of the Girls of Paper and Fire trilogy and I look forward to reading and reviewing future works by Natasha Ngan.
“It strikes me that now Wren and I are truly on our own. Yet it feels right in a way. We came to the palace alone, only to find each other. Now, we’ll destroy it on our own. The two of us. Together. The whole way.”
P.S., there’s more!
If you want to see my reactions to reading Girls of Fate and Fury in real-time, I did a reading vlog on my YouTube channel where I take you along for the week and discuss/react to this novel! Watch it here: