I’m a fan of short books. They’re great ways to get your reading count up if you’re trying to meet a goal, and they’re a wonderful way to fit some reading into the day when you don’t have the energy or mental space for a longer, meatier book.
But sometimes, shortness just doesn’t work for the story you’re trying to tell. Sometimes, you really do need to take the time to explore your setting and your plot, and if that takes 500+ pages, then so be it. If you need to do that in order to do justice to the story that you want to tell, then you need to do that!
Unfortuantely, Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao is a perfect example of when short books do no favors, for either the author or the reader. If you want to know why I, unfortunately, did not enjoy this book, then read on!
Listen. If you don’t know by now how hard I ball for Filipino authors – well then, allow me to take the time to welcome you to my blog, because you’re definitely new around these parts if you don’t know that about me!
I’ve been a long-time fan and supporter of Kay’s, and when I heard that her novel The Wolf of Oren-Yaro was going to be published, I was ecstatic. Not only because it’s a magnificent, unapologetically Filipino-coded high fantasy, but also becausemy dream publisher and favourite industry bookish people of all time, Orbit, was the pioneer that decided to take a chance on this novel. Naturally, when Shealea (whose blog is temporarily down while she makes some improvements!) announced the #HailTheBitchQueen tour, I knew I had to sign up.
Despite my hellish work schedule (which you already know all about if you follow me and my rantings on Twitter, lol) and the intimidating page count (496, y’all!), I just knew I had to sign up. And I absolutely didn’t regret it one bit.
You know I’m always ready to step up to the plate for Asian literature and Asian authors. So as soon as I heard that Girls of Paper and Fire was a thing, you can bet I wanted to get my hands on it. I actually mentioned this title in my list 2018 Releases I Want to Buy and when Shealea of That Bookshelf Bitch got an ARC that she very gamely agreed to lend to me, I was just over the moon!
Let me tell you, Girls of Paper and Fire did not disappoint.
I tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but tread cautiously!
No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.
But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…
War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.
In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers. The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.