Last year I read the amazing book by Natasha Ngan called Girls of Paper and Fire and I loved it. The story, the characters, the action, the romance… it all worked really well for me. So I was excited for the sequel and then that excitement ROCKETED through the rough when I got approved for the arc by NetGalley.
And then I read it. I don’t want to say it put me in a slump (and if you see how many books I’ve read since you probably wouldn’t believe that), but it’s been hard for me to read since.
I’m not going to comment on the formatting of the arc even though it was exceptionally annoying to read it with how it was formatted, I didn’t focus on that while reading, I focused on the story and that is what I’m going to focus on here.
I am so sad. I really love the first book of this series and this one just did not do it for me. I think the order of some chapters really ruined surprises, I think the relationships were sloppy (barring a couple), I felt like the pace was so lopsided and slow at the beginning only to move so fast at the end that you have no idea what’s going on…. but in a bad way. Lei and Wren’s relationship was my least favorite part of this book. Their chemistry seemed off, they kept so many things from each other and in the end I truly felt like the relationship was Not Good. And in a shotty attempt at avoiding spoilers, all I will say is that they would have conversations that would end one way, and then the next scene it would be like it never happened. I was confused and frustrated. I, truly, started shipping a hetero ship! Like…. what???
I never read the Matched series by Ally Condie but what I know about it is that the second book was them walking through a desert or something and that it felt like they stretched the story just to make it a trilogy and tbh I feel like that happened here. Several chapters could have been removed (and I mean like a quarter to a third of the book) and it would have been the same story.
I love Hiro, Merrin, Bo, Nitta, and Lei and some other side characters that I don’t want to give away. They added so much to the story and were valuable and action driven. But things done to them or weird moments of memory loss or instant ret-con threw me so much and just made me mad and sad. I still love the world and I see the potential in the third book, I’m just disappointed in this one.