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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Sugalski

SF/F RECOMMENDATIONS: 12 Books Forged In Fire

Photo by Angela Cronin

Since the beginning of time and spanning nearly all reaches of folklore, the element of fire has represented ardency and intent. There are often contradictory correspondences: filth and purification; Heaven and Hell; destruction and new beginnings.

Those born under the Fire signs of the Zodiac—Aries, Leo (it's Leo season, can you tell?), and Sagittarius—might not generally be the first to come to mind when you think of a calm reader perched in the nook of a library. However, this doesn't mean they don't read; as always, there's something for everyone. Drawn by intense themes of enchantment, philosophy, adventure, tragedy, and rip-roaring humor, these signs and those who resonate with the element of fire are voracious and insatiable readers with the right books in their hands.

We've compiled a list of TWELVE SF/F novels laced with the resurrection and mysticism of fire:

The Girls of Paper and Fire, by Natasha Ngan

Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Patterson Books

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 demeaning. This year, there's a ninth. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it's Lei they're after -- the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king's consort. There, she does the unthinkable -- she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world's entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

Collateral Damage, by Taylor Simonds