READ. THIS. BOOK. PLEASE. Content warning for sexual assault and graphic violence. "When the world denies you choices, you make your own." There's so much I loved about this book, from the gorgeous descriptions of the different castes of Ikhar and their history and spirituality to the strength of the women who inhabit it. There's action, betrayal, loyalty, friendship, a romance that didn't make me want to vomit and an underlying hope despite brutality. I loved learning about the world our characters inhabit and I became immersed in Ikhara. I believed in this world and yearned to learn more about its history, its magic, its spiritual beliefs and its customs. I don't think Ikhara would have come alive for me if not for the gorgeous descriptions that made me want to sigh with the satisfaction they gave me. I highlighted so many sentences that made me want to follow Natasha Ngan around and have her describe to me whatever she sees. I want so much to give this book 5 stars for the world the author transported me to alone and by rounding up from 4.5 that's essentially what I'm doing anyway, but there's something that's niggling at me. This may be a problem with me, not the book, but sometimes I felt a disconnect between what I thought I should be feeling and what I was actually feeling. Without getting spoilery, events would happen that would affect one or more of the Paper Girls and I'd think I should be crying, full of rage, joy, something … but wasn't. I was always interested in knowing what was going to happen next but my emotions didn't fire up. I'm hoping a reread will clear this up for me.