A gripping science fantasy written for young adults - but will appeal wider. Lei is Paper Caste, a lowly, persecuted class. She is snatched from her village, with 8 other girls, to become concubines to the Demon King - a high honour. Despite the opulence of the palace, there is oppression & violence. Not for the faint-hearted, this nail-biting tale explores the horrors of sexual abuse but also Lei's touching secret love affair with another girl.
I smile despite myself at the proud flick of her neat lynx ears. Tien has worked for us for as long as I can remember, more family now than shop hand despite our caste differences. Because of that, sometimes its easy to forget that there are differences between us. But while my father and I are Paper caste, Tien belongs to the middle caste, Steel. Somewhere between my plain human body and the animal-like strength of Moon castes. Steel castes have elements of both, making them a strange meeting point between human and demon, like a drawing only half finished. As with most Steels, Tien has just touches of demon: a tapered feline maw; the graying amber cat's fur wrapped around her neck and shoulders, like a shawl.