The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Publication date: 10 January 2019
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Page count: 496 pages
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
Welcome to my stop on the Girl King blog tour! This highly anticipated YA fantasy novel hits shelves on 10 January of this year. I was lucky enough to get my paws on an early copy of this book, and while it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea I think a lot of readers are going to love this debut.
Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead – a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.
Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally – and an army – if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved . . .
Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens – a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.
You all know I love books that feature sisters, and this was the main draw of The Girl King, and this was one of the highlights of the book for me. I really loved the way the sisters’ relationship changes, evolves, and becomes more and more complex. This book had such an interesting take on the sisterly relationship — they are not particularly close, however their love for each other complicates the separate paths they’re going down. As much as I love reading about sisters who have a fierce love for each other, it was so refreshing to read about a more complicated sibling relationship.
Lu and Min are our two main characters and they’re so incredibly different. I was absolutely fascinated by Min’s story arc. In the beginning, she is so incredibly meek and timid but has such an incredible rage burning beneath the surface. The way that rage begins to develop into mysterious powers was so intriguing, and I loved watching her give in to her anger. It was so easy to forget that she was so young — only fifteen years old — and Yu did a great job balancing that rage with the thought process of a child.
While I really enjoyed Min’s side of the story, I had a tougher time with Lu. Lu is our Girl King — she’s been training to sit on the throne her entire life and it is snatched away from her at the last minute. I think Lu is going to appeal to a lot of readers for her fierce, stubborn personality, however she just didn’t click with me. In a lot of ways her personality reminded me of Lila Bard, a character I dislike but is beloved by so many readers. That kind of character is not someone I enjoy reading about and I really struggled with Lu’s chapters, which make up at least half of the book. The two sisters really overpower Nok, our third POV character, who should have had the best storyline but felt a little underwhelming.
Overall, I liked The Girl King, but it just didn’t quite click with me as a reader. However I think this book is going to be perfect for you if you like fierce, headstrong heroines, political intrigue, complex families, and magic.
Want to try The Girl King for yourself? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Girl King blog tour! I’m going to be checking out what other readers thought of this highly anticipated debut.