The Girl King

The Girl King

by Mimi Yu

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The Girl King 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Jasmyn9 9 days ago
Two sisters fighting for the throne and kingdom go from family to enemies. Lu, the fighter and fiercely independent one, and be readying herself to become the first female leader of the kingdom. But her hopes are shattered when her father makes the unexpected decision to give the throne to her younger sister's, Min, fiance. A fiance that has ulterior motives and plans to rule with an iron fist. Lu is a very strong, but unfortunately stubborn, character. She has a picture in her mind of how things should be and struggles to accept it when that picture is shattered by events unfolding around her. Forced to make allies in unusual places, we are introduced to Nokhai, a man from a culture and magical background thought to have vanished. But they will both find out that he is far more than what he seems, and his race is far from disappeared. While Lu is a strong and likable character, I felt drawn to the story of Min. The younger daughter that grew up in the shadow of her sister. When she discovers she could be so much more, the power calls to her and she finds herself in the hands of a skilled manipulator that would do anything to keep her under his heel and under his control. He sees her ancient magic as a tool to recreate the world under his rule and wipe everyone who opposes him off the face of existence. She struggles to find out who she is and what her place in the world will be. This is the first book in the Girl King series, and while it sets the stage for an epic fantasy battle, it is an amazing story on its own as well. There is much more to come in the world, and I feel several surprise revelations on the horizon as the sisters battle each other for the title of King. **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**
Amanda_BetweentheShelves 9 months ago
Princess Lu is ready to be named her father's heir and become the first woman to rule their empire with her sister, Min, hiding in the shadows. But when their father names their cousin, Set, as the heir instead, a series of events are put into place that puts their empire into mortal peril. Lu abandons the palace in order to take her rightful place as heir, making an unlikely alliance with Nok, a survivor from the labor camps up north. Little do any of them know that they have set events into motion that will wake long sleeping magic--leaving none of them the same. Thanks to Net Galley and Bloomsbury YA for giving me an early copy of this book to read and review! I'd been seeing this book everywhere on Twitter it felt like, so I'm glad I got to nab a copy before it was released. Fantasy has been the genre where more diversity is slowly being included, so it's refreshing to have an Asian protagonist that can fit into the likes of characters like Katniss or Aelin. We'll start with my favorite aspect of this book: the magic. I though the system that Yu created was unique, giving this book an edge when put alongside other YA fantasy books. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed the sort of sibling rivalry that's included in the book; we don't see many YA fantasy books where sisters are pitted against each other, and just having a strong female power on both sides of the narrative adds another element to the book that makes it that much more enjoyable. We were also given a large variety of points of view that also gave the reader a larger picture of the war that was quickly escalating. And there was a lot going on, between Lu, Min, Nok, and the various wrongs that the empire had committed. The multiple points of view helped some in keeping these events straight, but I do think a map would have made a huge world of difference (at least for me). I couldn't keep straight where everyone was going and who was moving to fight where. Maybe there will be one in the final version? Despite the magical and mystical elements, the world building here fell a bit flat to me, as did some of the character development. While I enjoyed the different types of magic included here, I didn't feel like I got a good sense of the world as a whole. I wanted more detail, more information about the lives that Lu and Min lead, more about Nok's background. I feel that this would have made the book more immersive--and easier to follow. By the end, I was inundated with characters and places that it was difficult for me to follow what was going on. Instead of including so much in the first book, save some of the events and people for later books; this would allow the first book to breath, as well as creating a more immersive world building experience. Overall, this is an enjoyable read that I think many YA fantasy fans will enjoy. Despite falling into similar tropes of the genre, Mimi Yu is still able to create a compelling narrative that I think will bring fans back for book 2 (because there's obviously going to be a book 2). 3.5/5 stars
ruthsic 11 months ago
The Girl King was an interesting read, with a storyline that keeps you on your toes, and a wide variety of characters to interest you. Told through three main perspectives in the third person – Lu, Min and Nokahi – it is a politically-minded story that has themes of imperialism, colonialism and xenophobia. Lu is the older daughter of the Hu (an ethnic group)Emperor, and a natural leader – she has been trained like a warrior, studied statecraft like a politician, and the grace of a princess to round her out into the perfect heir. Which is why she is enraged when her father instead chooses her first cousin (and her archenemy) for his heir, and her to be his wife. Meanwhile, Min, her younger sister has been bullied by the Empress (who is Hana, another ethnic group) into being a docile obedient princess who doesn’t have much aspirations of her own, but who is starting to awaken some latent magical powers. Nokhai comes from a line of shape-shifters called Kith, whose culture had been decimated and people enslaved by the Hu two generations ago. With such a volatile political situation, the ascension of the next Emperor results in Lu being framed for her father’s death, and ridiculed as the eponymous Girl King. The people in the kingdom are a mix of Hu and Hana, but while their loyalties are more towards the Hu monarchy, they definitely are much more comfortable with a man in charge; Lu rails against this misogyny as she thinks she is better than her cousin Set, who marries Min instead (manipulating a 15 year old is super easy for the golden warrior). As a fugitive, she goes on with Nokhai to gain support from Yunis, another city-state that was conquered by her own ancestors. While on the way, she has to face the truth about her line, how they have destroyed other cultures or subjugated them, how they mistreat people just because they have magic, and contend with her family’s bloody history. While Lu is a good character to look through, primarily because she is, well, badass, and also because she grows so much in the book, understands her privilege and the honor she falsely attributed to her family line, Min is pretty much the opposite. The latter is set up to be the antagonist, or at least to be used by the antagonists which makes her blatant oversight over the terrible things her husband and his advisor do even more frustrating. Granted, she was bullied by her mother and Set showing her any interest was enough to give her loyalty to him, but she keeps supporting him even when he shows he has no qualms about endangering her, or even after ‘witnessing’ what he and her mother did; heck, she keeps going on and on about giving him babies to be heirs *eyeroll* Even when she gains her own power, she only wants to use it for Set’s sake, with no ambition of her own. Nokhai, meanwhile feels terribly underutilized only as a love interest and I hope with that ending, he has a larger role to play in the plot of the next book. The magic system of this book could have done with more development. For most of the book, I was confused as to the existence of Yunis, and why there were gates made before it crossed into the Inbetween. Then there is the whole shamanesses thing, which is never really cleared. As for the sisterly rivalry, that seems to be an exaggeration in the blurb – Min and Lu barely have any interaction, and Min is never really at odds with Lu; her resentment towards the golden child seems justified, but she also looks up to Lu, so it seems o
bookchelle 11 months ago
The cover caught my attention and I was drawn in with the synopsis. That is usually the case for most diverse books these days. And I'm very thankful that there are books with Asian girls on the covers. It's amazing. The Girl King by Mimi Yu is told through three point-of-views: Lu, the promised heir to the empire, Min, the young sister with the hidden power, and Nok, the last of his kind hiding from everyone who would remember him. When Lu's was not chosen as the heir, it split the destiny of the sisters, changing their future and catapulting this story. This story fell a bit short for me. While I enjoy the overall premise, and I absolutely love Lu, Min and I didn't connect as much as I wanted to. Lu was a force that was strong and fierce. She knew what she wanted, and her gumption was loud and clear. I loved how determined she was, and didn't let any man, especially her father, get her down. I enjoyed how she developed as a character, and is my favorite part of the story. Min is young, and her personality clearly showed that. I didn't agree with anything she did, and it was hard for me to read through any part that included her. Nok was someone that I enjoyed but didn't mind either way. I didn't enjoy the romance, but I felt that Nok and Lu would have been better off as friends. Their dynamic is fun, but the romance changed it, and I just didn't ship them. Every time the sisters were pitted against each other, I was waiting for a catalyst to just really propel the story and the pacing. I was waiting for an all out fight between two strong characters. Overall, I enjoyed the story and am interested in reading the next story. *Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.*
thegeekishbrunette 11 months ago
The Girl King is about an empire thrown into mayhem when the oldest of two siblings decides that she will create her own fate no matter the cost, leaving the younger sister with the consequences of her older sister's decisions. Lu, the oldest sister is strong-headed and knows what she wants. Min, the youngest, is very quiet and does as she is told but with such restraint comes a breaking point. They are both relatable since we have all had to decide at one point if what we want has too high of a risk and if we are willing to keep going despite the damage it has on others. We also have had times of being in someones shadow and wanting to break through. The characters are well developed and you really connect with them through her writing as she adds a few PoV which adds another layer to her already in depth characters. The sibling rivalry was something I enjoyed because they didn't really start off as rivals per say. Over the course of the book it builds and we get to see another side of the characters when everything begins to fall apart. The writing is wonderfully detailed as it adds depth to the world she surrounds us in. The one small thing I didn't care for was the relationship building between two of the characters. It felt a little pushed but it's such a minor thing that it didn't make me love the book any less. Filled with mystical beings, sibling rivalry, and secrets this book is nothing short of incredible. If you are a fan of Three Dark Crowns, Shadow of the Fox or just love fantasy, I would recommend this book. I have already ordered the UK version and a US signed copy because I love this book so much! I will anxiously be waiting for the second book. Seriously, if it isn't on your TBR, add it! eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley