OWN-VOICE, ASIAN-INSPIRED FANTASY WITH SHAPESHIFTERS ~ The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Review

The Girl KingTITLE: The Girl King
AUTHOR: Mimi Yu

RELEASED: January 10, 2019
PUBLISHER: Gollancz
FORMAT: ARC

GENRE: YA Fantasy
GOODREADS RATING: 4.22

TRIGGERS: Harassment, bullying, sexual intimidation, mention of someone wanting to sexually abuse someone, animal death [very short, during battle]

SYNOPSIS
All hail the Girl King.

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.

Standaard

I mean.. Do I even need to explain why I wanted to read this? Political intrigue, a character destined to become the first female ruler and then there are shapeshifters? Nobody should even expect me not to read this, want to read this, want to cuddle this and devour it and.. and.. well.. everything.

The good

While it did take me a while to get into this novel, I know my romance / cozy mood was the blame. It had nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with The Girl King itself. On the contrary! Once I had my romance fix, I flew through this book in no time at all. The writing is superb and drew me in without letting me go. There are different kind of page-turners and this is definitely the kind that originates from fluent writing! Both descriptive but not too descriptive; the perfect balance for me personally.

There were some thought so ugly and so true that once released they could not be unthought. Like a drop of blood spilled on white silk.

I loved the world Mimi Yu created as well. The history, the gods, the magical elements and the political intrigue all got to me. Although there are moments where a lot of it is explained at once, it’s also spread out some bit and a “learn as you go”-experience together with the characters.

Which, of course, brings me to the characters! The Girl King consists of three POV’s – Minyi, Lu and Nokhai. Minyi and Lu are sisters but couldn’t be more different. Min is submissive and quiet, adapting to the people around her and their demands while Lu is the absolute bad-ass of the two. She’s called the Girl King due to her ambition to become the next ruler. They are so different and.. well.. they don’t really have the sisterly relationship I expected them to have but it does make sense the way it is.
As for Nokhai – easily one of my favorite characters. [The other one I can’t even talk about since that would spoil things, ugh!] He’s had a rough past and struggles with himself and said past throughout the story. It’s amazing to see how he slowly changes.

She suppressed the urge to glance back into his mirror; she already knew what she’d see there. A girl who could be anyone. A Girl who could be nothing at all.

Like I mentioned in the triggers, there are definitely some things to watch out for in this novel. They actually gave me the creeps at times. Sexual assault, intimidation and harassment are present a couple of times and, honestly, it hurts to see it but it’s also done in a way you know adds to the story. Sometimes that isn’t the case, but I’m glad it was this time.

The bad

If there’s one thing that took away from my reading pleasure, it’s how one character in particular kept making these ridiculously stupid mistakes. I can understand someone being naive, but at times it was over the top and.. had unnecessary consequences that could’ve been avoided. I actually slammed the book against my head once – softly, don’t worry – because it was just. so. stupid. That character definitely needs to learn a bit more about self-control!

You have all you need within you. I believe that. I believe in you.

4.5
I can safely say I do need the sequel of The Girl King in my life ASAP. I loved it and cannot wait to see how our characters will change, grow and what will happen next!

What makes you think of a book as a page-turner?
Is it always the same element that makes it that way or does it differ?
What are some of the best page-turners you’ve read?

Nametag

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16 thoughts on “OWN-VOICE, ASIAN-INSPIRED FANTASY WITH SHAPESHIFTERS ~ The Girl King by Mimi Yu

  1. All reviews I’ve seen for this have been less than positive – and mostly DNF’s. It’s so nice to see that the good vastly outnumbers the bad in your review. The world sounds absolutely interesting. I’m a sucker for ‘learn-as-you-go’ moments. I find it adds to the connection with the characters because when they know, you know. So that’s definitely got me really interested in this. Fab review! I think you may have convinced me to pick this up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, awesome! I’m the same when it comes to world-building. I can appreciate it when there’s a lot of world-building at first and then the story actually starts, but I do prefer learning as I go because it makes things easier to remember as well.
      I hope you do end up enjoying it should you pick it up!

      Like

    1. I honestly haven’t even checked out a lot of other reviews yet because, in a way, I’m scared I’ll end up seeing faults in this book I didn’t see at first? Or maybe I simply was in the perfect mood at the perfect time for this one, haha.
      In any case, I hope you end up enjoying it if you decide to read it!

      Like

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