Welcome to today’s stop on The Girl King Blog Tour. If you’ve missed the tour so far, be sure to check out my fellow hosts below.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Series: The Girl King #1
Published by Gollancz on 10th January 2019
Genres: YA Fantasy
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.
A Wee Summary
Princess Lu of the Empire of the First Flame has spent her life working towards one thing – becoming the first female ruler of the Empire. It has earned her the name, the Girl King. So when the day comes for her father to name his successor, Lu and most of the empire are shocked when the Emperor names Lu’s cousin, Lord Set, as the future Emperor. Moreover he announces the betrothal of Lu to Set, the cousin that she cannot stand.
Not one to back down from a challenge, Lu sets upon testing her cousin – but ends up on the run with a price on her head.
Nokhai is an apothecarist’s apprentice. His whole family perished at the hands of the Empire. His people, the Ashina, were slaughtered. Nok keeps his head down, working for the old man who took him in. Until Princess Lu crosses his path and Nok finds himself accompanying the daughter of his Enemy on a quest to find the missing city of Yunis, and an army to help her take back her throne.
Then there’s Lu’s sister, Min. The opposite of Lu, Min is more suited to the ways of court. With her sister on the run, Min’s life changes forever – a husband, a monk, and a power she is yet to unleash.
The Girl King is an Asian fantasy by an #ownvoices author, and is a title I’ve really been looking forward to.
I loved the setting of the novel, the Asian-inspired world and the Imperial system. Yu’s writing and descriptions are full of detail and really painted the scene in my mind.
I always enjoy an ‘on the run’ tale. While the fight to regain one’s throne is fairly common in YA fantasy, it’s a theme that I really enjoy, and The Girl King offers us just that.
The story is told from three perspectives – Lu, Nok, and Min. While I enjoyed Lu and Nok’s chapters, I found Min’s a bit of a struggle – perhaps an intention by the author, but I found her character rather flat.
I think perhaps my foggy mind influenced my understanding of the magic system. I didn’t seem to fully grasp it. I mean I accepted it and got the gist of it, but I felt like I was missing something. Again, probably just me!
Also, a quick note on the romance. We all know I’m fussy about romance in books, but personally I didn’t like that element of this story.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I liked Yu’s writing and loved the setting. I think there’s a lot in this first book to set up for a very interesting second book in the series, and I’m definitely going to be reading on in this series.