Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Book review: The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Book Summary
Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

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.

Flo's Review
This was an interesting read for me. The word building was fantastic. I enjoyed reading about the Inbetween especially, but also about the other cities and areas within the world. The people and places were all distinct and fascinating. Secondly, the pacing was on point. It was an addictive story: I just kept flipping pages and thinking, "Okay, I'll read this one more chapter." Then it would end, and I would just keep on reading.

The sticking point for me was the characters. I recognize this is because of a personal characteristic of my own reading. Specifically, in order for me to enjoy a book, I have to like at least one of the characters. I've got to be rooting for someone. I love being invested in a character -- wanting what they want, holding my breath as they go through the trials on the quest for this goal. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but for the most part, if I don't find a character I care about, then it makes it hard for me to care about the book. That's what happened here. Several minor characters, major and minor, mention how Lu is an entitled princess, arrogant, and stubborn. She definitely is. And at the end of the book, I did not feel any character growth from her -- she was still the same demanding princess she was at the beginning. Min, her sister, had the biggest transformation of the main characters in the book. I don't want to spoil too much, but I didn't like Min before, during, or after. 

Nok was the main character I liked best. But so much of his story is told in vague pieces, in flashbacks as he remembers events that happened to him before the start of the story. It took me too long to really piece together what happened to him, and without that I found it hard to really know him. But of the three, I think his story in Book 2 will be the most interesting.

I recognize my own reading preferences reflecting my thoughts on this book, so in conclusion -- give this one a try! The world building is amazing, the culture is rich and diverse, and the writing is excellent.

The Girl King publishes January 8, 2019. Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an advance reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

No comments :

Post a Comment