The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Hello everyone. How are you all? It feels like it’s been a while since I came here to write, though actually behind the blog I’ve been writing a lot. In my absence I’ve also been catching up on the TBR pile I accumulated too. Amongst them was this beautiful hunk of a book:

The Girl King by Mimi Yu follows an Empire’s history as it’s being made. Lu is destined to be the first female Emperor, until a shock announcement causes her to become an outcast of the Royal family. As she flees the life she has clung to, she meets the consequences of her family’s destructive past, quite unbelievingly through an old friend. Nok, who is burdened by his own past, senses the uncovering of everything he has worked hard to bury. Meanwhile, back where Lu left her sister behind, Min is discovering she is not a shadow to The Girl King’s status at all. She can be just as threatening to the throne as anyone.

Fantasy is not a genre I usually delve into. As much as I’ve tried, I don’t seem to be able to get on with the stories very well. However I very much fell in love with The Girl King’s cover on first sight. For one it’s got the striking werewolf which gripped my heart immediately, and then there’s the apparent lean towards “Girl Power” themes. The decision to bring a copy home with me wasn’t difficult.

When I started reading I was reminded of all the conventions that put me off the genre – I mention this for complete honesty. And not as a criticism to Mimi Yu’s work at all, but I have noticed a common criticism of the book is that it’s too bog-standard. Even after 200 pages I was uncertain whether I was truly enjoying reading or not… As someone who doesn’t look at the genre often I can’t offer much in the way of comparison, but I thought the story was exciting. Particularly the final scenes. It just took a bit of time getting to it!

Of course I wouldn’t be recommending it now, if I didn’t think it was worth giving a go. There’s a lot of story all going on at once. I really enjoyed how it jumped from character to character, plot line to plot line, and eventually all comes together. Thinking back, it could have elaborated a lot more on character’s background stories rather than being quite repetitive in the present. The final scenes gripped me the most. Each character has clear agenda, although it was difficult for me to actually like any of them! They all clash in views and it’s still difficult to pick a side. If you’re an avid reader of fantasy I would probably steer you towards something else. As someone who is not that, I’d say the book is enjoyable.

You may be able to tell from this ramble that I’m in two minds about the book. It doesn’t necessarily lie on the side of good or bad. I’d be really interested to know anyone else’s thoughts and whether you have any alternative recommendations!

In the meantime, have a good weekend ^_^

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