Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Published: January 8th, 2019
Trigger Warning: Violence, Emotional and physical abuse.
Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy for fans of Renée Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir.
Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos. Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.
As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other. Told in three distinct points-of-view, this first book in a sweeping fantasy series weaves a story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice. – Synopsis from Goodreads
All Hail the Girl King!
Betrayal! SO. MUCH. BETRAYAL. These royals are some shady ass people and I lived for it! I need the second book and the first one is not even officially released yet. #readerproblems
When I read this synopsis. saw the STUNNING coves and then realized it was an ownvoice Asian-inspried fantasy – I knew I needed to feature this book and ask Mimi Yu to come visit us in 2019 on TBR and Beyond. Thankfully, she generously accepted and I’m so glad. I think the members are going to adore this one when we read it in February. The Girl King is about two young princesses. The first, Lu, is very strong, brave, opinionated and determined to do things her way. While the second sister, Min, is timid, polite and does everything that is expected of her. When Lu finds out that she is not going to become the next empress and must marry her arrogant cousin, she sets out to change her fate and everything goes to hell in a handbasket after that.
I also can’t forget to mention my favorite character in this whole story – Nok. I don’t want to say a ton about him or how he fits into the story. I’ll let that unfold for you all as you read. Amazing character and completely surprising plot point involves him. All of the characters are well developed, including some amazing side-characters. I feel like I’ll be obsessed with The Oracle, Vera for a long time! Badass is putting it lightly.
I am not sure if this will be a polarizing read in the YA community or not. The female characters in particular are very fierce but not always likable. I personally loved very flawed characters and I love how many dimensions these young women have in the book. Sometimes I adore them and am cheering them on and sometimes I’m banging my head against a wall from a decision that is being made. I love that though!
The Girl King has complex world building and a really cool magic system. I love that the author takes her time to build it so I fully understood what was going on and became completely immersed. One thing I adored about this book is that there is an EPIC battle scene. They don’t hold back at all and it gave me all the feels and goosebumps. I can’t stop thinking about it. Too often the battle scenes feel rushed, not this one! This one is perfect!
I highly recommend checking this book out when it is released on January 8, 2019. I think this is going to be a huge hit and rightfully so. Give me more of that diverse fantasy because I’m living for the different stories that we are getting from it!
Thank you Bloomsbury. ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.