Two Queens Are Better Than One: The Girl King by Mimi Yu Review

If a cover instantly draws you in, peaking curiosity, then it’s certainly done it’s job. It also means it represents what is inside, literally or metaphorically. I was instantly draw to the cover of The Girl King (UK edition) and couldn’t wait to get into this fantasy book.

So, what’s the book about?

“Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as princesses of the empire. Lu is destined to become the first female emperor, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. When their father declares their male cousin heir instead, his betrayal throws both their lives into chaos.Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu must flee the court in search of an ally. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. After years in hiding, Nok is forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved. Now they need an army to take back the throne.Left alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens. It’s a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow Min to claim the throne herself.” – Hachette

A story about sisters or siblings will always have its appeal to me. The idea of two central characters taking the reigns, exploring the family dynamic and not dropping everything for a lover every two seconds is refreshing. The Girl King showed signs of this early on, but as soon as the main male character was introduced, my mind wandered down a predictable path, as did the story.

Three characters took the stage in The Girl King, Min, Lu and Nok. Despite the character Nok having the rare ability to shape-shift into a Wolf, I found his perspective a tad boring compared to the two lady mortals Min and Lu. He very quickly became the generic male counterpart and love interest trope. Obviously, their is a point of understanding though. How else do you introduce romance into a novel?

Narrative choices were typical of a fantasy story-line, more specifically with the conflict and build up. This doesn’t necessarily mean that things weren’t enjoyable – I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl King – it’s just that some people might not find the narrative choices or character build up as rewarding as they would have liked.

I recently asked people on Instagram whether they preferred first person or third person writing or whether it even mattered. I’m personally a fan of first person over third person as I think it allows for a more personal and intimate look into the minds of the protagonist or set of characters. The Girl King was written in third person but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it managed to create a personal connection, easily found in first person, but with third person. Props to you, The Girl King.

The journey of heroes certainly applied in The Girl King and characters simply ‘getting to places’ was present. Although I sometimes became distracted because I think we can all agree that many journeys in books don’t always need to be quite as long as they are. I did read The Girl King quite fast though so there clearly was still enough momentum to keep things going for me.

To read more about The Girl King and pick up your own copy, check out the Hachette New Zealand website!