Though The Girl King is an enthralling East Asian-inspired debut, I feel like it could have been so much better.
Lu and Min have known that one day, the former would be the kingdom’s first empress, while the latter stays in the shadow. However, things quickly change once their father declares their male cousin Set as the heir instead. From there on, Lu goes on the run and makes an ally of the last-surviving wolf, Nok, while Min is left behind at court to marry and be used as a pawn, although something strange and dark is awakening within her.
See, I thought this was a great book the first time I finished it. The reason it took me so long to write this review was that…apart from all the great scenes — action, romance, thriller — from all three POVs, and the super quotable quotes, I couldn’t stop thinking about how problematic some parts were. The only queer character in this book — from what we’ve been presented — was an attempted rapist, and how the characters refer to another race as “pink”. As an Asian girl, I’ve (and many other Asians) always been uncomfortable with people calling me yellow, so why is it okay to call another race in such a derogatory way?
As for why I didn’t just give the book 2 stars instead of three, I really did like everything else. I liked reading from the three POVs of Lu, Min, and Nok, and I love how they all brought different things from their perspectives. I loved the political intrigue and the ambition in the book. I just couldn’t let go of all the bad things I noted in the last paragraph.
I’ll probably still check out the second book though. I’m interested to see where it’ll pick up after the end of this one.
Title: The Girl King
Author: Mimi Yu
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Giveaway ARC
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
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