The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Much disappointment

Posted January 8, 2019 by Sophia
19 Comments

The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Much disappointment

The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Much disappointmentThe Girl King by Mimi Yu
The Girl King #1
Published by Bloomsbury YA on January 8, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Publisher


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.

The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.

I wanted to like this book.

In fact, I wanted to love The Girl King. Sisters! Rivals! Betrayal! Family! War! Mimi Yu’s debut smells of an action-packed adventure with sibling rivalry, magic and court politics that would be hard to put down. Bonus points for #OwnVoices.

But much disappointment has occurred.

Bookwyrms, much disappointment has indeed occurred. I spent loads of time deciding if I should continue trekking my way through The Girl King or calling it quits. Eventually, at 50% through, I decided to call it a day because we don’t have time for books that aren’t enjoyable.

We’re not going to talk much about the problems involved.

“Slipskin” feels awfully weird for a shifter/werewolf influence, bookwyrms. Sure, it’s “slipping” out of one’s “skin” and into another “slipping” into another “skin.” But is it just me, or do I think of something gross and slimy at the thought? 🤔

And let’s not get started with “pink.” I legit thought of newly born babies.

Vicky from Vicky Who Reads has this covered in more detail in her review. (I guarantee you her post is 100x more professional.)

I didn’t connect with anything in The Girl King.

Sure, I went to at least halfway through the book, but it was a whole lot of back and forth reading between this book and another one. I didn’t care about the storyline or the world, even though I could relate to some of the cultural influences included. Despite enjoying Lu’s fierceness, I ultimately didn’t care about Lu or any of the other characters involved. I found myself interested in continuing the book at some points, but at the same time, I didn’t really care.

The Girl King Mimi Yu

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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19 responses to “The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Much disappointment

  1. I’ve heard that this one is unsatisfying for so many people. I’m sorry that you couldn’t finish this one, but it is always freeing to let go of a book that isn’t bringing joy. Hope your next read is much better!

    • I heard about that as well! Right when I hopped onto the page to mark it as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads, I saw all the negative reviews and thought, “Crap.”

  2. I feel the same way about this book! So many people were raving about it, but I just couldn’t get into it either. The world building felt so “meh” that I couldn’t get into it at all.

  3. You’re not the first person I’ve seen feel this way about this book. Which is all the more sad because I was going to pick this up and go to a signing by Mimi Yu later this month. Maybe I’ll pass. :/

  4. I am so sorry you didn’t like this one, Soph! Yours isn’t the first negative review that I’ve seen, and it’s a bummer because I had high hopes for this book.

    Also is “slipskin” used as a slur, derogatory term? Because for some reason it makes me think of “skinjobs” from Battlestar Galactica.

    • It is! I had high hopes as well since I’ve been seeing people in the community excited and now that reviews are out, the hype has unfortunately died a little.

      Slipskin is used as a derogatory term as the actual name is Gifted Kith if I recall.

  5. I definitely respect your decision to not finish this one, even though I had high hopes for it too. Even the cover looks like it promises a good story (judging a book by its cover, blah, blah, blah).

    And yeah, I can see how “slipskin” can turn you off. On one hand, it seems like a valiant attempt to create a unique mythology/terminology for the fantasy world, but it does end up sounding too awkward/gross to have the right effect.

    I am sorry that it didn’t live up to your expectations, but I am glad that I read your review!

    • LOL, Tessa. You’re right, though. The cover definitely promises a good story and it’s just a bummer I didn’t get around to it. I think the slipskin might be used with good intentions and a purpose to show how the world is flawed in The Girl King, but it just felt… weird? The slowness of the book and the characters were the ultimate factors into DNFing, though.

  6. I pretty much cringed when you said slipskin :’) I’ve read it gets better at the end, but to drag yourself through an entire book you’re not enjoying just because of a good ending.. yeah that’s not worth it

    • Noooooo, not worth it at all! At least in my opinion. Depending on the book, I WILL finish and drag through the book (I did it with Dragon Pearl), but it really depends if I like other things about the book and I decide it’s worth the drag through to get to the end. Unfortunately, The Girl King just didn’t mesh well with me and I thought it wouldn’t be worth it at all.

  7. Sorry to hear how disappointed you were. Had high hopes for the book, the premise sounded intriguing but the sad reviews has me passing. Thanks Sophia for your honest review. ❤️❤️