The Girl King by Mimi Yu
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 Girl King was a highly anticipated 2019 book for me and it didn’t disappoint. Warnings for violence, death, addiction, and animal injuries/death.
Lu is Min’s older sister and the future empress. She’s smart and tough, and often called The Girl King. Their father favors Lu, but their mother can’t really stand to be around her. She favors Min and babies her. Lu has been preparing to lead her people once her father no longer could.
Lu is surprised when her father announces Set, her cousin on her mother’s side, to marry Lu. Lu hates Set. She has since they were young. So she decides to challenge him instead. While this is happening, Min starts hearing things inside her head. Things that are negative and she has no idea what is going on.
Set gets soldiers to turn on Lu and they try to kill her. She must run and meets up with a boy from her past. Nok is a shapeshifter. They were all thought to be dead or in prisons, but he’s been living with a man since the Emperor’s men killed almost everyone in his family. Nok somehow turned into a wolf, but he has no idea how or why. He can’t control it. He ends up on the run with Lu. They remember each other from when they were young. Lu has fond memories, but Nok has a hard time trusting her after what her father and his people did.
Min is left behind to marry Set. Set has a man with him, Brother, that is sure that Min is the key to them getting all the power and control they want. Min starts to see things, leaving her body and floating around unseen. She doesn’t trust the visions, but the darker person inside her is taking control more. She’s changing Min.
There is a lot of action and betrayal. I don’t want to get into much more without giving things away. But there were a lot of times things shocked me. It’s hard to know who or what to trust at times. There are the obvious bad people, but some of the things they did were still surprising.
I gave this one 5 stars. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing me with a copy for review.
Have you read The Girl King? Is it on your TBR?