Review of The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Read: 8th January 2019 – 29th January 2019 DNF

Rating: ⭐⭐

Spoilers in review: Not really

On paper, this looks like a really cool East Asian inspired fantasy with strong female characters and with a sibling relationship at the forefront. I really should’ve liked it.

I gave up when I was just under halfway through, according to my e-reader. Even that much had taken me much too long to read. Every time I went to pick up the book, I felt like I would rather be doing anything else, and I had long journeys to fill! At a fundamental level, it simply wasn’t interesting enough to hold my attention. However, there were also specific things that made me not want to read any more.

Firstly, there are three pov characters, and they were all present at a certain event when they were children. What event? I have no idea. They were all really cagey about it in their internal monologues. It very quickly stopped being a mystery to be revealed at a later point, and just became annoying that there would regularly be paragraphs of narration that were meaningless at best, but were often just confusing.

It takes quite a long time to be given an age for one of the pov characters. The reader is told quite early on that Lu is 16 years old, which is a fairly standard age for ya protagonists, and there is no doubt that that’s her role. The boy, whose name I think is Nok, is presumably around the same age. But it takes quite a while for the reader to be told the age of Lu’s younger sister, Minyi. Before that point I had decided that she was probably aged somewhere between 10 and 12, based off of how she thinks and reacts to people and events around her. She also gets her period for the first time over the course of the novel, so that added to my thinking that. But apparently she’s supposed to be 15. The difference in maturity between real 15 and 16 year olds is tiny, but if you were to go by what’s presented in this book you’d think that people magically become adults upon their 16th birthday.

The specific event that caused me to stop reading was an attempted sexual assult that occurs just before the halfway mark. 9 times out of 10, those don’t need to be there, and it didn’t happen in a way that gave me faith that there would be far reaching emotional consequences for the character it concerned. If this is something that would bother you, then I’d advise against reading this book.

Honestly, I stopped reading this a week and a bit ago. It’s only now that I’ve gotten round to marking it as such and writing up this review. I was that bored with it.

I received an e-arc through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Review originally written in 2019

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