Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Girl King (The Girl King, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Girl King (The Girl King, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Girl King

(The Girl King #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,803 ratings  ·  481 reviews
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 go
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 10th 2019 by Orion Publishing Co (first published January 8th 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Girl King, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Elias I hope not! It should be a trilogy or series. Duologies are a fad and are series butchered for the new, shortened millennial attention span.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,803 ratings  ·  481 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Girl King (The Girl King, #1)
Emily May
"I am going to win back my throne."

See, here's the thing. I've read this book before. Many times. Hundreds of times, it feels like. The Girl King sounded good, but it does absolutely nothing that hasn't already been done by countless YA Fantasy books.

What we have here is another young woman looking to reclaim her throne. She journeys around with standard Hot Dude™ and hopes to recruit the Yunians, a group of people with magic, to her cause. It's not a short journey, either. I was ready to f
Dear The Girl King,

It's not you, it's me.

Gang, it's heartbreak hour. It is devastation o'clock over here in my brain. Because this book sounded good as hell and in many ways for many readers probably would be good as hell - but for me, it just didn't work.

This book is, on paper (ha ha book jokes), very Cool. It is sister-centered (usually something I love). It is Asian-inspired. It is high fantasy. It is unique.

But never, not once, did it ever really grab my attention. I just never felt interest
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
DNF @ pg97

I really... really hate doing this. I want to love this book so badly. I was hooked on the idea of it when it first came out, and I hyped it up so much in my own head that I did a little happy dance when I got the ARC and everything. But honestly, I just can't connect with this at all. I'm not interested in the plot, I can't connect with the characters, and the writing isn't doing much for me. I do love the main character, Lu, because she's an angry, feisty little warrior, but the pers
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Hell yeah! I enjoyed it!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Listen. I might not have enjoyed this book, but white people saying it’s not Asian enough and that the characters might as well by named “Kate and Mark” is straight up slander. There’s so many Asian inspired elements and the author obviously worked really hard on the world building.
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. THE GIRL KING is another book in a long line of "strong female" heroine-centered YA fantasy novels being marketed to young adults, and it doesn't do anything that's too different from what's already on the table, apart from being an Asian-inspired kingdom with a heroine who's a person of color. I get that people of color don't have the luxury of saying that they're fatigued by tropey
julianna ➹
*looks at all of the lower ratings* well, this is awkward

I really just loved this book. I had some mixed feelings while reading it, but guys, the payoff was amazing at the end. It was like And I Darken x Girls of Paper and Fire x The Winner's Curse?? I’m so glad this was my first read of 2019 <3

Also, I was taking notes while reading the book, which I normally never do, and boy is there a long list of trigger and content warnings.

trigger and content warnings for xenophobia, genocide, labor camps,
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
What a disappointment! I was expecting so much more out of this Asian fantasy.

While I liked the Asian setting and the magic system, I found the characters one-dimensional. The sisterly rivalry felt quite forced and I wasn't a fan of Min's character, who I found weak, whiny, naive and even her sister refers to her as "simple". Compared to Lu, who is an ambitious female warrior who wants to take over the throne, it wasn't particularly believable that she would be a contender.

Nokhai's shifter sto
Vicky Again
short version: would not recommend.

There's no good way to say this.

I've been really really excited for The Girl King (I'm #OwnVoices for it too, so you know I was super pumped!).

But, this ended up being uncomfortable for me? Part of this book felt pretty problematic, and I'm just really sad and disappointed that this did not work out for me.

I dislike writing negative reviews. I try to be picky about the books I choose so I don't have to write negative reviews. And I avoid writing them when I ca
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
All Hail The Girl King

Betrayal! SO. MUCH. BETRAYAL. These royals are some shady ass people and I lived for it! I need the second book and the first one is not even officially released yet. #readerproblems

When I read this synopsis. saw the STUNNING cover and then realized it was an ownvoice Asian-inspried fantasy – I knew I needed to feature this book and ask Mimi Yu to come visit us in 2019 on TBR and Beyond. Thankfully, she generously accepted and I’m so glad. I think the members a
Lili  Marcus
Lu and Min knew their position in the Empire. Lu is to be their dynasty’s first female ruler and Min her shadow. Everything changed after their father declared their cousin Set as the new Emperor instead of Lu. And the events that followed made the sisters rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor.

All Hail the Girl King.

Who else’s heart skipped a beat after reading that title? THE GIRL KING. The title alone made me go to Edelweiss and Netgalley to request the ARC. H*ck I even thought of sen
tw: attempted rape scene

4.5 stars


I have almost no words that can coherently describe how desperately I have longed for this kind of sweeping epic East Asian fantasy that is reminiscent of those 50+ episode historical dramas that had backstabbing family politics, bloodlust, ambition, betrayal, dangerous emotions!, and everything else. Needless to say, this book completely took me by surprise by how far it leaned into the bitterness and complicated feelings with sibling
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my top 2018 reads! Check it out if you like powerful, determined girls, because Lu - the titular Girl King - is going to knock your socks off!

My official review:

"This action-packed epic fantasy engrossed me from the first page. Lu, the fierce Girl King, is the heart and soul of this tale of legends, gods, and destiny, and she is a heroine for the ages! I loved rooting for her and look forward to reading more of her story."
Adah Udechukwu
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Girl King was awesome, spectacular and action filled. I loved it. I loved every moment. The plot of the novel made sense. I am definitely going to read book 2.
Cora Tea Party Princess
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
5 Words: Family, magic, power, manipulation, control.

Content Warning: Attempted rape, manipulation, violence.

See my Book Beginnings thoughts.
Blog Tour: Book Review: The Girl King by Mimi Yu.

I loved The Girl King right from the start, it was a fast paced roller-coaster of a read, and I couldn't put it down.

I think my favourite character was definitely Min. She's very much a product of her upbringing in how she bears herself, but she still has a spark of something despite it. She's a pawn used by
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
THAT ENDING I AM SCREAMING I can’t wait for book 2 ajdskkdjdjdj



I literally only heard of this book 5 minutes ago but that was more than enough time for me to decide that I NEED THIS SO MUCH
Eleanor (bookishcourtier)
This was such a solid book, and I cannot understand the low ratings and mixed reviews for this one! I thought that for a debut it was really really good, and I definitely found myself wondering if this author is actually a debut author after all. There are so many good things about it (and yes maybe there were a few things I didn't love as much), and all in all I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, kickass female characters and awesome magic systems.

The Girl K
Samantha Shannon
The Girl King is incredible. I expect it will be one of the most talked-about debuts of 2019, and rightfully so. It's beautifully wrought, with rich and atmospheric descriptions and complex worldbuilding. I'm a huge fan of the way the female characters were given the space to be anything, whether that was angry, powerful, ambitious, cold, protective, family-oriented, clever, hot-tempered, devious – anything. Nokhai was great, but Min and Lu are the real stars of the story. Both were fascinating ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

An absolutely enthralling, East Asian-inspired fantasy debut! Readers, watch out for this one. All three POV's deliver on unique characterizations that will set a tense storyline that will grip you from start to finish.

“Beauty as a weapon - one that required honing and care, like a sword. But also like a sword it could cut both ways.”

The Girl King promises heartstopping action in the midst of destinies woven across the characters’ timelines. Whether readers are attracted to Lu’s tou
Ardent Reader
3.5 stars

The book was not much interesting as I have expected. Nothing happened specifically to grab my attention.
Honestly, the title was the only thing that attracted me.

Upon the comparison of the main two characters,
Lu's character was much more ambitious than her sister who wants to win her throne back.
On the other hand, Min's character was naive and weak.

But I would very much like to give a try on the next book as I'm curious as to what will happen next.
i had high expectations for this and.... it was ok.

things i liked:
~ the character of Lu was well done and i really liked her, as well as the character of Nok. i was also REALLY looking forward to their romance (i feel like some major romance right now, recommendations?) however i was kinda disappointed - more on that later.
~ i found the storyline and idea really good and quite fascinating, and i was capivated throughout most of the book
~ the world it was set in was really cool! i liked it

laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
3.5 stars

It was hard for me to rate this one.

So prepare yourself for a big, rambly review that will make no sense whatsoever as I try to unscramble my thoughts.

On the one hand, I enjoyed the premise and liked the varying points of view. I loved the setting, the different beings, and the theme of colonialism/conquerorism that predominated the narrative. I loved the promise of epic greatness.

On the other, I never really connected with any of the characters. Are any, aside from sweet, soft Nok, sup
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
it was meh? I mean, it had potential, but it was so basic and didn't deliver. there was a romantic relationship I saw coming from miles away but it was so not needed, and the addition of a kinda love triangle? huh. in the end I'm just disappointed because it could've been so good. I don't think I'll continue with the rest of the series unfortunately (3.25) ...more
Kathy - Books & Munches
Political intrigue, a character destined to become the first female ruler and then there are shapeshifters? Nobody should even expect me not to read this, want to read this, want to cuddle this and devour it and.. and.. well.. everything.

The writing is superb and drew me in without letting me go. There are different kind of page-turners and this is definitely the kind that originates from fluent writing! Both descriptive but not too descriptive; the perfect balance for me personally.

There were s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I’ll be honest. I’m not into “journey” books. You know the type – our intrepid heroes cross forests and oceans and deserts in order to fulfill their destiny. I personally find them boring and an excuse to force character development. But I decided to give this one a try because I’m a sucker for stories where the hero has to fight their way to a throne. Contests between the existing heirs apparent? Fights to the death? Battles between embittered siblings? Gimme!

Unfortunately, I was, in the end, d
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting YA fantasy debut.

There were some things that I absolutely LOVED. Mentions of menstruation?? OH MY GOODNESS. MORE OF THAT, PLEASE. And thennn we get discussions of how menstruation interacts with the magic system???? Be still my beating heart. Honestly though, for SO MANY girls periods are a point of shame and embarrassment. I absolutely loved how Yu put periods on the page in a YA fantasy book.

I also loved that while we got one female character who could have so easily fe
Megan ❀

ARC provided by Bloomsbury via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts and review.

It was okay. The Girl King doesn't have any glaringly bad issues, but neither does it do anything particularly remarkable. I know this story. I've read it a hundred times before. This is a book about a princess trying to reclaim her kingdom, and the only difference is that it's not in a European-inspired setting.

The highlight of this book for me was Min. Min isn't a character I see often in YA, and so I was es
Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my 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 disappointme
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
4.75 / 5 stars

Holy crap! This book took elements from like EVERY ya fantasy series that I love and then made them work and focused on the sisters and their relationships instead of the romances (can I get a damn amen?!). The pacing was great, the characters were really well defined and I loved all of the influences/parallels of real world colonisation infused (the opium wars, for one). My only criticism is that the magic system and paranormal aspects need to be more fleshed out and explained bec
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Descendant of the Crane
  • Empress of All Seasons
  • Wicked Fox (Gumiho, #1)
  • Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
  • The Candle and the Flame
  • The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1)
  • Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1)
  • The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1)
  • Unravel the Dusk  (The Blood of Stars, #2)
  • Inventing Victoria
  • The Afterward
  • A Thousand Fires
  • Crown of Feathers (Crown of Feathers, #1)
  • The Waning Age
  • These Witches Don't Burn (These Witches Don't Burn, #1)
  • A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)
  • The Caged Queen (Iskari, #2)
  • We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Mimi Yu was born and raised in rural upstate New York. Her hometown is the site of both the Women’s Rights Convention (1848) and the largest active landfill in New York State (ongoing).

She currently resides in the SF Bay Area of California, and soon she will live near Chicago. She has never been a midwesterner before, but she does enjoy a good casserole.

Besides books, Mimi likes quilting, gardenin

Other books in the series

The Girl King (2 books)
  • Empress of Flames (The Girl King, #2)

Articles featuring this book

Bow down, readers. We've rounded up the most popular royal books in the young adult fandom. How are we qualifying their noble...
268 likes · 39 comments
“All hail the Girl King!” 1 likes
More quotes…