The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen #1)
By: Emily R King
Publication Date: June 1st, 2017
As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.
But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.
Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.
In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.
The Hundredth Queen is a romantic whirlwind of magic and kickass ladies. The setting is lush: the fabrics shimmering, the rooms finely decorated, and the food delectable. The characters are rendered, good or bad, with limited flaws, and their actions and motivations were believable. In a world of warrior women, sprawling kingdoms bent on conquering more and more, and a king who has been driven mad by a lust for power and the pursuit of a woman he can’t have, our heroine Kalinda shines and propels this book to a five star read.
The plot revolves around Kalinda and her discovery of who she is and her wider role as a magic wielder and the power she gives, due to her position, to whoever she gives her loyalty. Her pursuit of a cure for what has ailed her through childhood and truth about her lineage pushes her, admirably, to defy her love interest, Deven, making sure he tags along rather than dictating what she can and cannot do. Their relationship is complicated and rocky for most of the book, as is predictable, but it has it’s sweet and swoony moments and my only complaint was that it felt a little too close to instalove for my tastes.
The other characters, Jaya, the King, the other wives, were equally well developed. Jaya was a great friend and I wish we had had more time with just her and Kalinda before the action really started. The King was as slimy, with a beautiful exterior, as a villain should be, and his kindred, Lakia, just as vain, power hungry, and desperate. The other wives and courtesans that Kali befriended ranged from genuinely welcoming and warm to threatening adversaries.
The Hundredth Queen’s greatest triumph, and where it assuaged my greatest worry, is that it doesn’t look down on foreign cultures or their act of polygamy. It’s accepted, not condemned, or marked as wrong. The main character and her romantic relationship is solidified as monogamous, but she doesn’t use it to look down on or pass judgement upon others. The ridicule was in the competition between women for a man’s affection, the hate that was generated because of a man’s lust for blood that degrades the relationship between women who should see each other as family.
For an exciting read that delivers just as much sisterhood as swoons, The Hundredth Queen is an exciting and addictive read.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.