Review: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

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Overall Score: 7/10

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Yes, Book 1

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: June 1, 2017

Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Summary (From GoodReads)

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.

Review

As soon as I saw the summary for The Hundredth Queen, I wanted to read it. It was a different book than I expected but I still ended up enjoying it. The world that Emily R. King created was both beautiful and brutal. The characters and plot were intriguing. I will definitely be reading the sequel.

Kalinda was a mostly wonderful main character. An orphan, she grew up in one of the the Sisterhood’s temples, training in the art of combat. I loved her friendship with her best friend and how she attempted to stay true to their dreams of the future. One thing I didn’t like about Kalinda is that she sometimes looked down on other women for their choices. However, she also drew attention to the fact that the women shouldn’t hate and fight each other but rather the culture the Rajah has forced them into. It was slightly confusing but I did appreciate how the author dealt with the poor treatment of women in this world. I’m very intrigued to see how she’ll develop this theme in the next book.

The plot was generally interesting and the pacing was good. I remained engaged and interested throughout the entire book. The world was fantastic, beautiful, and deadly. I loved how the author brought it to life so vividly. There were a few things that could have used further development (such as the magic system and some of the history) but they were relatively minor. The rank battles between the women, both in the arena and out of it, were brutal and the author pulled no punches in her descriptions. I liked how the author slowly revealed one secret, setting the stage for a sequel that promises to be even better than this one.

The romance was a bit too insta-lovey for me, although I could see the appeal of the love interest. However, neither of the characters acted rationally or really thought of the consequences of their actions before diving headfirst into the relationship. I wish that we had gotten more scenes of their relationship slowly developing so I could better understand the attraction between them.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. I would recommend to fans of YA fantasy/romance.

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