Title: The Hundredth Queen
Author: Emily R. King
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Published: 1st June 2017
Acquired: Bought off Amazon (Kindle First offer)
Rating: ★★★★☆ [3.5]
Goodreads Synopsis:: 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.
Okay, so this book has been on my watch-list for a while, and was one of my Anticipated Releases this June. I’m not going to lie, one of the main reasons I wanted to read The Hundredth Queen is for this is the stunning cover. Yes, I’m a collector of pretty books- don’t judge me! For real though, look how gorgeous it is! I adore the colours, and the gold really adds a magical touch ❤ ❤ I can’t stop looking at it!
Of course, I’m not just sold on covers, I really did like the premise of the story too! The Hundredth Queen follows the story of Kalinda, an orphan who is living in a Sisterhood in the mountains. She is weak and has suffered from fevers since she was a child and, in a land where orphans are picked to become servants and courtesans by travelling nobles, Kalinda’s illness means she is much happier to live her life in the Sisterhood forever. As such, she doesn’t expect to be chosen to become the tyrant Raja’s 100th rani! However, this is not a certain position, and she will have to fight for this 100th slot to the death with any other challenging wives/courtesans. Kalinda will have to fight to survive, while also dealing with lies, romance, and a hidden power forbidden to all.
There were a couple of things I liked about this book! I love that the author has created a fantasy and faith loosely based on Sumerian deities and Asian influences; it is not something I have read much about but it was certainly appealing! I also liked the ideas of the 100 wives conflict and the Sisterhood having skills of warrior women. They were all trained with weapons and sparred regularly, which was nice to see in a world where noble men could essentially ‘buy’ these girls whenever they wanted. That said, Kalinda herself paled in comparison, which is a shame as this element could have been developed so much more.
The story itself was rather predictable at times, but I loved the world. The plot kept me interested, and I honestly couldn’t stop reading it. There was a dramatic end too- so I am certainly intrigued by book two!! 🙂
The thing is, in general I enjoyed the novel and I found it very interesting. But it’s worth noting that if I actually sit down and dissect the book further, there are lots of holes in the story which some could find annoying (like how Kalinda can manipulate her power so quickly, or how easily she could use blades, despite saying her skills were lacking at the beginning). Thankfully for me these didn’t detract too much from the story and I could easily look the other way. It is still a very nice read regardless! 🙂
However, I do want to point out a few things that I didn’t like as much. One minor thing is that it seemed that Kalinda didn’t eat any of her meals? Every single time food is mentioned it appears she never feels like eating due to certain events- HOW was she not starving!?!?!??! It happened so often that I couldn’t stop noticing it, which I found both annoying and funny at the same time.
Also, The Hundredth Queen‘s main romance is Insta-love, which is not really my thing. I could kind of understand it on Kalinda’s part. I mean, being in the Sisterhood she hasn’t had any male contact, so (generally speaking) one would think when she meets a man she is either going to love or hate him. But I honestly didn’t expect the feeling to be reciprocated! It was a bit annoying at how much they felt for each other; there was very little development but the couple would suddenly die for each other?! Unfortunately this style of romance rarely works for me, I did find it a bit annoying and sadly this is one of the main reasons why I can’t rate it much higher, sorry.
I also wanted to make a quick mention about the Parijana faith used in the book, as I find that there is always controversy with Asian-inspired books. I’m aware that there are some people (particularly on Goodreads) who are angry that the book does not acknowledge the multiple faiths and cultures in India. I was a bit wary as the author is not from an Asian-background, so all the elements in the book are from research alone. Unfortunately I do not know much about Indian cultures so I am not able to make an informed judgement on this. However, the beginning of this book does note that the faith used is a work of fiction based on certain Sumerian deities, and used some customs from an Asian friend. As it is a fantasy rather than historical fiction I would have to say that it is inspired by certain elements, but The Hundredth Queen is not based in India, nor does it directly reflect any existing culture. I might be naïve, but as such I’m not sure if this novel does cause any offense in that way? I always love learning about new cultures and viewpoints, so please do let me know your opinion on this, if you have read the book!
In general there are a few issues with this book, but I still enjoyed the general storyline! I actually enjoyed the idea of the tournament and survival a lot more than the magical sub-plot in this book, but maybe that will change in the sequel!
I read this ebook really quickly, so despite everything I still think it is a good read. Congrats to Emily R. King for such an interesting debut! 🙂 After that ending I am certainly intrigued by the sequel, so I may pick it up in the future if there is a enticing offer 🙂
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!