Ｔｉｔｌｅ：The Hundredth Queen
Ａｕｔｈｏｒ：Emily R. King
Ｓｅｒｉｅｓ： Book 1
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ： ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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.
✩ Kalinda was a strong main character for the story. I loved her fierce loyalty to her friends and her unwillingness to accept things that were wrong, even if they were long-standing traditions. She had a strong sense of justice and fairness that I loved her for.
✩ I loved Mathura because she took up the role of the kind and wise old woman. I liked how perceptive she was.
✩ Now, don’t get me wrong. I hated Rajah Tarek, but I liked how well written his twisted character was written. He was obsessive, cruel, and lustful.
❝ Anything can be changed by those who have the courage to blaze their own path.❞
This book was easily one of the top 5 favorite books I’ve read this year. Because if you wanted some badass women, you got them. In Kalinda’s world, women take pride in learning how to fight as a sign of their devotion to their deities.
Kalinda and her best friend, Jaya, have made plans all their life to stick together, but things don’t go according to plan when an unexpected benefactor shows up to temple for a Claiming.
One of the biggest strengths of this book was the worldbuilding. There was an array of Gods and Goddess, different stories for them, virtues, prayers, traditions. I liked all the detail and thought that went into creating this world establishing their faith-based system.
Besides having a rich story, the characters were another bright spot. I felt connected to more than a few characters. Even characters I disliked I was able to understand even if I couldn’t like them for what they were. They were well written and that’s always something I can appreciate. In particular, I strongly disliked Tarek for all the sick things he did (and had others do), but I liked his twisted sense of love and devotion as his inner motivation.
❝ Not all women have my temper, Captain.
“Not all women wear it as well as you do Kalinda.❞
Kalinda was admirable for wanting to protect others, especially if they couldn’t defend themselves. She was just and fair, and more than a little spirited, but I loved her for her kindness.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the magic. Even though the powers based on the traditional four elements is a bit overused I liked the way that Burner’s (fire users) powers were applied.
I have to say, however, that I was not really invested in the romance in this book. It seemed a little forced and kind of sudden. I might have been behind it more had it been built up a little slower throughout the book. It felt like insta-love, especially because the characters admitted to falling for one another at first glance. There didn’t seem to be a strong emotional connection between them as much as there was a physical attraction.
Overall, I have to say that this book was really great. It sucked me in from the very start. I’m really looking forward to following the rest of the series!