The Hundredth Queen
by Emily R. King
Young Adult / Fantasy / Romance
This is the first book of a four-book series, and I already have the last three requested from the library, because this was a fun bit of fluff. HOWEVER. I’m a little ashamed that I enjoyed it so much, because there is SO MUCH WRONG HERE. Just off the top of my head, there’s fridging, instalove, women ritualistically competing for a man’s affection, and a woman who “isn’t pretty” and “isn’t special” yet beats other women in combat and has men obsessing over her. It reminds me a lot of Empress of All Seasons, except Empress wasn’t culturally appropriative, either! The author is white and lives in Utah, while writing about a culture that takes a lot from ancient India. (Though she says the religion is based on ancient Sumeria.)
The silly thing I keep coming back to is at the very beginning, Kalinda is gifted a carriage and horses as an engagement gift; yet they ditch the horses for camels to cross the desert on the last leg of their journey. Nice gift.
The world-building could use some work, but I expect that to be further explored in the rest of the series. I wish the romance had built more slowly and not been so instant; I always find it hard to believe the heroine can trust her lover so much when she DOESN’T EVEN REALLY KNOW HIM. Like – seriously?
While this is a fun, quick read, I can’t in good conscience recommend it.
From the cover of The Hundredth Queen:
HE WANTED A WARRIOR QUEEN. HE GOT A REVOLUTIONARY.
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.
Ah, I’ve been curious about this book. Very informative review!