The Hundredth Queen
by Emily R. King
Paperback edition, 300 pages
Published June 1st, 2017 by Skyscape
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.
Plot + Pacing
The plot was predictable, we’ve seen it so many times in YA, but still enjoyable nonetheless. I feel like some things are happening too quickly and deaths are brushed aside easily, but there are also things that took forever to happen. This pacing works very well for the book though, so no complain here.
I got a very strong Grisha trilogy vibe here. The plot is not exactly similar, but there are elements (and maybe some dialogues?) that make it so similar for me. I don’t know, I just can’t shake the grisha-ness while reading.
I enjoyed reading about it, but the obvious use of Indian culture really unsettles me. Yes, it made the world easier to visualize, but it’s also very stereotypical. I mean, saris and elephants? Really? Also we never got confirmation whether this book is set in historical India or other fictional land who happens to be exactly like India. Whether the story set in India or not, for a world that relies heavily on India culture, why did the author choose to use Sumerian deity as the country’s faith rather than Hinduism? All these things just bugged me during my reading time.
I never like flowery prose, unless it was written really well. This book is not one of those unfortunately. The phrases and metaphors feel awkward at times.
Again, they are characters we’ve seen in other books. Kalinda is the special snowflake, the reluctant hero with great power lies within. She’s literally the chosen one. I don’t really care what happened to her, she doesn’t really stand out except for her relationship with Jaya. Captain Naik is our typical brooding patriotic hero who turn his back on his country as soon as he saw our heroine. Brac is our typical side characters and Jaya… I don’t now what’s her point other than as a driving force for Kalinda to act.
The character that stand out to me was Lakia. I’m both hating and admiring her while reading. But I also sympathize with her. It must’ve taken a lot of strength and determination to maintain her position and love someone who doesn’t love her back. She truly loved Tarek like, love LOVE him. Why she does is a mystery though. It must’ve been very lonely, with her husband doesn’t love her and the rest of the harem hating her. And despite seeing her least, her presence is there throughout the book.
NOPE. The worst kind of insta love, where they meet for one time and fall in luuurve. For Kalinda, I can give her some pass since Deven is the first man she met throughout her life. But Deven? He chose to save the king over his brother, yet when it come to woman, he betrayed his king? Definitely not a kind of guard I’d have on my court.
Okay. Really, my reaction of this book is just okay. The plot, characters and trope have been done hundred of times in YA literature and the author didn’t twist them to make something refreshing. It’s just there and tbh, it’s very mediocre.