“The Hundredth Queen” by Emily R. King
Skyscape, 300 pages, $9.99, June 1, 2017, Goodreads
Beauty abounds in this stellar novel by Emily R. King. Kalinda is an orphan who lives with the Sisterhood, which promises her a quiet life of prayer atop their high mountain temple. But one day when the Rajah comes for a claiming, a ceremony where he chooses one of the wards as his wife, Kalinda’s life is turned upside down.
The Rajah chooses her to be his one hundredth Rani, which sets in motion a deadly compeition between the Rajah’s other wives and his courtesans for higher ranks within the harem. Kalinda must now fight her way in order just to stay alive, but that’s difficult when she keeps getting distracted by Captain Deven Naik, her personal guard.
This novel is simplistic, gorgeous storytelling at its best. With magic and romance thrown in, as well as the added risk of a deadly competition, this story has something for everyone.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The pacing was quick, which made it an easy read, but the contents had intrigue and complications that made it complex. King is a skilled storyteller and by using Kalinda as her narrator it helped me to be present within the story.
I couldn’t help but root for Kalinda during the competition the Rajah forces his wives and courtesans into, and when Kalinda realizes that sisterhood is so much more important than anything else the feminist in me screamed like Meryl Streep at the Oscars a few years ago.
Though this book only touched on that theme of sisterhood I have a feeling King will be fleshing it out in the books to come.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a beautifully articulated adventure with magic and romance thrown in. The underlying feminism is very inspirational.
Emily R. King’s sequel to this book, “The Fire Queen” will be out in September, and you better believe I will try to review that one too. Emily R. King can be found on Twitter at @Emily_R_King, on Instagram at @emily_r_king, and on Goodreads.