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The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen Series) Paperback – June 1, 2017
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“King’s debut is built on a solid premise that draws on Sumerian mythology for inspiration…The tale maintains a consistent thread as King embarks on a deep examination of sisterhood, first between Kali and her best friend Jaya, and later when she must fight the rajah’s other wives to keep her place within the palace.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Hundredth Queen plunges readers into a fantasy world full of love, betrayal, rebellion, and magic.” —Deseret News
“King writes multiple strong female characters, led by Kalinda, who has the loyalty and bravery of spirit to defend her friends even if that means facing death. Strong characterization, deep worldbuilding, page-turning action scenes and intrigue, as well as social commentary, make this book stand out. This outing opens a trilogy; readers will be eager to get their hands on the next installment.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This lush and lovely first novel brings a beautiful and brutal culture to life. The ending is left open for sequels, and readers will eagerly follow Kalinda and Deven on their future adventures.” —Booklist
“Filled with many action-packed sequences, forbidden romance, and unexpected surprises, this debut fantasy will appeal to teens who enjoy epic dramas with strong female characters.” —School Library Journal
“The Hundredth Queen is a culturally rich tale of both self-discovery and self-mastery. Emily R. King transports readers to a lush and fascinating world where our heroine, Kalinda, pitted against hardened and clever antagonists, embraces her weaknesses and follows her heart. King leaves you wondering, ‘What happens next?’” —Charlie N. Holmberg, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series
“Richly imagined and gracefully written, The Hundredth Queen is a vibrant tale of forbidden love and personal sacrifice.” —Becky Wallace, author of The Keepers’ Chronicles
“A gripping plot with twists and turns, a unique setting, and strong female characters—a solid foray into the fantasy romance genre.” —VOYA
About the Author
Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat.
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Top customer reviews
THE PLOT – Kalinda, a member of the Sisterhood, is chosen by the current Rajah as his hundredth wife.Proving yourself in battle is necessary, both in the Sisterhood and at the palace. Everyone vies to be elevated, higher ranks determined by victory in the ring.
Everything about this story screams predictability. Unfortunately, the author never recognizes the danger and continues to steer the reader in that direction. It is obvious that Kalinda will have feelings for the young soldier, Deven, just as it is obvious he feels the same way. What makes little sense is that Deven understands the world as it is, yet immediately breaks convention and is willing to risk his life by granting favors to Kalinda. The rules dictating death to a queen who is unfaithful never causes Kalinda to waiver from her infatuation with Deven. Once in the palace, Kalinda faces the expected danger from her Sisterhood rival Natesa as well as Lakia, first among the Rajah’s wives.
THE WRITING – This is the author’s five-star strength. The description is consistent, and reflects a time of long ago. Ms. King’s elegant style deftly describes the action, weaving pictures that effortlessly wrap the reader in the story.
THE WORLD – One wishes for more details describing Kalinda’s world of religion and male dominance. Some of the inconsistencies concerning the relationship between herself and Deven might have made more sense, but defining the culture never gets past a few scrapes off the surface. While the action is wonderfully explained, I wished to learn more about the social mores. Most of what we glean, however, comes in bits and dribbles inserted when something happens and readers must know why. While there was enough to keep me interested, I wished for more.
IN CASE YOU WANTED TO KNOW – Ms. King steers away from using any sort of foul language, and you could read this story to a child without worry. Sex is non-existent, and though sexual tension is present, nothing is written that would make you blush.
OVERALL – The writing is strong, and almost makes one forget that the plot is unremarkable. Images of The Hunger Games flit constantly, casting a pall over the originality of the tale. While Kalinda’s character is best defined, many of the others are one-dimensional, including Natesa, Deven, and Lakia. Motivations are reduced to one reason rather than a myriad of choices, which lessens the reader’s engagement. I did find Ms. King’s use of words and consistency of style to be enough to keep me reading. However, this is a three-and-a-half star book at best, and though the talented description of the action is strong, the lack of developed characters prevent the total ranking from reaching four.
Plain, easy-to-read English with no profanities or adult situations. If this were a film, and it likely will be one day, it would be rated G, except for violence [Revised at suggestion of commenter 'Amazon Customer.']
This is going to be a two-edged review. I will write of how I perceive the story to be, and for what audience it works best. Otherwise, though, this is, regrettably, not the sort of story written for me.
What we have here is a fantasy/love story that is ideal for people who love family-oriented programming similar to programming on Hallmark Channel. Let me hasten to add, however, that I enjoy many of the programs on Hallmark, especially the When Calls the Heart. Thus, I am not knocking that medium and I am not attacking that genre. The Hundredth Queen, however, is just a tad too extreme in that focus, for my reading pleasure.
The plot is pretty basic for a Young Adult fantasy. I picked up on the influence of Hunger Games in the first few pages, but don’t see that as a fault, because The Hunger Games is a great series and has altered women’s fiction forever.
What also is revealed in those first few pages is that the heroine in this story told in first-person has certain vulnerabilities and has not mastered skills thought to be common for her age and time. This is told in a skillful matter and can easily be overlooked and forgotten by the reader.
As I indicated, I like the approach and find that telling the tale in first person keeps it fresh and personal. Bravo.
As for myself, I would have preferred something a little more action-oriented, and with some seedier, even dastardly, characters. It might have required another hundred pages to more fully develop the characters, but I would also like to have heard some down-to-earth squabbles and complaints from Kalinda.
Still, this is a well-organized tale that many folks are going to love. It should reach number one status quite early on Amazon and stay in the Top 10 for quite some time.
Length: Print, 300 pages.
Q - Target Audience/Genre and is it marketed as Nonfiction or Fiction:
A – Family-Oriented Historical Fiction/Fantasy. Think Hallmark Channel in the Ancient World.
Q - How was this book obtained?
A – Bought on Amazon as my Kindle First selection.
Q - Is this a book that I can read without having to read others first?
A – Yes.
Q – If this is a recurring character or a series, does it have a cliffhanger ending?
A – Although the story clearly continues into a second volume, it does not end on a cliffhanger.
Q - Are there a lot of typos/misspellings, grammatical errors or other editing failures?
A – No.
Q - Is this a fast, easy read or is it more of a leisure read?
A – Pretty fast. Engaging. Can be read in one sitting, with a break for a snack.
Q - My biggest pleasure or disappointment?
A – For me, it was a little too tame. A little too cozy. And, as another reviewer stated, a bit too predictable. Shades of The Hunger Games evident.
To give a feel for the editing, and the style and flow of this work, I am posting a brief excerpt below.
‘…chamomile ointment soothed away the redness. My hope that we will fail inspection does not look good.
Healer Baka finishes with my friend, and her calm eyes meet mine. I try to ignore the healer’s adept hands roaming around my body, but it is impossible not to be anxious about potentially being shown to the rajah. I breathe easier when Healer Baka moves on.
Natesa lobs a withering glance over her shoulder at me from where she stands in the front line. A white bandage rings her neck. A thimble’s worth of shame spills over me, but with one sideways glance at Jaya’s cheek, fury burns my guilt to smoke.
I do not know how long we wait, but my knees ache when Healer Baka finishes. “You may put your clothes back on,” she says.
I scoop my robe off the floor and cover myself. Natesa and Sarita flaunt their bodies, unrushed to get dressed. They are replicas of the goddess Ki, petite and round, soft yet firm, fit yet feminine. So unlike my gangly, angled shape.
Priestess Mita, who watched the inspection from the rear of the chamber, confers with Healer Baka. They speak in low, heated voices. Healer Baka looks at me and shakes her head. Priestess Mita nods fervently and steps forward.
“Daughters, you have all passed!” says the priestess.
I lock gazes with Jaya. Her weak smile releases slivers of fear. We are going to be shown to the rajah.
“Daughters,” says Priestess Mita, “we will now adorn you with the mark of Enki.”
The priestess and Healer Baka come around with a pot of henna and draw a wavy line down each girl’s spine. The wave symbol dyed into our skin represents the water-goddess, Enki. Stories depict Enki as a daughter who walks in perfect obedience to her parents, Anu and Ki. Wearing Enki’s mark indicates to the benefactor that we are in full submission. I let my robe hang low at my back, clutching it to my front. Priestess Mita marks me and then leaves the henna to dry and flake away.
Once we are all adorned, the priestess whisks…’
King, Emily R.. The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 390-406). Skyscape. Kindle Edition.
As I stated at the outset, this was a story that leaves the reader feeling good. For me, though, it left me less stirred emotionally, because I didn’t quite connect with the characters. I realize I may sound pompous, but I like characters whose principles are tested and who might, occasionally, fail their principles due to pressures placed upon them. Otherwise, though, this is an incredible tale.
Four stars out of five.
Comments regarding your opinion of this book or of my review, whether favorable or unfavorable, are always welcome. If you buy the book based on my review and become disappointed, especially, I do want to know that and I want to understand how I can improve as a book reviewer. Just please be polite.
First - what's good. Its well written, it paces nicely, its well edited, it doesn't pigeon hole in the traditional medieval Europe fantasy analogue, it has a recognizable magical system with a bit of a twist. Seems targeted at a young adult (teen girl?) audience, but the romance wasn't heavy handed or dominating the book. Neither does the main character's birthright become either the focus of the plot, or her way of resolving every significant conflict. The story is consistent and largely believable, without losing its capacity to surprise. Combat was brutally quick without being unnecessarily graphic, and did not fall into the common trope of "girl stabs assailant in foot"...
What's not as good - some of the characters aren't as dimensional as I might prefer, I'd like to see greater development of the systems of faith and magic in the coming books. Its short at 300 pages, just a couple hours reading between dinner and bed. A hidden historical arc is handed to the reader, and after a page or two of internal dialogue, largely accepted uncritically by the protagonist. Perhaps owing to the book's short length, I was not as motivated in the well being of some supporting characters, or as convinced by their motivations or shifting allegiances.
If the author weren't new, I'd likely rate this a strong three/bare four stars (light romance fantasy not being my preferred genre, I likely come to the novella with some negative bias), but there is tremendous promise here and I look forward eagerly to the next books to discover how the world will continue to unfold.