I was provided with a copy by NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you to Skyscape and Two Lions for the opportunity.
Hey everyone! I hope you’re all having a great week 😀
It took me the longest time to read this one but I finally did it! I’m so proud of myself, because I almost DNFed it. Eh.
Anyway, on to the review!
This review is completely spoiler-free.
- Title: The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen #1)
- Author: Emily R. King
- Publisher: Skyscape
- Publication Date: June 1st, 2017
- Page Count: 302
Eighteen-year-old Kalinda is an orphan at the Sisterhood, destined to become a rich man’s servant, courtesan or wife. The day finally comes when Rajah Tarek chooses her as his hundredth rani and Kalinda has no choice but to face a tournament where she’ll have to compete to secure her position. All the while, battling her own feelings.
Kalinda and Jaya’s friendship was so sweet and heartwarming. I honestly could not get enough of these two! But since there was so little interaction between them throughout the book, it left me very unsatisfied.
There were some nice revelations here and there, which helped make it a bit more interesting. Some of the loose threads left behind were finally addressed and made me go “hell yeah!” towards the end. Also, most of the things that didn’t make sense to me before were clarified.
I really enjoyed the female strength/companionship moments, and how pretty much every character revealed to be a bit more than expected. However, this side of them should have been further explored. Kalinda, especially, only got to her full potential in the last few chapters, which was a bit underwhelming.
I only started to enjoy this book at around 60%. The plot was moving along (at last) and things were starting to become way more interesting. But the first half of the book? Yeah, I practically had to force myself through it. All the action took place almost at the end, so anything before that was pretty forgettable and boring.
Kalinda should have been more naive and innocent regarding the outside world, no matter how much eavesdropping she did. She was way too aware for someone who’d been living a sheltered life at the Sisterhood almost since she was born. It was one of the reasons why her tale never really spoke to me: she felt unrealistic and out of my reach.
The way she kept complaining about her body and comparing herself to all the other girls in the Sisterhood got annoying pretty fast. I can take a little self-deprecation here and there but when it’s constantly brought up, it becomes tiring.
The choices made by the characters and the reasoning behind them left me completely astonished and questioning both their intelligence and their sanity. Granted, Kalinda is only eighteen years old but some of her decisions were just inconceivable. Not to mention her inability to connect the dots even when they’re practically spelled out for her.
This book is quite predictable, for the most part. I’d say I figured out most of the minor twists as soon as they were mentioned and the major twist at around the 43% mark. I’m going to let you guess how long it took for Kalinda to figure it out.
I felt like there were literally chunks of text missing from this book. For instance, sometimes a character would be sitting somewhere in one moment and standing right across the room in the next, as though the author had forgotten their original position. Or a character that was never mentioned during the description of a room and its occupants, suddenly spoke up and I was like “where did you come from?” It was very weird and made for some very awkward transitions.
There was no build up or even a climax to speak of during the most crucial scenes. Thus, my emotional involvement was close to null. This type of scenes requires a certain expectation, a certain tension to make the reader as fearful and on edge as the characters themselves. Yet, The Hundredth Queen was unable to set the mood.
Most of the scenes were really rushed and gave no time for the reader to connect with the characters’ own feelings. It felt like a list of facts was being thrown in to be digested in a few seconds and forgotten soon after. It was very disappointing and frustrating because these moments could actually have been really good! I simply never cared enough about any of the characters or what happened to them.
It wasn’t just me, though. They felt emotionally distant, like what was playing before them had nothing to do them. Where was the rage? The sadness? The frustration? Sometimes it felt like they were accepting everything without batting an eye and it was maddening. I’m not even talking about showing their feelings on the outside – that’s understandable – I’m talking about their thoughts, their inner feelings. Those felt absolutely dead. Especially Kalinda, whose mind we literally had access to.
The romance… What was that about? The two characters involved had as much chemistry as a sack of potatoes and, well, potatoes. I didn’t understand how the relationship even came to be (instalove) or why it developed. I didn’t understand why they were professing their love for one another or risking their lives for the other.
Most of their conversations were super awkward. Not to mention one of them kept getting hot and cold and hot and cold again way too many times for me to take it seriously. It felt more like a passing fling than anything else.
The villain(s). The main one was just… Well, meh. He was mean and awful, yes, but it felt more like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum than a cruel ruler ready to cut off someone’s head. Thankfully, he got better by the end but still. I would have liked to see more viciousness from the very start. The other minor villains were frankly much more developed and believable.
Also, the big scene at the end? The moment we had all been holding our breaths for? Forgettable. Rushed. Didn’t stir an ounce of emotion. It was over before I could blink and find myself caring enough. Sigh.
Finally, I got a major Grisha vibe from this, which didn’t feel very original. You’ll get it if you read it.
The Hundredth Queen was incredibly disappointing. It had a good enough premise, a good enough story to tell, yet no spark.
In between the choppy writing, awkward dialogue, uneven narrative, undeveloped characters, a soulless romance, silly decisions and the characters that made them, lack of build up and tension during major scenes, inability to convey the characters’ emotions and make the reader feel anything, there wasn’t a lot that I could salvage from my reading experience.
I enjoyed a few moments here and there and appreciated the complexity the author injected into the plot, revealing little twists along the way until the final big one. However, I guessed about half of them beforehand so it wasn’t as exciting. Also, when a story fails to pull me in until about 60% of the way, there is obviously something very wrong.
Overall, The Hundredth Queen wasn’t a dreadful read and it did pick up towards the end. But I felt no actual connection to it and have no desire to find out what happens next. A book I, unfortunately, will not be recommending any time soon. But, as always, feel free to read it for yourself and form your own opinion.
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Thank you so much for reading and until next time!