Published by Skyscape on September 26, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Some kissing; references to nonconsensual kissing and touching
Reviewed by: Tacoma
In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.
Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.
But as Kalinda’s tournament strengths are once again challenged, so too is her relationship with Deven. While Deven fears her powers, Ashwin reveres them—as well as the courageous woman who wields them. Kalinda comes to regard Ashwin as the only man who can repair a warring world and finds herself torn between her allegiance to Deven and a newly found respect for the young prince.
With both the responsibility to protect her people and the fate of those she loves weighing heavily upon her, Kalinda is forced again to compete. She must test the limits of her fire powers and her hard-won wisdom. But will that be enough to unite the empire without sacrificing all she holds dear?
THE FIRE QUEEN takes the battle royal concept to a fictional and fantastical desert empire whose people worship gods based on Sumerian deities. This time, the teenagers involved are all women and capable of great feats of both magic and strength, which is what drew me to the book initially. The second in The Hundredth Queen series, it does not stray far from the original conceit, as Kalinda is again thrust into a tournament that puts her life and her people at risk. The stakes are raised with the introduction of a love triangle and with multiple people vying for control of the empire.
Unfortunately, there are also multiple characters fighting for space within the story. THE FIRE QUEEN suffers from an abundance of characters that are never fully fleshed out. For example, in the first four pages, nine characters are introduced or referred to, not including Kalinda. I made a cheat sheet to keep track of how everyone was related and had to frequently add more characters to it with only the roughest idea as to their personalities.
As for the love triangle, I only ever rooted for Kalinda to be free from her obligations to fight and to be single. I never bought into her romance with Deven, her guard and lover from the first book. Their relationship is highly problematic from the beginning due to differences in power. Throughout THE FIRE QUEEN, he refuses to acknowledge Kalinda’s past trauma, disapproves of her using her powers, withholds information, and punishes her for his own jealousy. Just one item from that list would be enough for me to question the romance, but with all of those factors, it was difficult to even like Deven.
Kalinda, on the other hand, is admirable. She fights for her throne, hoping that her actions will improve her people’s lives. I only wish that her romance options and the tournament challenges she faced were worth her time.Series Titles:
- The Hundredth Queen
- The Fire Queen
- The Rogue Queen
- For another series featuring characters competing for love and a chance at a better life, check out The Selection Series by Kiera Cass.