The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen #1)
He wanted a warrior queen. He got a revolutionary. 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.
My Rating: 4 Stars
I liked Kalinda from the beginning. I loved the slow introduction to her character and her world. She and Jaya had an amazing relationship and it was clear from the beginning. This story starts with Kalinda in the Samiya Temple were she grew up as a ward to the empire. The wards are informed of a benefactor coming to the temple to pick a wife. They soon learn that it is the Rajah Tarek who has come to select a wife and a courtesan. Kalinda does not believe she will be chosen because she does not have the attributes of some of the other girls. She's tall and thin and prone to fevers which has hindered her ability to train and learn how to fight. The girls are required to fight and Kalinda ends up impressing Tarek. In the end she is chosen and is told she will have to fight the rajah's ninety-nine other wives and courtesans. Her rival, Natesa is chosen as a courtesan. As they trek to Vahni, Kalinda develops feelings for Deven and he for her. They know it is forbidden and that Deven could end up dead but there is nothing they can do about their feelings for one another. Once, Kalinda gets to Vahni things go bad when she realizes that Jaya has been claimed by Deven's father who is a mean man. I can't give away too much but Kali fights in the rank tournment and has to figure out how to survive while concealing a secret about herself. There were some real heartbreaking moments in this story and a lot of action and surprises.
I really enjoyed Kalinda and getting this story from her point of view. She grew as the book went on and I loved the sacrifices she was willing to make for herself and the other Sister Wives. She was so strong and relatable. I also liked Deven and Jaya and Brac, Deven's brother. I finished this book quickly because it was that good. I loved the narrator and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book which comes out soon.