I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did (which is saying a lot because I was expecting to love it), and now all I want to do is FLAIL UNCONTROLLABLY UNTIL THE NEXT BOOK COMES OUT. I mean, COME ON, WHY DOES EVERY SINGLE BOOK I LOVE HAVE TO HAVE AN ENDING THAT MAKES ME FEEL CRAZY UNTIL THE NEXT BOOK COMES OUT?!?!
I would say sorry for all the caps, but then I’d be lying.
Here’s why you should read this book immediately:
There is a SUPER AWESOME DIVERSE SETTING. While the setting is fictional, the religion is based on the Sumerian faith, and the whole setting has a strong eastern vibe going on that I could not get enough of. I am seriously obsessed with the culture explored within this story. You will be too, promise.
The women are all KICK-BUTT in every way. I seriously fangirl so hard for strong female characters, and this book has them in DROVES. Good, bad, or in between, every single woman in this book is strong, intelligent, and fierce as hell. It’s freaking awesome. The women are all incredible warriors, and they’re brave and calculating and I wanted to know them in real life. It’s always good to see strong role models in books for young people, and many of the women in this book fit that bill. Some are quiet about their strength, but they are all powerful, and I loved the diversity in the way they chose to wield that power. Also, female gladiators are just so interesting. The whole tournament structure was WHOA.
The theme is about standing together. In these often troubling times (I won’t go into it, but y’all feel me, right?) it’s always a treat to read something that makes me feel like hugging my neighbors and banding together into one giant extended family/community/nation/world. I loved how Kali brought others together, and I truly felt the message was one of peace… specifically choosing peace instead of war and standing firmly united so as not to fall apart. What person couldn’t use more of that in their lives?
Kali is flawed and courageous and totally relatable. I may not have magic powers, but I still felt like I could understand Kali’s POV throughout the story. She’s learning more and more about herself and her past (classic YA heroine stuff) and while that’s happening she’s also just trying to do the right thing (who doesn’t struggle with that?). I respected her and I felt for her, and I truly enjoyed her internal dialogue and seeing how she chose to deal with hard issues (like reconciling her faith with her reality and learning how to both stand strong in her religious beliefs while also standing against the world she lived in).
It’s sexy and romantic without being gross. Sorry if you like a lot of explicit sex scenes in your books… I don’t mean to insult anyone here but I just can’t deal with too much graphic sex in my books (I prefer to enjoy that in real life instead). When books get to steamy I just turn an awkward shade of tomato and skip ahead. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like my books to be sexy or romantic. I do. I just… I like to use my imagination. This story leaves your mind plenty to work with without ever dipping into vulgar or “adult” territory. I really really appreciated that. I like knowing I can recommend this book to absolutely anyone without having to worry about it being inappropriate for them. And I like knowing that if my child ever picked up this book and started reading I wouldn’t have to have a long and embarrassing conversation with him about its contents. So, hate on me if you must, but just know that The Hundredth Queen has so much vibrant passion and romance (and some super creepy relationships too… I’m looking at you, Tarek) without crossing the boundary from YA to New Adult or Adult lit. It’s a perfect balance.
It’ll keep surprising you until the very end. It’s rare I say this about a book, but there was one specific twist I did not see coming and I just love when a book can surprise me like that. I was absolutely delighted that I hadn’t called it ahead of time. There are plenty of twists and turns here, and you will feel all the feels, so just be ready for that (it’s one heck of a ride).
If that’s not enough for you THE. COVER. IS. LEGIT. Let’s just “pretend” that maybe you and I both buy and read books based on how pretty the cover art is. OBVIOUSLY, neither of us would ever do that because you can’t judge a book by its cover yada yada yada… we all know the drill. But let’s just imagine for a second that we DID buy books based on their covers. I guarantee that if that were the case we would both run out to the bookstore this instant to buy The Hundredth Queen (and pre-order the sequel) because the covers are so freaking unbelievably gorgeous. I want to frame them. My ARC didn’t have the cover and I was so disappointed that I had to order a copy of the book to take pictures of (I am anxiously awaiting its arrival so that I can bookstagram the heck out of it).
Now GO already and get a copy of this beauty so that we can flail together until The Fire Queen comes out (thank goodness it’s soon!)!
Rating: 5/5 stars
*I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.*