I got this book from my Kindle Unlimited subscription. It is marked as being for grades 8 and up. In The Hundreth Queen, Kalinda is an 18 year old girl growing up in a temple of sisters. She’s had fevers all of her life, which the healer in the temple “cures” them by giving her a daily tonic. The temple is visited by the rajah, the ruler in the community who has 99 wives. He chooses Kalinda to be his 100th.
It is necessary for me to include a trigger warning for this book: the rajah is not a nice man. His soldiers and benefactors are not nice men. There is very little graphic violence described that is done by men to women, it is mostly implied. The rajah has a harem and it is made clear that the women there are told to accept the advances of any men who want them.
The sisters in the temple fight each other in duels which leads to the rajah picking Kalinda. She then has to fight against the other members of the rajah’s harem to claim her place as the rajah’s 100th wife. She receives so many challengers she asks the rajah to change to rules so she only has to fight the best three fighters. The violence that the harem members do to each other can be graphic at times.
There’s a love story in the book between the Captain of the Guard and Kalinda. It’s pretty tepid and even though he spends the night with her at one point (and somehow no one notices) any sex is implied.
It turns out that Kalinda is not plagued by fevers, she can manipulate fire. There are other members of the kingdom who can manipulate the other elements. They are in hiding from the rajah, who wants to kill them all for unknown reasons. Most of their potential powers and Kalinder’s powers are not developed in this book. I found this book interesting in concept, the storytelling was done well, and I downloaded the next one. I want to see where the story goes.