We are so thrilled to have Emily R. King on the blog today to discuss her new novel, The Hundredth Queen. If you’ve been following my blog the past few months, you’ve probably seen multiple posts from me about this book. I absolutely LOVED it, and I’ve included my full review below again in case you missed it the first time.
This book will officially be out in the world on June 1st, and I am so excited to discuss it with all of you!
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
This Zampa Syrah is perhaps the only wine that is beautiful enough to be placed side-by-side with this incredible book cover. It is also a spicy red wine, and spicy is certainly one way to describe Kalinda’s character, as well as those of the many AMAZING women in this book. The label hints at the dual roles Kalinda will be forced to play in order to survive.
*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*
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’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.
In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.
- Title: The Hundredth Queen
- Author: Emily R. King
- Publisher: Skyscape
- Pub Date: June 1, 2017
The Hundredth Queen is about a girl who is taken to be the hundredth wife of the tyrant Rajah Tarek. Can you tell us what inspired you to write this story?
This is cliché, but I had a dream. The title—The Hundredth Queen—came to me in the middle of the night. I began plotting the story the next morning and even wrote a scene. I had never had an experience like that before and doubt I will again.
Kali is an incredibly smart, loving, and strong female protagonist, and I mean strong in body, mind, and spirit. What inspired her character?
I love women. And by love, I mean I like to see them succeed. I have three sisters, and although we are very different, I appreciate the sisterhood we share and champion their endeavors. Kalinda is an extension of my beliefs.
There are some great messages in this book about sisterhood, feminism, and what it truly means to be a woman. Can you tell us a little bit about why feminism is important in YA fiction?
YA is a natural place to explore womanhood through young characters approaching that stage in their life. When I was a teen, I wanted to be strong and brave. I wasn’t always (if ever) those things, but I enjoyed reading about women who were. Writing well-rounded, nuanced characters is my way of emulating my heroes.
Kali builds strong friendships within the Sisterhood and with the other wives and courtesans in spite of the fact that they are in positions where they are expected to compete against one another. Was that inspired by any real life experiences?
I doubt I’m the first to recognize that women can be catty to one another. We compete in many things: looks, education, jobs, money, male attention. Everything, really. But I have seen more harm than good come from competitiveness, both to myself and others. It’s natural to compare ourselves to those around us, but if we as women could set aside our insecurities and pride, we could better appreciate each other’s individual strengths and celebrate our triumphs. I am constantly amazed by how capable, competent, and clever women are. They inspire me to do better…and write characters who do better, too.
What was the most difficult part about writing The Hundredth Queen for you?
The world building took a fair amount of time. I did a lot of research on Sumerian Gods and read many books on Southeast-Asia. Even still, my editor and sensitivity readers pointed out where I could improve.
Out of all the fierce female characters in this book, which one was your favorite to write?
Rajah Tarek’s first wife, Lakia, was my favorite. She’s unabashedly ruthless, undeniably tenacious, and somewhat of a tragic character. Lakia wants Tarek to love her with his whole heart, and will do anything to gain his devotion.
The second book, The Fire Queen, comes out in September of this year. Can you tell us anything about it?
I can’t say too much, except that book two includes Captain Deven Naik’s point of view, and it takes place in a far-off land from the Tarachand Empire.
All three books for The Hundredth Queen are expected to be published over the next year. It’s very impressive that you’re able to keep up with that pace. How do you do it?
I don’t sleep. Ha! Just kidding. I work a lot, and it’s intense, but I have the privilege of writing the entire series before the first book is released. This means I get to be alone with my characters and world. I’m not influenced too much by other’s ideas for where the series should go.
What book/books inspired you to want to become an author?
My very favorite books growing up were The Jungle Book, Jane Eyre, and Swiss Family Robison. Any story with fantasy adventure or strong female protagonists influenced my love of creative writing.
This is, I’m sure, the first of many books that you’ll publish. What has your experience being a debut author been like?
Hectic, but fun! Many established authors have shown me the way. They all have sage advice on how to cope with various obstacles and anxieties. I could not do this without the guidance of my author friends and my supportive family.
Enter the Giveaway
One winner will receive a SIGNED and PERSONALIZED copy of The Hundredth Queen! I will have this signed during Emily’s launch event on June 1st and will ship afterwards.
- This giveaway is open to U.S. shipping addresses only due to the cost of international shipping.
- This giveaway will close at 12:00 AM Mountain Time on May 21st.
On top of being an all-around AMAZING story, there are some great messages in this book about sisterhood, faith, feminism, and what it truly means to be a woman.
The story itself is incredibly addictive and fast-paced. The plot is layered beautifully with twists and turns that you’ll never see coming. Emily delivers bombshell after bombshell that create a fascinating backstory for this world. I personally can’t wait to learn even more about it in the next book.
Kali is a fantastic main character and definitely one that you will root for. She has weaknesses that she has to overcome in order to survive, which significantly increases the stakes in this story while also making her relatable. She is intelligent and witty. Watching her navigate both the political pitfalls of court and the physical dangers of the tournament is entertaining and empowering. You’ll want to BE Kali after reading this book.
Kali’s relationship with her best friend Jaya is loving and BEAUTIFUL. I feel like there are too few strong female friendships in YA fantasy. The only other author I’ve seen depict a friendship between women this well is Susan Dennard in Truthwitch. Female characters in fantasy are far too often depicted as loners or as having mainly male counterparts, which contributes to a sort of stereotype that strong women can’t have loving friendships with other women, which is not the case in life and shouldn’t be the default in fiction.
All the women in this story are captivating. It’s so fascinating to watch Kali build relationships with the other wives and courtesans. They’re fierce, they’re warriors, they’re loving, they’re complex, and they’re absolutely inspirational. Emily explores the true meaning of sisterhood in this book in way that I’ve never seen done on such a large scale before, and she does it expertly.
There are also some GREAT male characters in this story as well. Captain Deven Naik is the super swoony love interest that you’ve been dreaming of, and while I found Rajah Tarek terrible and vile, he has a backstory that transforms him into the type of villain you’ll just love to hate.
The magic system is also very well-developed with clear rules, so it maintains absolute believability throughout. I feel like we just got to brush the surface of the magic in this book, and I’m so excited to see more of it in book two.
Clearly, I LOVED this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough! It is set to hit the shelves on June 1, 2017, so mark those TBR lists. And the sequel, The Fire Queen, already has a tentative release date of September 26, 2017, so thankfully we won’t have long to wait between books in what is sure to be a treasure of a series.
Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat.
Are you guys excited for The Hundredth Queen to come out? What are some of your favorite 2017 debut novels so far?