Note: This review is for the second book in The Hundredth Queen series. If you haven’t read the first book, check out the spoiler-free review here! Beware; this review will contain plot points from the last book. I won’t spoil anything outside of the summary from this book, though, so if you’ve read book one, you’re safe.
I said in my review of Emily R. King’s last book that “I fell into The Hundredth Queen like a soft bed.”
It was a little different this time — It took me forever to get invested again, because I had to spend the first couple of chapters playing catch-up and trying to remember the characters’ names. That’s not a mark against King’s writing, it’s just a common issue with “book twos.” To be fair, I almost always have this issue with second books and this only lasted the first few chapters.
The Fire Queen was good. Don’t let the above tangent fool you. Perhaps it didn’t draw me in and enfold me from the start like book one did, but it certainly wasn’t boring or badly-written. Plus, if you loved book one, book two doesn’t really need to hook you from page one. You’re already in. Once I made it past the recap of the characters and figured out how much time had passed between the end of book one and the start of book two, King’s welcoming writing style resurfaced. I genuinely enjoy reading her writing, and that hasn’t changed.
Granted, the whole “Kalinda reaches another country, only to be thrown back into a tournament” plotline was a little strange at first. In the summary, it mentioned Kalinda’s “tournament strengths” are challenged and she is “forced to compete,” which kind of made it sound like King’s series would be formulaic, like reality TV. Rinse and repeat: Kali is forced to compete in a tournament, she prevails, she flees, she gets entered into another tournament… you get the point.
Luckily, the tournament Kali finds herself in the middle if is different this time. I won’t spoil anything, but these are more like trials than a combat-only tournament like the last book. As soon as I read “tournament” I was afraid the book would feel like a repeat of book one, but in a different country — however, that’s definitely not the case.
I think whoever wrote the book’s summary might need to make it seem less like a repeat of book one, and maybe use the word “tournament” less in the text so it doesn’t just seem like a plotline repeat. But the writing style, characters, and plot are still good. Especially the new characters you’ll be meeting.
This book kept me interested and I genuinely wanted to keep reading, plus King’s writing style is one I truly enjoy. A solid four stars (four an a half, maybe) from me!