The Fire Queenby Emily R. King
Series: The Hundredth Queen #2
Published on September 26, 2017 by Skyscape
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.
Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.
But as Kalinda’s tournament strengths are once again challenged, so too is her relationship with Deven. While Deven fears her powers, Ashwin reveres them—as well as the courageous woman who wields them. Kalinda comes to regard Ashwin as the only man who can repair a warring world and finds herself torn between her allegiance to Deven and a newly found respect for the young prince.
With both the responsibility to protect her people and the fate of those she loves weighing heavily upon her, Kalinda is forced again to compete. She must test the limits of her fire powers and her hard-won wisdom. But will that be enough to unite the empire without sacrificing all she holds dear?
Y’all may remember how much I enjoyed The Hundredth Queen earlier this year. So it goes without saying that I had some fairly high expectations for The Fire Queen but my overall impression was. . . well, frankly it was average.
I wouldn’t say this book suffered from Sequel Syndrome exactly but it didn’t suck me in like the first one. A lot happened but I didn’t feel the same excitement, the same tension. This might have to do with the fact that the plot felt very similar to the first book with a tournament to decide Kali’s fate. In that regard, it reminded me of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire where I can see the third book being the revolution to bring the story full circle. Granted, I liked the characters in this tournament more than the last but the plot structure itself was far too familiar.
This book felt more like a filler, getting Kalinda to the point in her character development that would set her up for the next book (not sure if the series is ending with the third book or not but it’s setting up to do so).
Kalinda was much the same as she was before. She’s a good character and constantly is at odds with her desires and her duty. And sure, she showed some growth this time around with her powers but that’s all I really saw from her. Otherwise, she felt the same as before and I expected more from her.
I really wasn’t a fan of Deven’s point of view. Half the time he just whined and moaned, the other half I wanted to smack him for being an idiot. His motivation to stay away from Kali (honestly his motivation for most of his actions) felt fake. I simply never understood it. Nor did I get Ashwin falling in love with Kali almost instantly. It seemed like he was just there to cause internal conflict for her to up the tension and I can’t say I was a fan.
I think the romance subplot, at the very least, could have been fixed by drawing the book out a bit more. Everything was rushed and skimmed the surface of the story rather than going deeper and giving the characters life and purpose.
Overall, though, this book wasn’t a bad read. I enjoyed parts of it and it wasn’t until I finished that I started thinking about the elements that I wasn’t a fan of. It’s not a terrible sequel by any means and if you enjoyed the first book you’ll definitely want to check this one out. The Fire Queen was good, just not great.