Monday, July 28, 2014


Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Edition: Paperback
Published: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 448
Source: eARC provided by the publisher; Print ARC borrowed from Chyna of Lite-Rate-ture
Category: High Fantasy
Trailer: not available.


On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.
Lady Kelsea grew up with her foster parents in a secluded forest. On her 19th birthday, she was fetched by the Queen's Guard so she could start ruling her kingdom. Her mother, Queen Elyssa, died and she has no idea who her father is. With the help of Mace and the Queen's Guard, she tries to fix her kingdom that was ruled and left rotting by her uncle for more than a decade. She rescues her people from being shipped to Mortmesne. Her mother signed a Mort Treaty in order for the Red Queen to not invade Tearling. When Kelsea sat as the Queen, her jewels guide her magically in seeing what dangers are happening in her kingdom. She also met the Fetch. A mysterious man who saved her life once. She is now faced with so many controversies and secrets and she has to be strong and wise in trusting. Her life is in so much danger as well as her kingdom. She has no idea who she is up against. The Red Queen is a mystery as well as her past.

The Queen of the Tearling is a very unique novel. From what I understand, it is set in a world where Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings exist. What I found a little inconsistent is the era reference. How can a world with such renowned books exist but they still use stallions for rides? They don't have cars. That threw me off a little as well as the fact that the novel appears to be a huge epilogue. It is divided in 3 books but a lot of questions weren't answered. I was left wondering who is who and what is what and I believe that some questions should have been answered. The ending is another horrible cliffhanger that I nearly cried out of frustration.

I wasn't impressed by the world building as well. I guess I was expecting a rich world but I was shown only bits and pieces. I wish I was given a parallel universe where such an amazing plot would transpire. I love High Fantasy novels but The Queen of the Tearling didn't meet my expectations. There should have been more to this. I feel like a lot of vital parts were missing that holding on to this story until the end has been a little bit difficult. I wasn't completely blown away by it.

The characters also were presented as if the author is holding something back. Kelsea as an example, was lost. She didn't know what happened to her mother or who is her father, what is the jewel's true power and where is the crown, who is this mysterious and alluring Fetch and what is the Red Queen's motive in the story. These questions were left hanging and I was hoping I would get at least a decent glimpse by the end of the story on who these characters truly are. But I was left disappointed.

Three parts I truly adored though are Kelsea's love for books. That part in the story truly put a smile on my face. And then Mhurn's fate and THE FETCH.

The Queen of the Tearling would have been a very interesting novel if given more clarity and balanced world. It is mysterious enough that a huge cliffhanger totally let me down. Slow paced as it is, I would have expected something from the plot that would compensate it. I would still recommend this to all fans of High Fantasy novels who love a heroine who fights for what she knows is right and a Queen who rules with her heart.

Thank you Harper and Chyna of Lite-Rate-Ture of the ARCs!

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