December 5, 2014

Review of The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Release Date: July 8, 2014

Publisher: Harper
Page Count: 434
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA/Fantasy

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 first entered the YA scene with extreme hype and huge boasts like "Game of Thrones meets Hunger Games" and an almost instant move deal with Emma Watson and the producer of Harry Potter. This made me more than a little bit hesitant in reading The Queen of the Tearling since in my experience over-hyped books usually end up being bad. While the start was extremely information-heavy and the book took a couple of chapters to get into I ended up loving it and agreeing with all the hype.

The Queen of the Tearling had all the world building and back story I crave with a whole chapter dedicated to just that alone. To some people might say that that may be a lot and I've seen a lot of bloggers not liking that chapter but personally I liked loved it. The book takes place after normal modern civilization fell apart and several groups of people sailed to new lands to rebuild with minimal technology. What little they brought such as life-saving medicine and equipment was lost when one of the ships sank. Basically it's a medieval society with a little bits of technology and modernness thrown in. This was the first time I've read a book that had something like this happen and I definitely wish more books would do it. The rest of the world-building and scenery while not really unique were written vividly and with skill. If you're looking for an amazing world and compelling back story then you won't go wrong with The Queen of the Tearling.

The characters were just as good as the world-building and it was apparent that Erika Johansen didn't consider them as an after thought. The main character, Kelsea is a princess of a country who only finds out about it when she turns nineteen years old. She was exiled to be hidden since there were many people who wanted her dead and her country destroyed/taken over. Despite knowing nothing about running a country or being royalty Kelsea catches on very quickly and keeps up. She has more than a few mishaps but by the end of the book she matures greatly. Of course without her Queen's Guard she would have been dead in a matter of hours. They protected her from a plethora of attempts on her life like poison and assassins. This was one of the books where I had trouble picking a favorite character, both Kelsea and several members of the Queen's Guard were amazing characters, Once again, I don't want to spoil much so I'll leave it up to you as to who you like the best. From beginning to end, The Queen of  the Tearling consistently delivers with its amazing world-building, characters, plot, and more.

I will be picking up the sequel to this book the day it comes out since I can't stop thinking about how it ended and what's going to happen next. I recommend this book to just about everyone, do yourself a favor and check it out as soon as you can.

5/5 - Amazing book

1 comment:

  1. How did I miss this review?! I cleaned out my Bloglovin' list a couple of days ago so I wouldn't be missing so many posts from my favorite blogs because I realized this was happening frequently. I too was waiting for this book to be flimsy, but I, on the other hand, was looking forward to reading it because I wanted to rip it apart! I know so many wonderful debut author's who struggle to get even the slightest recognition, so I was floored (and almost disgusted) by her seven figure advance and sight unseen movie deal. As you said the beginning was laborious and I started to think I was going to get my chance to gut the novel on my blog, but when it turned around and finally got into the meat of the storyline it was fabulous. I also gave it 5/5 stars. Those readers I saw on Goodreads who are giving it ones and twos are insane.