Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen @HarperCollins

The Queen of the Tearling spans several genres and does it well. There's some fantasy and magic, lots of adventure, and a bit of a dystopian society.

Kelsea is 19 at the beginning of the book, and she's leaving the only home she has ever known in the woods, isolated, with her foster parents. She will be taken to the Tear to become the new queen.

She will face much adversity. Her uncle is trying to have her killed, because he has been in charge of the Tearling for years and wants to keep it that way. The Tear society consists of the nobility, who are selfish rich people, and a great deal of very poor people who serve them. She also has to worry about the Red Queen of Mortmesne, who invaded the Tear years ago when Kelsea's mother was queen, and will not hesitate to do so again.

Kelsea is totally unprepared for what she must face because her foster parents kept most of the unpleasant details from her. She manages to surround herself with some loyal guards and servants and begins to make changes. In doing so, she puts her life, and her entire country in much more danger.

No one could possibly not admire Kelsea. She must mature very fast, and she does. She's strong and resourceful and mostly very brave. She also has a necklace that she can't take off. It glows at certain times, and compels Kelsea to action. As the story progresses, Kelsea figures out more and more about the power of this valuable jewel.

The other characters are just as riveting. I really enjoyed getting to know Mace, although I think there's much more to him than we discovered in this first book.

The Queen of the Tearling is long. It does take a while to get going. There is a lot of waiting around and getting to know our characters. A little too much for my taste. But once it gets going, the pacing is excellent, and I had a hard time putting it down.

America is referred to a few times. Apparently centuries have passed since "the crossing" where ships left America to find a better life. The ship that carried all the medical equipment and expertise and most of the scientific knowledge sank. So basically the Tearlings had to begin again and therefore their life is fairly primitive. This seemed like extraneous information, but I'm assuming it will be more paramount in future installments.

The Queen of the Tearling has a definite resolution, but there are still mysteries to be solved, and there's still some danger lurking in the future. I can't wait for the next book in the series. Another YA book that I'm looking forward to recommending to my teens!

Published by Harper, July 8 2014
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
448 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I've never heard of this one, but it sounds fabulous. I love the cover, too -- gorgeous!

  2. I've read mixed reviews of this one, so I'm still iffy on whether or not I want to read it, but I'm glad I read your mostly positive review! I think there is a movie that is going to be made from this, so I might decide to read it in the future because of that. I hope I will enjoy it as much as you did!


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