Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, Book 1) by Erika

Completed: April, 2014
Length: 448 Pages

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Fiction or Non-Fiction? Genre?: Fantasy. Fiction.

What Lead You to Pick-up This Book?: I read it as part of a TLC Tour.

Summarize the Plot: When you read the back of the book, or the synopsis I posted above, you expect a straight fantasy novel. That is not what you get! This actually takes place in a different version of our world. We only start learning about what happened to create this new world, but there are mentions of the society we live in now. I suppose that is where the comparision to The Hunger Games comes in... Something bad has happened, but the 'games' are wars and power struggles. Kelsea is a reluctant queen, though. She was brought up in isolation until her 19th birthday when she is collected to take over the kingdom. In many ways she is prepared, but in other ways she has a vast new experience ahead of her. She is also determined to be different from her mother which leads to a different sort of queen. It's hard to be original in such an explored genre, but I think Johansen is well on her way and this is her debut novel!

What Did You Like Most About the Book?: Firstly, strong female character. She definitely grows within this book, so, I expect she will even more as the series progresses. She still accepts help when she needs it so it is not unbelievable. I also like that there is no love triangle so far (and hopefully won't be!). As to the story itself, I liked how it was set in a different version of Earth. I wasn't expecting that in the beginning. Johansen really thinks everything out to both intrigue and inform the reader. I am curious to learn more about the events. I also enjoyed all the characters in their own ways.

What Did You Like the Least?: There was nothing that really stuck out as bad about the book.

What Did You Think of the Writing Style?: I liked it! She knew just how to keep the readers interest. There were quiet moments and more exciting moments. It was just enough mixture to progress the story, but also keep the reader interested. You also felt like you were getting to know the world and the people that inhabit it.

What Did You Think of the Main Character?: In the beginning, I wasn't so sure... But then the novel got going and Kelsea grew on me. She was basically a lonely young woman that had been thrust into a very important role. She has moments where you remember that she is 19. I like that there was a mixture there so that she wasn't so naive the whole book it was annoying, but also that she felt feelings for a boy and other things that 'normal' teenagers should experience. She was also a big reader and I appreciated that.

What Did You Think of the Ending?: Well, you obviously know this is going to be a trilogy or series or something along those lines. But, no cliffhanger ending! There are some things that obviously you still want to know more about and events that are in the workings, but the ending is satisfying. I was very happy with it!

Overall, I am very impressed that this is a debut! Bravo to the author. Definitely worth checking out and I can't wait for the sequel!


  1. Oh--another fantasy series! This one sounds like one I'd enjoy!

  2. By the way, are you still getting spam from me?

  3. This sounds pretty good!

  4. I love a GOOD ending like that - one that makes me want to read the next book but doesn't leave me completely hanging.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  5. Are there lots of political machinations? I am mad about books with lots of political machinations.

  6. This sounds good! I think I'll give it a try. When is it due out? Enjoyed your review very much too, Kelly.

  7. Oh sounds good! I've been enjoying the fantasy reads I've read lately so I'll definitely have to add this to my TBR! Glad to know it's not a cliffhanger ending. I hate those and normally wait till all the books are out before I start the first one.

  8. This sounds really good, Kelly! I love the cover. I will have to add this one to my wish list.

  9. I'm glad you liked this debut novel. I'm intrigued by the story and that beautiful cover!

  10. I thought that the futuristic yet medieval setting was really neat and set the book apart from other novels in the genre. Can't wait for the sequel!


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