Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)Author: Erika Johansen
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Harper
Series: The Queen of the Tearling # 1

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.

Queen. There was the word again. Kelsea tried to think of herself of a queen and simply couldn’t.

“I am the long death of the Tearling. Forgive us.” He nodded, looking over her head, and before Kelsea could turn around, the world went dark.

Perhaps daring will win them.

I’m the Queen. I’m not bound by them.
I have been unable to find many positive reviews for this book, and if you are hoping to read another review in which the reader was displeased with this novel then you will not find that here. I really enjoyed this book. I find that a lot of readers are complaining that the book was compared to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, but here is the difference for me. This book does not really remind me of either of these books, but I do not let something like a bad book comparison cloud my judgment of a novel. This new series has a lot to offer, in my opinion. The world, the new queen, and the fantasy was enough to entice me to fly through this book, and that was no easy feat because this book was around 440 pages. Plus this book has already been picked up by Warner Bros., I believe. To top it all off, Emma Watson with play the Queen of the Tearling!

This is a debut novel, but I honestly had no idea of this fact until about three quarters of the way through. Erika Johansen writes with such confidence that you would never guess on your own that this was her debut novel. The Queen of the Tearling is a phenomenal read with a less than confident heroine who finds her way in this new kingdom that she has recently inherited. She is a called the “True Queen” and really lives up to her title throughout the first novel in this series. Kelsea, the queen, is an enrapturing character who goes from weak and timid to strong and valiant. She is a bit awkward at times, but that is what makes her so realistic. Kelsea was one of the best parts about this book and I cannot wait to see Emma Watson portraying her.

This story does contain some explicit and graphic scenes. There is quite a lot of talk about the slave trade organized between the Tearling and Mortmesne, and there are some brief talk about rape and bad language. I usually will not read a book in which rape is even discussed, but here I was able to read over because it helped me realize what type of world Kelsea and the Tearling were living in. It also helped me see how powerful and intimidating the Mort people were to the Tearling people. I will say that the graphic parts are enough that I would not allow even a young teen to read this book. However, it does not take away from the story. The Tear Queen, Kelsea, becomes so confident and decides to overcome all that her people has witnessed and been a part of. I cannot wait for the next book in this series!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Harper in exchange for my honest review***


  1. This sounds like an intriguing novel! And the fact that it has already been picked up by Warner Bros is impressive. I like that Kelsea sounds really relatable. Sounds like my sort of characters! I'm adding this to my TBR list!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I am going to read this one on vacation. I think that, especially with fantasy, that the world building really has to include all of the terrible things, as well as the good.

    Kate @ Ex Libris