Monday, October 2, 2017

Review: Queen of the Tearling

Title: The Queen of the Tearling 
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1 
Author: Erika Johansen 
Genre: Adult, Fantasy 
Publisher: Harper 
Publication Date: July 8, 2014 
Source: Bought

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.
Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."
Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

Find The Queen of the Tearling online!
I have SO MANY feelings about this book.  My friend Olivia had been telling me to read it for ages and I'd sort of been putting it off due to other books I'd planned to read.  I picked up at random when I was in Barnes & Noble and began reading it right there in the store and I just didn't.  Stop.  I read the entire 450 page book in one day.  It's the sort of book that once I picked it up, I was hooked and I couldn't put it down until I turned that last page.  

This world in which this story is set is really interesting and unique.  While this is definitely a fantasy, it's also sort of a dystopian?  It's set way in the future in what I believe is England?  I don't think it's ever outrightly stated so I could be wrong but that's the impression I got.  However, this world differs wildly from our own and has its own complex magic system.  There's a lot of layers to it and the magic is wild and dark . . . there were more than a few times while reading that the magic just freaked me out and made me uneasy.  I'm really looking forward to learning more about it in the next books!   

Kelsea is the rightful queen of the Tearling and has been kept in hiding from her kingdom for nineteen years because of dangerous forces that wish to kill her.  She's such a strong and interesting character to read about.  She was smart and well read but in so many ways she was also naive and innocent.  She'd been kept hidden for her entire life with only her two guardians to look after her.  When Kelsea makes it back to her kingdom, there's definitely a learning curve and I appreciated seeing how she sometimes questioned her decisions and was unsure of herself.  It's clear from the beginning that she's a strong leader and willing to go to extreme ends for her kingdom.  I loved that while she was a strong ruler, she was also a nineteen year old girl; she was insecure at times and sometimes embarrassed and crushed on boys.  Just a really great, well rounded character.  

There were so many amazing and three dimensional characters in this book.  Kelsea's Queen's Guard were full of men who I adored and who we got to know as Kelsea got to know them.  I love The Mace, Kelsea's leader of the Guard.  He was blunt and unamused and just wonderful.  It was great seeing the way their relationship grew and evolved the longer they were together.  There was one character, The Fetch, that I really wanted to know more about.  We didn't get to see him as much as I would have liked in this novel but I'm hoping he plays a larger role in the second and third book and that we find out more about his past. 

This book was so engaging and addicting; I honestly could not put it down and I had just an amazing time reading it.  It's not often I read adult fantasy but I've enjoyed this one so thoroughly that I may look for more similar to it to check out!  After, of course, I devour the rest of this series! 

“We don't always choose, Majesty. We simply make the best choices we can once the deed is done.” 

Five out of Five Teapots!


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