The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Song I Played While Reading: Never Sleep Alone by Kaskade
Rating: 4.5 stars
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 devotes servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knew little of her kingdoms 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, Kelsey 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 in 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 Kelsey 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, Kelsey's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend.. or destroy her.
Quiet the summary, eh? Impressed? In awe? YOU SHOULD BE. This book was fantastic beyond words. Now, before I get into my review, I just want to say that this is not Young Adult. I'm assuming everyone thinks this is because the main character is 19, and the publishing company didn't really try to promote this as an adult book either. I don't even know what type of genre you could make this to be. New Adult? Besides a few scenes where theres some lewd content and references, this could be YA. Don't let this deter you from reading it! (I'm a great role model, right?).
This book was not at all what I was expecting. Goodreads has a different synopsis, one that I don't think adequately describes this book (and should really be changed), so I went into this thinking it would be different. Not in a huge way, but in a different direction nonetheless.
I understand what some people don't like about it. It can be slow at some parts. There's A LOT of information and characters to remember. And this book is told from multiple pov's. That's not everyones cup of tea. But for me? Thats my fucking slice of chocolate cake. Reading multiple people's viewpoints on an idea or situation is absolutely fascinating. Getting their backstories, seeing why they think the way they do, really adds a depth to the story. Even though it can be challenging for me to remember all the names, I get it down after a while. And this book features some wicked characters to narrate from; the main character, who is one strong-willed, badass bitch that wants nothing more than to help the people of her realm; the Red Queen, who is crazy and scary and slightly cool; a Guard Gate; a priest (for some reason I find them to be extremely interesting); and Kelsea's uncle. It's such a wide range of people who all play a part in this intricate story and you can't help but be amazed at how every single person, no matter how small, can significantly impact the outcome of a situation.
The world was another confusing aspect, one that I understood but was the reason why I docked it half a star. For all the information we got on the people in the story, we got maybe a smidgen on the history of the world. This takes place in the future, but the people have revoked modern technology and our ways. We don't know why or how. Something happened to our world that made it collapse and it seems like modern technology was the culprit. So they threw it all away and sailed off to a different land. I want to know why! How? Where? Who? What? I'm hoping in the next book we get more information on that.
Our main character, Kelsea, is strong and brave and very easily relatable. Though this takes place in a different time and she has way more responsibilities then most young girls these days, she also has her insecurities. She's not the beautiful heroine we see a lot these days. She struggles with accepting the way she looks and her weight. She wonders how different people would treat her if they perceived her to be beautiful. Don't we all? I do at least.
Overall, this book was incredible. The writing was eloquent, the characters were well flushed out and lively, and the world was fascinating. I will definitely be getting my hands on the next installment in this trilogy! And eagerly awaiting news on the movie, which is rumored to feature Emma Watson as Kelsea *squeals and dances* woohoo!
at 8:58:00 PM