The Queen of the Tearling Blog Tour: Review

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Harper
Series: The Queen of the Tearling, Book 1
Rated: YA/Adult 16+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

I’d heard a lot about The Queen of the Tearling before reading the book. I know Emma Watson has signed on for the movie, but as far as reviews went... several were negative. That being said, I was a little bit scared going into this book, not only because of the complaints and criticism, but also because it was a book aimed for adults, and I don’t tend to read books aimed for an older generation. However, I seriously don’t know what everyone is complaining about. I loved The Queen of the Tearling. I haven’t read a fantasy novel in a long time, so this definitely satisfied my appetite, despite it’s daunting length.

I was a little confused about the time that the novel takes place. Johansen has created a medieval sort of setting, but I’m sure it takes place in the future, as Rowling’s books are mentioned. Definitely an interesting concept, about a dystopian yet archaic society. Seriously makes it hard to peg which genre it belongs in then– kind of like a historical-fantasy-dystopian. Weird, but it works. Unfortunately, because this was an eGalley, the map doesn’t show up, but the author has clearly put a lot of thought and detail into this new world, and I think feels like the start of a new Westeros or Middle Earth. Hopefully, while this book did expand on the formation of Tearling as well as some of the other areas around it, in the rest of the trilogy, it can be developed even further.

One of the major complaints in other reviews was about Kelsea’s character. Okay, yes, I could totally see why. Sometimes, in the most inappropriate times, she would think about her appearance. I mean...really? You’ve been captured, or something serious is going on, but NOW is the best time to think about the way you look? I wish that the author didn't draw too much attention to the fact that the main character wasn’t “pretty” or “beautiful”. There was an awesome article written by the author about having a heroine that was considered ugly and what’s wrong with the way that today’s books are marketed for women. I totally agree with what she’s saying, but for pete’s sake, in your own book, stop reinstating the fact. I don’t want to read several times about how ruddy-faced Kelsea is. She’s a badass heroine who stands up for justice and garners respect from everyone around her. Sure, it would make sense if people were utterly repulsed by the way she looks, but not all of us can look like Emma Watson (which is why I’m a little perplexed by the casting choice), so seriously? LET IT BE. Stop drawing attention to her physical appearance unless it’s absolutely essential to the plot.
I liked the other characters as well, particularly the guards. Mace was a great character, I enjoyed his snark and no-nonsense attitude. Pen was really sweet and even though the author mentioned something about the lack of romance the book has, I wish that something will happen between him and Kelsea. Or then there’s always the Fetch... oh well. The lack of romance clearly didn’t hinder my love for Pen, so if there is no romance in the series, I don’t think it would bother me in the end. 

I know people have ranted against how it’s been compared to Game of Thrones, like that it could never compare to how great it is, but I could definitely see the similarities and because of some of these, I actually enjoyed the book even more. There’s several similarities between the two worlds, particularly with the use of swear-words and the constant mention of prostitution and explicit scenes. However, I agree with some of the rage. On the goodreads page for the series, I’ve seen that it’s been called “a female-orientated Game of Thrones”. Um, let me just say one thing that a bajillion other people have said before: The female-oriented version of Game of Thrones? It already exists because it IS Game of Thrones. Yeesh. Thought people would have known by now with the amount of awesome female characters the series has. 

It was only after I’d finished reading and took a step back when I saw how much actually transpired in the book. I mean the journey to the keep, Kelsea’s rule, betrayals and assassination attempts– this book has a TON of plot. Again, I don’t know why people complain about it. The pace might be a little slow, but you can’t complain about the lack of plot. Think about what happens and then complain if you must. Don’t put down a story because you think nothing happens when a lot actually does. I’m really looking forward to the next book now because I’ve got so many questions and I’m sure there’s a lot more things about to go down.

Spellbinding and gripping, The Queen of the Tearling is the start of a remarkable trilogy. With magic, a judicious queen, and a fierce growing enemy, I can’t wait to continue reading Johansen’s work. I’m undoubtedly all in for this series and am eagerly anticipating more.

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▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Megan from HarperCollins International for having me on the blog tour! ▪ ▪ 

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1 comment:

  1. is the book published in Singapore alr?? is it like available in popular bookstore


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