Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Release Date - July 8, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Just by reading the synopsis it's easy to see that The Queen of the Tearling has a lot to live up to. That's not even taking news of Emma Watson being lined up to headline the movie adaptation into account. Needless to say there was definitely some high expectations going into this novel. Those expectations were surpassed by this novel's wonderfully constructed world, and the enthralling story found within it's pages.

The novel's strongest element, in a novel filled with stunning characterization and world building, is it's protagonist. Kelsea is girl who was groomed to be queen, even if it's not something she would have chosen on her own. She finds this perilous throne thrust upon her and she fiercely rises to the challenge. She is driven, determined, and intelligent. Her character is woven so that there are many layers to her. She's someone who will rule rigidly but still do what is best for her people. She's a mixture of hardness and understanding. Her treatment of her country's people show her caring side, while her desire to better the country via education shows her intellect and forethought. The character growth from the beginning of this novel to it's conclusion is staggering, and I breathlessly awaiting seeing how she grows next.

The beginning of the novel is a little slow, but once you allow the book to get into it's stride, it becomes consumingly addictive. You're immersed into the story, and it grips you. I easily tore through 3/4 of this novel because I was compelled to continue the story. I needed to see how it would end.

The characters, from Kelsea right down to the more minor ones, grow on you. It's a slow process, but one that is worth the time it takes. Without giving spoilers, there is a moment when everything the novel has been building towards finally happens, and it's heart crushing. Horrible things are going to happen, and it's devastating because you realize how much these characters have endeared themselves to you. You ache for Kelsea as she has to do something that crushes her. This moment of anguish shows the strength she has inside though, and is such a powerful character moment that will be felt throughout the entire series, I predict.

The romance is more a quiet simmer with potential suitors being introduced. Within the confines of this story we have a woman who is finding her footing, and everyone wants to use her a chess piece. Allegiances are still being determined. Hidden agendas are still a possibility. This scenario creates the potential for heartbreak and betrayal. This still will not stop the potential romances from being a delicious part of the story, and I will relish the journey to finding out who will fit into Kelsea's life as she builds her reign on the throne.

The Fetch, a scandalously handsome thief makes a case for being the character that steals every scene he's in. He's compelling, and even if we got off to a rocky start, a character I wanted more of. The mystery of who he is, and his past, only serves to fuel the fascination. I predict this role, when it comes to movie casting time, will be a huge get for Hollywood's young actors.

The most striking aspect of the story is the suffering the Tear people have endured. We hear many stories of slave trade, murder, and other unspeakable crimes. These are often followed by drug and alcohol addictions. The believably of this world, and it's inhabitants, is part of what draws you into the story. Kelsea's determination to make things better is mirrored by the reader.

The fantasy elements of the story are intriguing, and that aspect is still being built and unraveled. However, it's the more human elements that I found myself connecting to. I think this novel, while having fantasy elements is a very human story. A guard learning to trust his new queen, a young woman learning to trust herself, and the flaws that are within us all.

A stunning debut that for all it's fantasy elements has a very human heart to it's story. Erika Johansen easily held me under her spell, and Kelsea is a protagonist you won't soon forget.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone who has read this book has absolutely loved it, I just got a copy last week and I am so excited to start reading it! I love how you describe this book as one with fantasy elements is also very human, and I cannot wait to fall in love with it along with everyone else!


I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...