Title: The queen of the Tearling.
Author: Erica Johansen.
Published: July 8th 2014 by Harper
Sort: The queen of the Tearling #1, fantasy. Source: I received a copy from the publisher on Edelweiss for the blog tour. I 'borrowed' the banner from Carina. Thank you! Link: Goodreads.
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. 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 overall plot is pretty basic, but really worked for me. Summary: Kelsea grew up with foster parents Carlin and Barty in order of her mother, Queen Elyssa. After years of preparation she is ‘collected’ on her nineteenth birthday by the Queen’s guard to become the 7th Queen of the Tearling. Kelsea feels unprepared, especially when she finds out several people would like to see her dead. There is her uncle, who has been Regent for all those years and there is the Red Queen of Mortmesne, who attacked her country years ago. There is only peace because of a treaty and when Kelsea finds out what that treaty means, she makes her first act as Queen.
Kelsea was an interesting character. I found her strong and intelligent. It is clear that being Queen is in her blood and that she is destined to make history. At the same time I like that she is a little naive and afraid for the consequences of her actions. She grew up far away from court, so it’s not strange that it takes time to get used to her new life. I connected with Kelsea over her shyness and jealousy for beautiful people, but sometimes she went too far. It’s never good to be focused on looks. This is one of the flaws that made her realistic, but also one of the things that bothered me. People might have problems with her, but to me it felt like Kelsea was discovering herself. She is trying to find out who she is and what kind of Queen she can be – and I appreciated that.
The use of magic was subtle, Kelsea uses her necklace to channel that power, and it is clear she will develop the magic into a weapon. I can’t wait to see what she will be capable of in the future. I liked the short switches to four other POV’s, because that made it easy to see why these characters made their decisions. There is Javal, a guard at the gate, her uncle Thomas, the priest and the Red Queen. I can’t wait to see more of the Red Queen; she is a fascinating character and she makes disturbing choices in her life.
I also liked the side characters, like Mace/Lazarus, captain of the Queen’s guard and Fetch, a thief that wears a black mask to protect his identity. While Kelsea is interested in Fetch, there is no romance in this book and that was a relief. This book needed the basics for a story: the world-building and getting to know Kelsea. I must admit that the world-building confused me. It seemed like it was set somewhere in the past, but at the same time there are hints to drugs (like heroin) and they have J.K Rowling’s books on the shelf. I hope the next book provides more answers and information.
This book is a great start for a new series and I’m highly anticipating the sequel (in the hope to get more action, because this story feels like a build-up to more. I don’t think everyone is going to like the pacing in this book, but I just loved it.)