Thursday, July 10, 2014 21:17

Review 272. Erica Johansen – The queen of the Tearling.


Title: The queen of the Tearling.
Author: Erica Johansen.
Pages: 448.
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.
Rating:

This book made me happy, because it’s finally another story that lives up to the interesting blurb (and beautiful cover) I want to thank HarperCollins for allowing me to read this book for their blog tour, otherwise I might not have read this book anytime soon. The funny thing about this book is that it’s shelved under ‘Adult’ and ‘Young adult’ on Goodreads. I have to say that it feels like a mix between the two.

The overall plot is pretty basic, but really worked for me. SummaryKelsea 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.)

34 comments:

  1. Eeeep, I'm really, really excited for this one so I am extremely happy that you enjoyed this one Mel :D When it comes to fantasy, not everyone gets my tastes but we do like a lot of the same books so I feel confident that I'll enjoy this one too! I like that the MC has flaws although I can see it bothering people how focused she seems to be on looks. I can understand that though being a young queen. The magical system sounds cool even though it's subtle and I'm glad you enjoyed the side characters too and not just the MC! It's a shame the world building didn't quite measure up but since it is the first book in a series hopefully the author will expend on that in the sequels. Brilliant review ^^ xxxx

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    1. I have the idea we come close with taste too, so I hope you enjoy it too!

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  2. I really want to read this... thanks for your review!

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  3. I wouldn't have given the book a second glance if so many people weren't reading it. I didn't even know about until last week! Nevertheless, I'm glad that it's an enjoyable read and the world-building is a mix of past/future settings. Sounds interesting!

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    1. I've only read it thanks to Harper and the blog tour, so I'm happy to make other people more aware of it too :D

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  4. I've been hearing lots of rumblings about this one recently - glad to hear you liked it! Apparently Kelsea's a bit of a bookworm, a pretty desirable trait in a heroine if you ask me. It's definitely a relief to hear about the lack of romance - this one sounds like my cup of tea for sure!

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    1. Bookworms as MC's are great, especially if it's shown, because it's obvious that she has a passion for books.

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  5. Oh, hmm, one of those build up stories. It happens, although I like stories that start with the action. This story seems quite big so I'm hoping that the sequel will have more action. Either way, I'm super excited for The Queen of the Tearling. I love reading about political intrigue! And yay crossover appeal!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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  6. Hah :D I loved reading your review. <3 Thank you for sharing Mel. But yeah. I don't agree with anything, lol. As I hated this book. Sigh. I just did not like a single thing about it. I didn't like the main character. She was not interesting at all to me (A) and I didn't like the side characters either. Sigh. There was just so many things about this book that I hated :( Which makes me sad, as I too wanted to love this book, like you did. But not possible for me to like it. But I'm glad you did; kind of :D Thank you for sharing. <3

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    1. Haha, so much fun to see our different opinions!

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  7. I actually received a copy of this book today and it looks really fascinating, thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! It feels a lot like a fantasy but being set in the past would be confusing. Great review lovely!

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  8. It has 4 povs?! That seems like a lot! (Although maybe not for epic fantasy.) XD I love intelligent characters...they're probably my favourites. Plus if she's shy, I'm won over. I'm incredibly shy so I always bond with those kind of characters in books. x)

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    1. But it's very subtle and those shifts are short. I thought it worked great!

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  9. I like fantasy, and I wished to find an ARC for this one if I could since the Philippines doesn't stock a lot of fantasy, but I found nothing. So it's to hoping for me!

    But yeah, it has a lot of elements that I'm interested in and there have been good reviews. I really like seeing politics in books because they're so interesting and that's why I'm interested in this one. And did you know Emma Watson is co-producing (I think) and starring in a movie for this one? I don't know if the movie will be moving forward, and I haven't read the book so I can't really push for it, but I'm rooting for it a little!

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    1. Yes, I heard that after reading the book! I knew she loved the story and I think it will work great on the screen :)

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  10. I haven't even heard of this one so I'm glad that my TBR just grew ;) I'm really starting to love how authors make really short POVs for other characters so you can see inside their mind, BUT they're not equal to the MC. This sounds fabulous!

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    1. Me too! It sometimes makes it so much easier to understand the story and what is exactly going on.

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  11. I have been hearing so much about this book, mainly because I think it already has an adaptation planned with Emma Watson in the lead role. That alone has actually peaked my interest, I am that sad. I will definitely be reading this when it comes out, it sounds so good.

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  12. I wonder why she decided to go with 'the red queen' for a title. I will always associate that with Alice in Wonderland don' you? Anyways definitely a must read so me and Tina and Maggie can go see the movie together.

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    1. Yes, me too! I think I know why, but I hope it will be explained more later on.

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  13. I've seen some mixed reviews for this one but I'm so happy that you enjoyed it! I'm very excited and I can't wait to read it! Great review! :)

    Em @ Books & Cleverness

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  14. It seems like most of the bloggers I followed LOVED this one while the goodreads reviewers...didn't. Is that weird? It seems weird lol!

    I AM SO happy that you liked it though! It definitely sounds intriguing, though I'm a bit worried about the whole focusing on looks. :( But I can't wait to read it! (Especially because EMMA WATSON. EMMA WATSONNNNN)

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    1. The reviews are mixed, but I think this is a book you either love or hate, no middle way!

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  15. I have read some pretty mixed reviews for this; some people absolutely loved it whereas some hated it so I am going to give this one a go out of curiousity and I do love the sound of the MC, Kelsea. I also heard Emma Watson is going to be playing the main character in a book to movie adaptation which is very exciting.

    Fabulous review, Mel! <33

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    1. I can't wait to see what you think about it Mel!

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  16. I'm dying to read this one! I love high fantasy and this book seems like a perfect example of fantasy done right. It intrigues me about the timeline/world-building, too. Also, people either like or dislike Kelsea and I can't wait to see how she fares with me. Lovely, lovely review, Melissa! :)

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    1. It will be interesting to see which side you are on :)

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  17. I agree that Kelsea is an interesting character. My review will be posted soon and I'm glad that you enjoyed this one too.

    -Dannielle

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  18. The concept sounds so fascinating and I really llike the sound of the MC. I'm glad you connected with her, but I can totally see why you though she went a little too far since beauty is in the eyes of the looker so.. idk. I guess it seems kind of vain to be obsessed with beauty and really jealous all the time. Though it is real, not gonna lie. I'm glad you enjoyed the other POVs thrown in there. I'm not really a fan of that many POVs, but if they're short? Yeah, why not! Yay for a great magical read :)

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    1. To me, it made her felt very real. Some people tend to value beauty more than others.

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  19. Nicole really enjoyed this one as well. It sounds like I will read it eventually when I am craving a good fantasy novel. I am a bit thrown by that world building description, I do struggle with world building in general.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

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  20. Great, well balanced review, Mel! I felt essentially the same about this one. I loved the side characters and the pacing (though I agree that it wouldn't work for everyone). The world building was definitely odd setting it in the future, but with very little technology and a medieval system. So how did the world come to be that way? I wish we had gotten more information on that and hopefully we'll see more in the next instalment. I also had some conflicting thoughts about Kelsea, but I mostly liked her and appreciated that she wasn't perfect. I hope to see her grow in future instalments, as well.

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    1. Thanks Aylee! I believe this book is supposed to become a 7 book series, so time enough to get us informed about the background!

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  21. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this book! I have a copy of this book in my hands and can't wait to get started!! :)

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