Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Queen of the Tearling

Author: Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 432
Amazon - TBD
Release Date: 17th July 2014


Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother - Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid - was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea's uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea's 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother's guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom's heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother's legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

The Queen of the Tearling is a book that kept me immersed from the very beginning but fantasy can either be hit or miss for me and despite enjoying it mostly there were aspects which I found repetitive and we are left with a number of unanswered questions but I was also intrigued by the interesting characters and the fascinating world Erika Johansen has created.

Nineteen year-old Kelsea Glynn is the heir to the Tearling throne, she has been raised in the secluded woods by foster parents Carlin and Barty Glynn away from the royal life all those years but now needs to take back control of her kingdom and defeat the Red Queen of Mortmesne. Kelsea was a self-doubting, thoughtful heroine, believing herself plain she was often ridiculed and looked down on; lacking in the necessary experience that came with ruling a kingdom, especially one that is in tatters and is full of corruption it was certainly an interesting journey Kelsea had to undertake to be the person her followers needed her to be.

The richly detailed world-building is an aspect that was done well in present time but I feel the past needed further explanation; the creative storyline was balanced with an exciting mix of politics, social drama and a smidgen of a potential romance that I’d love to see further developed. I liked learning about Kelsea’s mother, Queen Elyssa, the power of her sapphire necklace and the events which happened under her uncle’s reign. A portion of the book was spent with Kelsea travelling to the Keep which did become tiresome with the guards unprofessional antics and for me made the pacing lag but it did give us more insight in to her as a regular insecure girl and then seeing her progress as the book did as a respected future queen. The side characters each played an important role and I’m eager to see a few relationships flourish and progress; Fletch has me intrigued.

I had a few minor gripes - There are many unanswered questions which I’m sure will be answered over the course of the series, I am still a tad clueless about the overall setting and the lack of technology, the time period and what happened with America and Europe? And the crossing is still an aspect I am not completely sure about; it was baffling.

This book certainly didn’t read like a debut novel, rich in detail and highly entertaining with simple, easy to understand language, it all flowed well and is a nice start to the series. Warner Bros have snapped up the film rights before it was published and will reunite the Harry Potter dream team of producer David Heyman and star Emma Watson – very excited about this.

Overall, the story is engaging, the characters are fascinating, and their relationships keep developing in a genuine manner. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Queen of the Tearling.


About the author: Erika Johansen grew up and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to Swarthmore College, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and eventually became an attorney, but she never stopped writing.


  1. OMG, I looooove this cover so much better! I'm curious about this one but high fantasy scares me...

  2. I've read some pretty negative reviews of this book, so it's always good to get a different perspective. And, I agree with Nereyda, this cover is WAY nicer!

  3. I've not heard of this before. Thanks for the wonderful review.

  4. I REALLY like books rich in detail and ones with royalty. ^^ I haven't heard of this series before but I'm very intrigued! Thanks a lot for sharing this great review. Glad it was a good one!

    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed this overall, Sharon! I've been meaning to start it and now you have me more interested ;)

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

  6. Too bad the past world wasn't as detailed, I do like that this takes place in the present as well..very interesting!


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