THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING
Written by Erika Johansen
Published by Harper, July 8, 2014
My star rating: 3.75 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
I’ve had this trilogy on my shelves for years but was really afraid to start it. For one, the premise isn’t really that original. Girl is in hiding and, when she grows to be of age, she finds herself to be a Queen. And then there’s the fact that this series has been getting a lot of mixed reviews. But I really wanted to see what side of the line I was going to fall on. So here we are. Luckily, I’m on the side of the fence that really enjoyed this!
In the beginning though, I wasn’t so convinced. The book started off slow and familiar. Kelsea was placed into hiding to protect her until she became of age to take over the throne. Guards come to bring her to the palace where she will reign over her kingdom. And that’s basically all that happens for the first part of the book. They’re travelling, there’s a danger, and there are a million secrets being kept from Kelsea and no one will clue her (or us for that matter) in.
Kelsea was also not a character that I enjoyed much in the beginning. She lived a very sheltered life. She was given everything she needed, raised around books, and lived quietly and protected. Then all of a sudden she’s removed from everything she’s known and needs to stay brave about it. She was so insecure in the beginning! She talked a lot about what she should be doing and how people would think about her. Luckily, this annoying insecure woman slowly turned into a passionate and bad ass Queen!!
At around 100 or so pages, is when things finally picked up and made it something original. Kelsea had been kept in the dark about her kingdom. She had no idea how things were run, what the state of things were, and how her mother used to rule things. She was caught off guard about how things were run and immediately vowed to be different. She oozed passion and thought with her heart. She was also not afraid to back down! I thought that she was going to spend the entire book letting people make the calls, but OH NO! When she wants something she makes sure she gets it and “no” isn’t an answer.
I also really loved how all of the pieces of this puzzle worked together. Her guards, her ladies, the people of the kingdom, her unexpected ally’s, the people of her past – it all came together to make such a large cast of characters working with and against her.
Where I really struggled with this one though was the pace. It was so slow for the most part. The writing was good enough to carry it, but now that I’ve finished the book, I really wish that it was condensed. I have a feeling that I will wish that the trilogy was only a duology but, what can you do? lol This book also felt like it was setting the stage for the other two books. We were introduced to so many people and there was a lot of world and character building. The stage was set for a war to happen, a possible love interest, and so much more. It was a solid first book, but I have a feeling that I’ll enjoy the second and third books more now that the stage has been set.
Until next time, happy reading!