Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1
Released: 7/8/2014
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
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...
This is such a hard review to write. I finished this book Sunday(?), I think... I let it sit for a few days because I just didn't know how I felt after reading. And now 4 days later I still don't know how I actually feel about this book. Honestly, it ended up being nothing that I was expecting! Young adult? Definitely not. Romance? Not a bit. Set in the middle ages? Nope. After finishing the first chapter I read some other people's reviews to see if I wanted to continue (and maybe help me understand what was going on!) I am so glad I did. After all, I really, really wanted to like this book!

I decided to keep going with this and that was an excellent decision. Around chapter 4 I began to really get into the story and I knew 100% I wanted to finish this thing. Let me just say, if I were rating this on the writing quality alone I would definitely give it a 5. Even though it took me much longer to read than the average book of this length, I still enjoyed the journey. The prose is gorgeous and I appreciated the attention to detail and imagery. The setting left me with a million questions, but after reading interviews with the author I can totally understand why she did it this way and those questions are why I will be reading book 2.

I may be in the minority here, but our main girl, Kelsea, was not my favorite character. I liked her and all, trust me (anyone who loves books that much is fine by me), but I loved the male supporting characters, especially Mace and I was pretty interested in the Fetch, too. BUT, there wasn't a stitch of romance in this thing! Usually that's a deal breaker for me. But seeing as I did not know there wouldn't be romance until half way through the book, I sucked it up and got over it. And you know what? I still enjoyed it! That's not to say I'm not hoping for a little bit of lovey-dovey stuff in the future, because I totally am, but if the author decides not to, well, oh well. (There's definitely two, maybe three guys I'd root for her to be with!)

So yea, I liked this book. I read the last page and asked myself, "Am I going to read the sequel?". I really had to think about it for a minute or two but my final decision was a "yes". I may not be fully invested in Kelsea's story yet, but I am invested in her world. I found it fascinating and I am crazy curious about it's history. This book isn't going on my favorites shelf or anything... yet, but I am not giving up on it. I also must say that I am very new to fantasy-type genres which may be influencing my initial opinion a lot. It wasn't a genre I am super comfortable with (and yes, I totally missed romance for the week it took me to read this!).

Oh, and one more thing, I haven't read Game of Thrones, so I can't comment on that comparison, but where in the world as anyone got Hunger Games out of this? Is it because the slaves are called "tributes" and picked from a "lottery". Because anything Hunger Games began and ended there for me... (Just curious!)


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