The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen (Book Review)

queen of the tearling

On her nineteenth birthday, the world Kelsea Raleigh Glynn has ever know, will change forever. And she knows it will. Her adoptive parents have spent her entire life raising her for this moment. She is the Princess and will become the newly crowned Queen of the Tearling. But to do so she must make her way back to her homeland and once there, take the throne back from her Uncle the Regent.

Kelsea is not like her mother, the Queen. She is plain, not beautiful, and serious and smart. Unlike her beautiful mother who frivolity led to her losing her kingdom. But Tearling is a magical place, built on ideals and lofty goals lost in the blood and death of a lost kingdom.

“…Perhaps daring will win them.
You’ll never win the respect of these people. You’ll be lucky not to die before you reach the Keep.
Maybe. But I have to try something.
You speak as though you have options. All you can do is what they tell you.
I’m the Queen. I’m not bound by them.
So think most Queens, right until the moment the axe falls…”

There are many who don’t want Kelsea to return. There are assassins sent to kill her. Palace intrigues and deceits. But Kelsea also has allies. The Queen’s guard who are sworn to protect her. The mystery rogue thief and his army who wait in the forest for her to prove that she can be a true Queen of the Tearling.

“…The Tear economy ran on farming; farmers worked the fields in exchange for the right to occupy the noble’s land, but the noble’s took all of the profits, except for the taxes paid to the Crown. Kelsea could hear Carlin’s voice in the library now, her tone of deep disapproval echoing against the wall of books: “Serfdom, Kelsea, that’s all it is. Worse, its serfdom condoned by the state. These people are forced to work themselves to the bone for a noble’s comfortable lifestyle, and if they’re lucky, they’re rewarded with survival. William Tear came to the New World with a dream of pure socialism, and this is where we ended up…”

But her greatest enemy is the Red Queen of Mortmesne. A powerful and ruthless ruler who borders the Tearling and waits. Waits for the time to unleashed an army that has already destroyed the Tearling once and can again. The invasion only thwarted by the treaty made by Kelsea’s mother. A treaty that enacts a toll on the people of the Tearling. A toll Kelsea must save them from.

Review –

The Queen of the Tearling is a terrific book with an immense amount of flaws. Its the grandchild who is always misbehaving but you just adore him anyway.

The plot is borrowed and barely disguised from many other novels new and old. A lost princess coming home to reclaim her crown. A rogue outlaw she falls for. A loyal guard with dark and tragic past. A mother figure who is not who she was suppose to be. A dark, full of evil magic, Queen on a bordering land who is going to pounce on you at a moment’s notice. A Red Queen. Why is it always a Red Queen? Not purple. Not blue. Not orange. But Red. A tribute paid out to a conquering nation, not in goods, but in children.

Yes, the Queen of Tearling has some very unoriginal themes. The writing itself is suspect. A literary major will go ape shit over some of it.

So why am I saying this is a terrific book?

Because it freaking is! Its a really good story and though you know you’ve heard it before in various forms; its still a really good story! It flows and picks up steam and then it ebbs and then it roars again and…its a freaking good story!

So for all you literary snobs, you cultural elitists, yeh I said it. Look in he mirror and know you are! You are the same kind of nose in the air numb nuts who would have ripped Edgar Rice Burroughs and tales like Conan the Barbarian and John Carter. Hell, you would have ripped Edgar A. Poe in his time as well.

The Queen of the Tearling is a really good story and you will forgive it it’s flaws. But here’s hoping as the series goes along Johansen starts tying some of them up a bit. Its forgivable in book one but as the story goes along, it will become a distraction.

The best way I can relate the Queen of the Tearling to you my fellow readers is to say it is like that movie that is getting all the promotion and marketing and when it comes out just doesn’t live up to the hype. The critics jump up and down and tear it up, so even if you liked it, you begin to doubt even your own judgment. Because if they say its bad, then it must be bad. But then, later on you catch the same movie on television and you cant seem to turn it off and you have to wonder what exactly was so bad about it.

The Queen of the Tearling is a really good story. That’s it.

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