The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Where did I get it? The school library
Summary: Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”
Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.
Erika Johansen’s debut novel is passionate, dangerous and packed to the brim with careful detailing. The start had me hooked and although I was a little bored during the space of the first journey, the pace soon picked up.
Kelsea was an engaging narrator and I found myself rooting for her to win over her guards and subject as she took the throne. Kelsea was by no means perfect but she was sincere and genuinely wanted to be a good queen for her people. I couldn’t help but admire her and all she stood for, especially when there were so many odds against her.
The world building was well written and I could clearly see the scenes being described in my head. The only issue I had with this book was the time era that it was set in. From what I gathered, Queen of the Tearling, was based in the future but it appeared that humans had taken a step back in terms of development. Many important discoveries like medicine and technology as well as books had been lost during ‘The Crossing’ and humans had not worked to reclaim them, which was rather sad.
My favourite character was definitely the Mace and I hope that we learn more about him and his reasons for being like he is (you’ll see what I mean if you read this book) as the series progresses.
This novel ends nicely on a sort of cliff hangar and I will surely be reading the sequel to see how Kelsea steps into her role as Queen and to find the answers to all the questions this book has left me with.