The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

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.

Book Overview:

Author: Erika Johansen | Series: The Queen of the Tearling | Format: Audiobook | Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren | Length: 14 hours, 30 mins | Publish Date: July 8, 2014 | Genre: YA Fantasy | Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy & for Debut Goodreads Author (2014) | Rating: ★ ★ ★  | Recommend: Yes

“Everyone dies eventually. I think it’s better to die clean.” 

I read this book as part of a buddy read with Kayla, so stay tuned for our discussion post.

This book was a really interesting one, but I was getting confused at times about whether this book was taking place in the past or the future. Spoiler alert: it’s the future.

The Tearling is considered the “New World” after the Crossing from Europe and America to escape from the technologies of the future. In the Tearling, the world has resorted back to the medieval days where there aren’t any doctors or modern medicine, people travel on horseback across the country, and slavery is still a big part of society. It’s not fun, but one cool thing is that there’s just a tiny bit of magic in this world.

Kelsea is the true heir to the Tearling throne, her mother was the Queen before her but was killed. To protect her from certain death, Queen Elyssa had her daughter whisked away across the country into hiding to give her a fighting chance at reclaiming the throne for her incompetent and treacherous uncle. So when Kelsea turns nineteen and finds herself surrounded by the Queen’s Guard to take her back to the Keep, she knows that she has a lot of learning to do if she’s going to run her Kingdom in a way that her people will actually respect her.

Kelsea and the rest of her Queens Guard deal with so much trouble during this book, and it’s only going to get worse from there. She has to learn what it really means to be a Queen, and she has to get her people to trust in her to rule them justly and fairly against the evil Red Queen of Mortmesne, a kingdom that has the Tearling submitting a tribute to them every single month in the form of its citizens. There’s a high probability of a war between the Tearling and Mortmesne, but will Kelsea be able to lead her people to victory? Will she be able to deal with the looming betrayal ahead of her without her rule being cut short by assassination attempts?

Sounds kind of like Game of Thrones, right? Maybe a younger version, but there’s still nakedness and swearing just like the former, so be wary if you’re a younger reader.

I really enjoyed this book, and I am dying to find out what is going to happen in the second one, especially since it’s called The Invasion of the Tearling. That spells war, doesn’t it? I’ll just have to see!

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