The Queen of the Tearling: Book Review by Dinh.
Raised by loyal servants, in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea Raleigh has been in hiding since the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa.
Now at the age of 19 years old, The Queen’s Guard- loyal soldiers that protect the throne, have come to take Kelsea to the capital to be crowned as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Long ago, Kelsea’s predecessor’s sailed away from a dying world to start a new one without modern technology. The land of the Tear, together with two other nations, pay duties to Mortmesne, a more powerful and fearful nation.
Kelsea’s journey to the capital of Tear to get crowned is met with various attempts on her life. She discovers the evil that is going on in her kingdom and is determined to eradicate it even at the cost of war with the cunning evil Red Queen, ruler of Mortmesne.
Kelsea is aided by a few loyal allies and the Tear sapphire, a jewel that has power and magic, in her quest to save her kingdom.
Let’s cut the chase. This book was an okay book to read. I had some issues with The Queen of the Tearling, however I did like some parts of it too.
Let’s start with the worst parts of the book!
Here’s what I didn’t like:
My first impression of this book is that it is like a weak version of A Game of Thrones series and other similar novels set in feudal times.
With reference to A Games of Thrones, the similarities are in the setting, with the Queen’s Royal Guard, the Keep and also the language used in the book.
When the book mentioned the powerful and magical Tear jewel that Kelsea possessed, I had thought this was going to be a nice fantasy. Not the case!
The background to the history of the Tear kingdom was vague and confusing.
We know that Kelsea’s forefather sailed away from a decaying modern world with technology and set up a new one, but how come the kingdom is in the feudal age? There’s not explanation as to why they’ve gone backwards.
If only Ms. Johansen had left this part out of the book and set it in feudal times with magic it would have been a straightforward fantasy that everyone could get their heads around.
Though I like the direction of the plot the author was going with the book, I didn’t feel that the characters were notable. Once you finish the book you just vaguely remember the other characters.
This is the first book of three in the Tearling series, so perhaps the second book Invasion of the Tearling, will have more memorable characters or more developed characters.
A word of caution to readers:
The Queen of the Tearling started off in the adult books category but then migrated to the Young Adult (YA) genre. So you’ll find this book in both sections in the library.
I would not have classed this as YA because of violence and bad language which is quite strong.
I didn’t expect the foul language used in this book but it came later in the book so it was a surprise. There’s quite a bit of swearing, though this didn’t bother me, I would advise other readers of this matter.
And what did I like about The Queen of the Tearling?
One good thing going for this book was the main character Kelsea. She has a strong personality and is not a push over.
And she’s not your typical heroine.
What I liked is that Kelsa is a real girl. Only 19 years old and has real insecurities. For example, Kelsea wants to learn to fight with a sword but her trainer says she needs to be faster. Upon reflection, she realizes that she a bit ‘thick’ and needs to lose some weight. Now that’s realistic!
Also, in the book Kelsea sees herself as normal or plain and not good looking as compared to the court ladies. She is even jealous of Marguerite, the old Regent’s mistress.
“Kelsa liked Marguerite….so she tried to curb her resentment, though something inside her told her that it would be a constant struggle, to look at this woman every day without jealousy.”
A heroine that likes books? Yes, Kelsea is a book lover!
I liked that one of her priorities is to restore books to the kingdom. I am happy to see that Ms. Johansen main character likes to read and see books as educational asset. (see my view on if books make you smarter here).
My Final Thoughts:
There was enough interesting things going on to keep me interested in reading The Queen of the Tearling. I enjoyed reading Book 1 of the series and it ended well which left me wanting to know more about the magic of the jewels.
Other bits of interest was the Red Queen and her story. I’d like to know her story and how she got that way. We don’t get answers in the first book but I am sure we will find out in the next installment, The Invasion of the Tearling.
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