The Queen of the Tearling Book Review

The Queen of the Tearling: Book Review by Dinh.

The Queen of the Tearling Book Review



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.

the queen of the tearling book review


Confusing Setting

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.


Forgettable Characters

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?

Main Character

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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19 thoughts on “The Queen of the Tearling Book Review

  1. The Queen of the Tearling has been on bookshelf to be read… I’ve heard some good and bad things about it too.
    Now that you’ve bought my attention to it I will probably read it soon. 🙂

    1. Hi Becky!
      I enjoyed the book enough to continue with reading the sequel. The third book is coming out soon (November) so I will probably get to the second book soon. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hmm… this book has actually been on my TBR for a long time and I really do want to read it. But it sounds mediocre at best, if not a little worse than that. I don’t mind it being unoriginal too much… but the sound of forgettable characters and not that strong of a world is a bit of a let down. Gonna have to think about this one some more. At least you could enjoy the main character!

    1. Hi Olivia!
      I thought The Queen of the Tearling was okay but other reviewers thought it was fantastic. I can’t but help compare it to other works which I found to be so much better.
      I did enjoy reading it but it could have been better at the character development and the world building.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I wonder if there aren’t any books out there that reference Game of Thrones—Lord of the Rings even. I think there might be something to giving a nod to another style or genre, so long as the story as a whole is well-told and original. I’m guessing this book took a little too many references?

    I agree with an earlier comment: world building and solid character development matter a great deal with storytelling. I’d even go so far as to say good pacing contributes to both of those. Would you say that this book made a stronger impression on you towards the beginning in the exposition or the end around the conclusion?

    1. Hi Dawn!
      I agree with you that there are many books that reference Game of Thrones or other classical books. The themes and stories are usually good and can be adapted and twisted into a new kind of book. I don’t mind it that much if it’s unoriginal but it has to be good.

      The world building was not solid and the characters were weak but it did have some interesting things going for it that made me interested in what may happen and why. The story did build and I would say that by the end of the book I had a better opinion of it.

      It ended well and made me want to know what would happen next so I will read The Invasion of the Tearling next, and also The Fate of the Tearling which comes out November 29, 2016. Once I start a trilogy and it has enough for me to get through it I will tend to read them all.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. This book definitely is realistic. I generally don’t hear anything like losing weight to train better. Nowadays books are not realistic but this one certainly seem so. Thanks for good points about the book

    1. Hi Furkan!
      Although this book is a fantasy, there are lots of realistic aspects to it.
      I do like that the main character Kelsea is a realistic person. All the problems she has in terms of dealing with her kingdom, she approaches with a view not only as a 19 year old but also as a person learning to be a leader. Making difficult decisions as a leader is challenging and she handles it well.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I LOVE YOUR DIRECTNESS! I think world-building is an important factor in a successful story. For this one to be a bit confusing surely takes away from anchoring and building a strong storyline. Regardless, I’m glad you enjoyed it, if not loved it, and I look forward to your review of book 2.

    1. Hi Lonna!
      Yes, I agree with you that world building is an important factor in a successful story. I don’t like to be confused and to be honest, it did put me off. However, that being said I tried not read too much into it and just tried to enjoy the book. I do find that with fantasy it is easier to ignore some of the confusing parts. LOL.
      I do want to know what happens in the second book- I think that it will probably be better. 🙂

      1. Haha…yes, fantasy does require me to bridge things together. Even so, if I spend less time scrutinizing the world and more on the plot twists and turns, I would be a much happier reader. =)

  6. I like reading your reviews, they are easy to read and follow and gives me a clear idea of the book. Reading the summary I also thought it sounded like Game of Thrones, maybe if that is something that interests you then it would be a good book for you to read. To bad the characters are forgettable but I do like the fact the main character is like a real girl with real issues/stuggles, I think that would make me interested in reading the book. Will you also have reviews on the other books in the series?

    1. Hi Summerly!
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      I like reading books with strong characters. Kelsea’s character was good. I like that she’s not your typical heroine. She’s a real person with real problems that we can all relate to. She’s young but her maturity level matches that of her character which makes it realistic.
      I think I will read the rest of the series. The next book is Invasion of the Tearling. It’ll be interesting to see how Kelsea will deal with the problems involving war…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Thanks for the warning about it also being available in the young adult section. Great review of the book, will definitely pass on this one. I love books that have rich characters that you fall in love with or have strong emotions for or against. Will look forward to more of your reviews!

    1. Hi Linda!
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      The Queen of the Tearling does have a good story line, even though it is not original. It did have enough interesting developments going on so it kept me interested.
      I love books that create a connection with the character and agree with you too that it should move you in some way. This book at least gave me some escapism.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Hi Arthur!
      I enjoyed The Queen of the Tearling even though it was a ripoff and I say if it has piqued your interest to give it a go. You never know you may enjoy it too!
      I love fantasy so it’s something I would pick up to read just to check it out.

      Thanks for stopping by at Arlene’s Book Club!

  8. Interesting that you said it reminded you of Game of Thrones – as soon as I read the first couple of sentences of your review, that’s exactly what I thought! I’m not a big fan of this genre, but I do love Game of Thrones series, although I haven’t read the books. Every now and again I’ll come across a book by an author that steps into this territory and find myself enjoying it, but I don’t seek out this kind of book. I’ve read a couple by Dean Koontz that fall into this category and if you’re a dog lover like me, I highly recommend his ‘Watchers’. I also liked Steven King’s ’11/22/63′ and ‘The Eyes of the Dragon’.

    1. Hi Teresa!
      If you enjoy Game of Thrones t.v. show then I would recommend you to read the books. They are excellent. Think tip of the iceberg for the show and the books are the rest of the iceberg. You miss so much not reading the books.
      The Queen of the Tearling is a very weak version of Game of Thrones. I love fantasy so I enjoyed it even though it was not original. I will probably pick up the next installments just to read them all and have a valid opinion of them.
      I haven’t read any of Dean Koontz’ books because I have not been personally recommended them.
      As for Stephen King, I don’t like the way he writes although he has great story lines and original materials. I may have to give him another try as it has been years since I tried reading his books.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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