As a special book birthday to The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen, here's my initial thoughts on it, and my review of the first book in the Tearling series, The Queen of the Tearling!
With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
The Queen of the Tearling is one of the most unique stories I have ever read, and I loved every single page. It takes place some time in our future, where years after a select group embarks on a journey to start a new, better world, conditions have instead dramatically regressed, back to almost medieval times. Young princess Kelsea is suddenly taken from her secluded home back to the keep her family has ruled Tear from, and she is thrust into her new role as queen. Having lived her life ignorant of many of her kingdom’s problems, she begins to make decisions she deems morally right in a very corrupt world, but then must face the consequences of those decisions, including a threat of war from neighboring kingdom Mortmense and it’s mysterious Red Queen.
I will admit, it took me a while to really dig my teeth into this one. I would pick it up and read a few pages, then put it down for days at a time. About 90 pages in though, I was completely and utterly hooked. I’m so glad that I stuck out the beginning, the wait was very much worth it.
The main reason I kept reading, despite the slowness, was that Erika Johansen has to be the most well-worded, intelligent YA author I have read. Her writing style absolutely blew me away. It’s so smart, but in a way that flows well, doesn’t come across as pretentious, and doesn’t go over the reader’s head. I have so much respect for her after just reading this first book.
It took me a bit, but I eventually fell in love with the main character, Queen Kelsea. Her sense of morality, doing what was right no matter the cost, really struck a chord in me. Kelsea was by no means perfect though, which made her so real and relatable as a female lead. The other characters are also fleshed out very well throughout the book, Pen and Mace being my favorites.
I have to reiterate how unique this story is. It initially comes across as a beautiful fantasy novel, but it is so much more than that. I loved going into this book with no knowledge of its contents. In a world where so often books and movies become redundant and themes become over-used, The Queen of the Tearling was a refreshing, stunning take on the fantasy and dystopian genres! I highly recommend that everyone gives this book a try!
As for the sequel, The Invasion of the Tearling, I am currently about half-way through it and wow, it’s even better! The beginning was much more fast-paced than the first book, so I had no problem immediately losing myself in the story. I didn’t want to put it down to write this review! I cannot wait to see where Kelsea’s story goes, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing!
To grab your copies of Tearling series click here.
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