Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publishing Date: July 17th 2014
Length: 432 pages
Keywords: YA, fantasy, war, friendship, action
Source: Publisher

Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.

But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.

Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.

Summary by Goodreads

Welcome to the Tearling. Our new fictional home in the THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING trilogy. The setting is quite a puzzle for readers to figure out in the beginning. Set in the future, the story appears dystopia. Still it also had many medieval and historical influences. I'm sure that I would have enjoyed this book more hadn't there been the constant irritation about the clashing futuristic and historical feels to it.

The story starts at a cottage in Reddick forest where the future queen of the Tearling has been kept save for all her life. Now it's time to take the journey to the castle and claim her birthright. This journey supplies readers with action-packed pursuits and many new dark characters Kelsea meets along the way. We are provided with a map of the Tearling which makes it a lot easier to follow Kelsea's way.

THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING is told from multiple perspectives. There is of course Kelsea who is our main narrator. You even slip inside the antagonistic Red Queen's head and experience her view on the impending war between the Tearling and Mortmesne. You can expect violence and strong language.

It's very hard to figure out where the story is headed romance-wise. There are hints at a future love story for Kelsea. And if Kelsea falls for one certain character known as the Fetch it promises to become a very dark romance since he's a complete enigma and appears more dangerous than amiable. 
   At first Kelsea herself proved to be quite difficult to like. She had very low self esteem and many issues with her body, always talking about how unlikable she was and how beautiful other people were in comparison. So that means she has still a lot of growing-up to do. One of her big trials is to figure out her opinion on the slave trade that has been happening in her kingdom for years.
   Lazarus, her Queen's guard captain, was by far my favourite character of the story since he was always so sure of himself and very protective of Kelsea.

3/5 *** THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING - A dark and twisted new series where dystopia meets historical fiction and no one is safe, especially not the future queen.

When I first picked up Erika Johansen's debut novel I found the detailed and very descriptive writing immensely slowing down my reading progress. It was only until I was halfway through the four hundred plus pages that the story picked up pace and I clicked with the characters. I'm definitely reading the sequel to this promising first book in the THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING series.

"Kelsea remembered the comb in her hand and turned to take care of the mare, her mind moving like a wild thing while she worked.
Perhaps daring will win them. 
You'll never win the respect of these people. You'll be lucky not to die before you reach the Keep. 
Maybe. But I have to try something.
You speak as though you have options. All you can do is what they tell you.
I'm the Queen. I'm not bound by them.
So think most queens, right until the moment the axe falls." p. 21

THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING you might enjoy THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski, SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch and THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson. All three stories follow heroines who live in war-torn kingdoms who have to be strong and grow stronger in order to save everyone.

* Read the sequel, THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING coming June 2015 (US).

* Click here for an excerpt of THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING.

* Find out more about the series on

* Thanks to Bantam Press for sending me a review copy!


  1. I like the sound of historical fiction and dystopian. I have read a few like these and quite like them. I do have a harder time with slow paced beginning books. I will give this one a shot though, It sounds insteresting. great rewiew.

  2. It's sounds like sticking with the story paid off for you. Sometimes stories are worth the patience. I hope the next in the series improves for you. Wonderful review! :)

  3. I've heard great things about this book, so I'm glad that you were able to end up enjoying it overall. Also thanks for the heads up about the slow start, I will certainly take this into consideration when I finally give this book a go! Lovely review! :)

  4. Great review sweetie :) I'm glad you enjoyed this book. <3 Though, hih, it might be possible that I hated it like crazy :) but I am curious about the sequel. Maybe. I'm not sure. I hope you'll love it though :) Thank you for sharing. <3