A Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

3.5 Stars

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.

“Tear Queen,” the Fetch remarked quietly. “It seems I did underestimate you, after all.”

Overall, I liked this book. Some parts were quite predictable though. For example it was easy for me to figure out who the traitor in the Queen’s Guard was. So disappointing.

This book had so much unfulfilled potential. The premise of the book is just great, and this is unrelated, but the cover of this book is also great. Just saying. Anyway, there were so many paths that the book could’ve gone down… this could have been a spectacular book but it was missing the “wow-factor”.

Before Kelsea became the Queen, her mother Elyssa was the Queen. ‘Lo behold the Queen, who was, and is still hated by many. She was the Queen who was deemed weak because she signed a peace treaty, but here’s a question: If the enemy managed to storm all the way to your capital city, what would you do? Needless to say, you’d have to sign a peace treaty whether you like it or not, because they’ve practically defeated you. It is true, that the reign of Queen Elyssa was not so good because of her incompetency, but her reign was also a product of the circumstances.

The author also adds in the fact that Queen Elyssa is vain. It looks as if Elyssa’s vainness was added as an afterthought- in case the reader doesn’t think she is incompetent enough. I think this is a little pointless as the author already makes it very clear that we’re supposed to think that Queen Elyssa’s reign was a failure. That being said, a vain person is not automatically a bad ruler.

I feel like the author is trying to make Elyssa’s reign look horrible to glorify Kelsea’s reign.

I did like Kelsea though. For a person who has never had any experience with ruling a country, she adapted pretty well. She is an idealist, and she dreams of the greater good (for her country). None of those ideas have actually become true… yet. What I like about Kelsea is how she isn’t willing to stand by and see her people hurt even though preventing them from being hurt may have severe consequences. She also acknowledges and accepts those consequences. I do admire her courage.

At the start of each chapter, there is a quote from a source (such as a lecture transcript, an essay… etc.) that was created after the events in The Queen of the Tearling, and they’re quite “spoilery” in the sense that you can get the gist of the final outcome. Take this as an example:

It’s easy to forget that a monarchy is more than just the monarch. The successful reign is a complex animal, with countless individual pieces working in concert. Looking closely at the Glynn Queen, we find many moving parts, but one cannot overestimate the importance of Lazarus of the Mace, the Queen’s Captain of Guard and Chief Assassin. Remove him, and the entire structure collapses.

—The Tearling as a Military Nation, CALLOW THE MARTYR

In this quote, Callow the Martyr is talking about successful reigns, and he uses the Glynn Queen as an example… That obviously means that the Glynn Queen’s reign will be successful. By the way, the identity of the Glynn Queen is revealed in the quote for the first chapter. This annoyed me a little, because I consider this to be a spoiler. Once I read these quotes, I knew the outcome was going to be good.

The Queen of Mortmesne seemed like a really interesting villain. For a character with a steely exterior, she has a surprising heart of fear. Even though she did not appear so often in the book, her presence was still felt.

This book was quite good. I recommend it!!


Find it on…  

Goodreads ○ Amazon ○ Barnes & Noble


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