Thursday, October 30, 2014

[Book Review] Queen of Tearling

Title: The Queen of Tearling (The Queen of Tearling #1)
Author: Erika Johansen 
Publisher: Harper
Genre: High Fantasy // Magic // Adult
Format: Physical Copy
Source: Library
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.
Combining thrilling adventure and action, dark magic, mystery and romance, The Queen of the Tearling is the debut of a born storyteller blessed with a startling imagination (goodreads).



In the beginning, this book didn't quite know what it wanted to be. I'm happy that it managed to get back on track towards the end of this first installment.

Plot: The Queen of Tearling opens with the reading being dropped right dab in the action. Kelsea is finally of age and is ready to be transported to the kingdom (or the Keep) to take her throne back from her uncle who has been serving as regent king. I was really confused about Kelsea's family life and her world as the author does not take much time to explain anything to us newcomers, we kind of just have to go with the flow. The book picks up when Kelsea is finally safely delivered to the Keep and begins her reign as the one-true queen, while dodging assassination attempts. I was most interested in this portion of the novel because it dealt with betrayal and family secrets, and uprisings. It was the second half of the book that The Queen of Tearling felt like a true high fantasy novel. One thing to note, even though Kelsea is only nineteen, this is not a young adult or even new adult novel. The language can be graphic and the scenes are bloody. I have an example from my Teaser Tuesday to show you what kind of language you should expect and see if you feel comfortable reading this novel.

Characters: Kelsea is quite naive and sometimes even annoying. I can't fault her for that because she is only 19 years old and spent her entire life in hiding. As she is young and naive, she is suspectible to the dreaded insta-love, or maybe it's just insta-attraction. I don't know. All I know is that if Kelsea were queen of my kingdom, I would not be okay with her fawning over paid assassins. They are here to kill you! You don't play nice and drink the night away with them. No queenie, no! I don't know if this series will have a love story as the romance was very light and doesn't seem to have any connection to the plot quite yet. Even though Kelsea is our main character, I found myself more interested in the secondary characters who come into play once Kelsea reaches the Keep. There are definitely a lot of family secrets that need to be explored and some characters even have magical abilities that help move the story along. More than anything, I want to know more about the Red Queen who doesn't come into play a lot in this novel, but is clearlyl a key figure in the overall series.

World Building: I remember reading this novel one night. My husband was playing Destiny on PS4 and I finally got fed up with the novel. I gave him The Queen of Tearling and asked him-based on the cover and synopsis- what genre this book would fall under. Like most people, he assumed high fantasy and probably young adult. This is my biggest problem with the book, the world building doesn't many any sense. Kelsea and her team travels by horses and they live in giant castles. So why are there allusions to The Hobbit, and modern day science. Seriously, they talk about birth control. I have no idea when this book takes place. There is a point where someone mentions the year 278, so then how do they reflect on American doctors, British conquerors, and computers. AND WHY DON'T COMPUTERS EXIST IF MODERN MEDICINE DOES. NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE. If you can overlook the lack of proper world building, you may really enjoy this; unfortunately this inconsistency kept me from really getting into the book.

Short N Sweet:The Queen of Tearling promises adventure and political intrigue along the lines of The Game of Thrones. Thankfully it delivers in that aspect, if only the characters and world were as developed as this cat-and-mouse storyline.


14 comments:

  1. Nice review! I admit I am very curious about this one! Supposedly it's already being made into a movie, I think I heard it was with Emma Watson! It sounds intriguing, if a bit complicated at times.

    I thought another blogger said that this was sort of dystopian read, that this takes place in a future that kind of puts itself in medieval times. Pretty sure I read or heard that somewhere because that factoid is sticking out to me. I know some YA series did that, it seemed like it was medieval times but was really a future that was just going back to a society in medieval times or whatever time period. It's definitely an interesting approach for a story, but then also makes you wonder why society is that way...

    But anyway, great review! This one's on my xmas list so I'm hoping Santa comes through! LOL!

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    1. Huh. Interesting. I hope they explain that in future books. I wonder if this country is basically living like The Village then.

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  2. I'm just starting to get interested in high fantasy again. I may save this one for another time :)
    Gorgeous review!

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    1. Yeah, I think this would be a good one to get from the library.

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  3. I prefer it when the action kicks in early on rather than having to trudge through chapters upon chapters of world-building & character development, but those later elements need to show-up eventually in order for a book to be well-rounded. Reviews haven't been great for this title, so I'm passing on it for now.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads.

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    1. Yeah building a fantasy or even dystopian world is hard, you've got to have balance if you want to keep your audience's attention.

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  4. She goes fawning over paid assassins? Haha! Because that's logical, or you know, sane. I don't mind being thrown right in, but Fantasy in general, never mind High Fantasy, isn't my favourite genre, I need that bit of information beforehand. Ha, definitely sounds like confusing world building, when it doesn't even make sense...I'm out.

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    1. YES. And keeps blushing around him, it's PAINFUL. I don't care HOW attractive a guy is, if he tells me that he has been sent to kill me, I AM GONE.

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  5. Good review. That is weird that computers don't exist. ;)

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    1. The whole world is weird. Magic, birth control, Lord of the Rings....I don't understand.

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  6. Awww, three stars. Not that that's a bad rating - I just happened to love this one! Four stars from me. I didn't really see a problem with the world-building like you did. BUT. To each her own :) Excellent review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  7. What castles and birth control but no internet. I am confused. I am curious.

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  8. The beginning sounds interesting

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