Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
2014, 448p, Fantasy, Dystopia
My Rating=3 Stars
Source: Received an advance copy from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.

When I first read the summary for this book, I thought I would love it, but it was just okay. First of all, it was hard to tell when it took place exactly. It had the feel of medieval times, but some of their comments would remind me that it was, indeed, set in the future. It didn't have a true dystopia feel to me. I thought it started out really slow and took about 100 pages before anything interesting seemed to happen. The back copy refers to romance and there was absolutely none of it. There are, however, plenty of crude sexual references and lots of swearing, including about twenty "f" words. There are also references to The Hunger Games and The Game of Thrones. I haven't read The Game of Thrones, so I can't speak to that, but The Hunger Games is a stretch. I won't spoil what that is, but it is truly horrific.

The good thing that Kelsea did was put a stop to what was happening right away. She didn't know what she was doing or understand the consequences that would come but she did it anyway. I wanted to like Kelsea, but she seemed to be so concerned with looks--hers and everyone else's that I didn't feel like she had much substance. Certain aspects of her story seemed too easy so it was difficult to see any real growth.

What I did like were some of the side characters, both good and bad, that kept my interest and moved the story along. There are more back stories to be revealed. There was a lot of action towards the end when one of her enemies disobeyed her orders and set up his own deal. Life has been tough for many people during the years since her mother's death and the ones who betray her have had some tough personal losses, so it was hard for me to completely hate them.

This book doesn't have a nice wrap up at the end. There are still lots of questions to be answered and Kelsea has plenty of enemies that I'm sure will appear in future installments. It will be interesting to see what direction the series takes in the future, and even though it's not one of my favorites, I know there are lots of people who will absolutely love it. This book will be made into a movie (with Emma Watson to play Kelsea) and is one of the few where I think I'll like the movie better than the book!

About Erika Johansen
Erika Johansen grew up and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to Swarthmore College, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and eventually became an attorney, but she never stopped writing.

Erika’s Tour Stops
Monday, April 21st: Literally Jen
Tuesday, April 22nd: Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, April 23rd: Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, April 24th: Book Loving Hippo
Friday, April 25th: The Written World
Monday, April 28th: More Than Just Magic
Tuesday, April 29th: Book Marks the Spot
Thursday, May 1st: Books Without Any Pictures
Monday, May 5th: Must Read Faster
Wednesday, May 7th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, May 14th: Adorkable Me
Thursday, May 15th: Giraffe Days
Monday, May 19th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, May 20th: The Best Books Ever
Wednesday, May 21st: Mel’s Shelves
Thursday, May 22nd: An Avid Reader’s Musings
Friday, May 23rd: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, May 27th: Fyrefly’s Book Blog
Wednesday, May 28th: booknerd
Thursday, May 29th: The Bookmark Blog
Monday, June 2nd: Ladybug Literature
Tuesday, June 3rd: She’s Got Books On Her Mind
Wednesday, June 4th: Katie’s Nesting Spot
Thursday, June 5th: One Book at a Time
Friday, June 6th: Not Yet Read
Friday, June 6th: BoundbyWords
Monday, June 9th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, June 10th: The Infinite Shelf
Wednesday, June 11th: Spiced Latte Reads
Thursday, June 12th: The Reader’s Hollow
Monday, June 16th: Open Book Society
Friday, June 13th: The Road to Here
TBD: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
TBD: Girls Just Reading
TBD: Conceptual Reception


Unknown said...

The cover is amazing! The description drew me in, and you're review is great....BUT if it took you 100 pages to "get into it", then you are so good! I give a book three chapters....if I'm not interested by then I walk away forever :). I have too many I want to read to not be interested right away!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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