Reviewed by Bethany Kelly
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is the coming of age fantasy novel that I have been waiting for! With action and adventure, magic and mystery, and also a little bit of romance sprinkled in, this book is definitely on my list of top ten reads!
Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn has been living in exile for many years after her mom hides her from an immense evil, the Red Queen. However, after her mother’s death, and then finally her 19th birthday, she must face her fate head on and make the journey back to the Keep in the Tearling to take her rightful place on the throne.
Journeying with a group of the Queen’s Guard, Kelsea must figure out who she is and what type of ruler she wants to be. And when she finally makes it to her castle, she gets the chance she needs to show her people that she will not stand for cruelty or injustice, and that she will not bow down to the Red Queen as her mother did.
With an epic war bound to happen, Kelsea must quickly figure out how to save her kingdom and fulfill her destiny. What proves to be a fantastic journey of self-discovery and a battle of smarts and wits will be the very thing to make Kelsea a legend among her people. Even with the Tear sapphire, a powerful necklace that protects its owner, will Kelsea live through the wrath of the Red Queen?
First off, this is just the type of fantasy novel that everyone needs to read! It’s got all of the ingredients that an epic fantasy needs: intrigue, adventure, mystery, romance, plus a magic necklace that lends its wielder immense power. The first in a powerful trilogy, The Queen of the Tearling proved to be a book that I couldn’t put down!
Kelsea is a very strong, but also flawed, main character. With a questionable choice of crush and more interest in books and history than much else, we get to see her grow into her crown, seeing the transformation from awkward teenager to powerful ruler. On top of a truly magnificent main character, we also have a well-rounded and interesting set of supporting characters including Mace, Pen, Elston, Mhurn, and the Fetch, to name a few. Finally, with an antagonist that is both evil and intriguing – the Red Queen – we have an abundance of characters that we get to know throughout the first novel.
Johansen has a beautifully lyrical writing style that works perfectly with the genre she’s writing. She provides just the right amount of detail to get us hooked and give us a clear picture of each scene, but doesn’t give us so much detail that we could begin to get bored. With sections that switch from Kelsea to Mace to even the Red Queen herself, we get a look into many facets of this book!
All in all, this is a very good first novel in The Queen of the Tearling series. I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the fantasy genre, or anyone just looking to read an interesting novel in general.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Harper Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.