Monday, July 21, 2014

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

A #1 Indie Next Pick and Library-Reads Selection

Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

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.

This book will be a beautifully designed package with illustrated endpapers, a map of the Tearling, and a ribbon marker.


I rarely read historical fantasy novels, but I’m very happy that I read this one. It truly is a well written story with a powerful heroine. The story is set in a dystopian futuristic medieval world called Tear. I enjoyed the story of Kelsea, a young woman who suddenly comes of age and is sent off to face her destiny as a queen and hidden magical skills/gifts that she possesses in addition with an uncanny talent for leading.

What makes this book shine is the brilliant dialogue and the characterization, especially of the guardsmen, who come across as powerful warriors who are doing their duty by escorting her to the kingdom to be crowned. Slowly, their doubts about the young and na├»ve Kelsea begin to change into admiration as she shows courage, savvy, and fairness. 

The Queen of Tearling is the first book of a series and definitely worth reading. The ending is satisfying but leaves many unanswered questions for the next installment. I really liked this novel which will soon be made into a movie…So that should tell you the storyline is pretty darn good!

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