By Erika Johansen
The Queen of the Tearling rules all – including me. This novel explores Kelsea’s growth into a full-fledged Queen, with all the suspense, drama, fear, and hope that comes with the position.
Set in a Medieval-inspired world, ravaged by a fear-mongering neighboring Sorceress, Kelsea has been trained since birth for her role as Queen. Yet, when she comes out of hiding to realize her birthright, she finds the title of Queen to mean so much more than what she learned in training. From questioning loyalties to fighting for her kingdom’s freedom from tyranny to avoiding the pointy end of assassin knives, Kelsea forges her own rules and discovers the secrets of her inheritance.
The title of this book is so reflective of the pages within. This novel explores every detail of becoming a Queen in a realistic way – from finances to military strategy to proper decorum. Johansen crafted Kelsea with such care, every thought and observation backed by logic and her position, turning the girl into a believable leader. The character development and clever dialog were the showstoppers in my opinion and made up for the lack of supernatural or fantastical elements in the book.
If you’re looking for a really thoughtful plot, deep and lively characters, and a protagonist you can’t help but cheer for, this is your book!
Bonus: it appears The Queen of the Tearling will be turned into a movie, spearheaded by my fav, Emma Watson (she can do no wrong).
Romance: There’s some romantic tension but it’s scattered and thin – don’t count on a romantic storyline.
World Building: While the Tearling is a difficult place to live (this is a Dystopian novel after all), all the details of the torn countryside are brought to life through vivid imagery. The world is continuously developed as Kelsea and other characters travel to new lands and villages.
Writing: The Medieval style is reflected not only in world building but in word choice. I loved the descriptors and the multiple first person narrators vary the perspective and writing tone.
Overall: I really enjoyed The Queen of the Tearling even though it lacked some of the elements that saturate my reading list (romance and fantasy). I fell in love with the characters and the plot kept me coming back for more.