Title- The Queen of the Tearling.
Author- Erika Johansen.
Publish date- August 2014.
Publisher- Penguin Random House. Bantam Press.
(A Brief) Synopsis:
She lived in hiding all her life, for her protection, and learnt how to be queen from her carers in a house in the middle of the wood, but now Kelsea is eighteen she must travel to her city and take the kingdom for herself and see what her mother has left her. If she makes it there alive, that is.
Image Credit: Random House Australia.
Thank you to Penguin Random House for this review copy!
What I thought:
The Queen of the Tearling, it was a pretty good read for me, overall; there were moments, chapters, even, where I felt fully immersed in the story and the plight and journey of Kelsea, and I want nothing more than to feel that as the first thing upon entering a new fantasy world. But I also want consistency, depth to plot and characters, and though Kelsea wasn't the only character who had layers (and good ones, too- ones I thought were believable, that felt real. She was a stalwart, opinionated, passionate characterm and she truly did care, above all else. She was prepared to fight for what she cared about, be it place or person.) but I just didn't always feel touched by them. Even Kelsea, who had such a variety of characteristics, I can't say I truly cared for her.
A month after reading and she hasn't had such a grand effect on me, to be honest.
Her flaws must be mentioned here, briefly, too, since I put little stead in them above: she's a bit brash, close to being offensively blunt (it can go either way, depending on how she uses it situation wise) and in the first 100 pages of the book she fairly well falls instantly in love with a man who is dangerous, deadly and not very kind to her. Whenever he popped into her thoughts throughout the rest of the book it was practically all she wanted to think about- I think I can give leyway for some of this desire, but at times it was just idiotic. I never truly felt like he had an endearing moment with her, or me as the reader, so it felt a little awkward.
Still, Kelsea, I felt, developed well across the 432 pages of the ARC I read, her passion and courage growing and gaining momentum, and she had some really fantastic characters at her side along the way, most notably Mace, who was at times fantastic and at others irritating.
But If I were to have just one confusion about this book, it would be this: it didn't seem to know who it was for.
I only review a very few- mostly crime- adult novels here, and there may be one a year, very unlikely to be more than two, and all the along I was under the impression that this was a YA novel that enojoyed an occasional foray into the dark world of adult fantasy. Kelsea's scenes all felt like they could've fitted into a YA novel, yet we go through a switch of POV and are with the Queen of Mortmesne, and here it is definitely, definitely adult.
Sex and torture and curses that didn't appear before and only did in her scenes afterwards.
It stumped me.
The Queen of the Tearling seems to be an adult novel, though, I now find out, and that surprises me. It just doesn't quite feel it.
I'm not going to go into great depth with this, but the world here is very interesting- it's a kind o medieval dystopian, and whilst there was a touch of an imformation overload in one scene, explaining all questions in too great detail for what the scene was, it was quite a captivating and well done idea. Not everything felt believable, but overall I liked it.
Also, Rowling survives.
*Mace, in one scene, assures Keladry their supply of food is secure. Answers in the exact same way when she tries to find out at two different times in a conversation, and that felt too... tricky? Why wouldn't he just tell her? I had ideas, but they didn't prove to be correct.
*The Regent wears a... jumpsuit. It's purple.
Rating: Mostly Hmm...
It was exciting and I was often captivated, but not quite enough by either characters or plot, or even the world. There were a few elements missing that would have pulled me over and made me love thi novel, and I'm unsure whether I'll continue with the series. It promises more, but I'm also happy with where I was left at the end of this.