Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen...

Title- The Queen of the Tearling.
Author- Erika Johansen.
Publish date- August 2014.
Publisher- Penguin Random House. Bantam Press.
RRP- $32.99

Review time...

(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.

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.

*Spoilery things?*

*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.


  1. Hmm! I've read such mixed reviews of this one but I am still intrigued!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

    1. I think I've only read one review of it, apart from my own, but I wonder whether I would have been inclined to read it on the synopsis alone, if I hadn't been sent a copy? The story has many elements I really am drawn to, but I don't believe they were a focus of the synopsis...

  2. I've been turned off this book by the mixed reviews I've read - but if the movie version looks good I might check out the book. I know the instalove will annoy me though, and I'm not looking forward to being unmoved by the characters. I do love the Australian cover more than the US one though!

    1. I haven't seen the different covers- will have to check them out! I don't know that I'll go on with thre series myself, but I will keep an eye on the movie, too, and perhaps that will make me want to keep going!

  3. I am soooo on the fence regarding this one. Most of the reviews I've read were kinda negative, and many of them are echoing the same thing - that this is supposed to be an "adult" book but it reads so much like a YA! :/ Don't know what to feel about that, honestly!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. It was quite a confusing experience for me, especially having an inkling that I was actually reading an adult novel when I had assumed it was YA- that was a little shocking! Though the themes... so few warrant it being an adult novel, so it's a bit perplexing. I wonder what angle the film will take?

  4. That seems like a long book for it to just be ordinary. If I am going to put that much time into a book I want it to be amazing. Unlike the other comments I hadn't heard of this one yet. I'll probably pass on this one.

    1. Keep an eye out for the film (this seems to be a general consensus)- it sounds like it could be pretty amazing and might tide a lot of people, myself included, over into following the series. x

  5. I can't wait to read this book, even if there wasn't so much hype about it, I'd want to read it because it'a a genre I love. I think I thought this one was YA too, so I was surprised it is labelled 'Adult'. If anything it sounds like it should be label YA with cross over appeal or something?
    Any way, I'm hoping I enjoyed this one. Great review, thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh, I thought there was quite a lot of hype about it- maybe more media than blogger, though, and perhaps, due to the film deal, in the UK than here in Australia- either way I'm glad you're keen to read it, Rochelle, and I hope it works well for you! I'll look out for a review! xx

  6. Hmm yeah, I had the same sort of thoughts about Kelsea. I just had a hard time connecting to her. I love characters with flaws - and Kelsea had a lot of them - and I was also giving her some leeway with those flaws - but at times she just frustrated me. I just can't imagine falling for someone who treats you so poorly. But yes, I was definitely intrigued with this sort of futuristic medieval world... I hope we get more information in the sequel on how it came to be this way though. Loved reading your thoughts here!

    1. Yes, she certainly had moments- her brashness, whilst being wonderful at times, could just as easily turn and seem idiotic, which I suppose is a good thing to show in a character, but then she also seemed like she had a lot less sense than I would have thought, than she had previously shown. Oh, I agree about the romance, too! That left me pretty wide-eyed.
      Thank you, Aylee! xx

  7. I saw this book a couple weeks ago and was dazzled by the cover by I still can't decide whether to read it or not. It looks interesting, but a lot of books look interesting!

    1. I like the fact about the cover that... well, I didn't really feel much about it at all when I first saw it, but I really like it makes sense to the story, how it is such a interpretable image.


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