Monday, July 7, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

**I received this book from Edelweiss/Harper in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


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.

*My Thoughts*

It is very interesting how much publicity this book has gathered before it was even released. First, there is the fact that the book sold for 7 figures. Imagine that for a moment, and then we'll move on. Second, there seems to be a movie in the works featuring Harry Potter's Emma Watson as the lead character Princess Kelsey Raleigh Glynn who goes on to become Queen of the Tearling. The series itself is apparently going to be a trilogy. 

If that doesn't peek your interest, the story itself takes place 300 years in the future, after what is being called the Post-Crossing where Americans and British tried to cross to this new realm which was created as a socialistic society by William Tear that ended up failing due to assassinations and other circumstances. Even though the book moves slowly at the beginning, this story could have taken place during medieval times, and it would have still kept me entertained.

In Tearling, the caste system, where nobles own the land and surfs work them, is in full force. Corruption is rampant, and the rich continue to live off the poor. This is a society that condones human slavery and trafficking through a lottery system thanks to The Mort Treaty that pays yearly tribute to the Red Queen. It is a society that has been under the thumb of not only Kelsea's corrupt Uncle, but her own mothers incompetence as well.

Nineteen-year old Kelsea Glynn has been in hiding her entire life from the Red Queen of Mortmesne, her Uncle, and their Caden assassins. Spirited away by the Queen's Guards after she was marked as the heir to the crown, she ends up living with Carlin and Barty Glynn who teach her the ins and outs of the world she lives in.  Kelsea's entire life has been a lonely one. She loves books, she loves hearing about the crossing, she believes that she is a plain as day, and she knows that one day she will have to remove her Uncle the Regent and take up the crown of the Queen. But, she also has no friends, or understanding of the power that her sapphire necklace has within it.  She is also left with more questions than answers thanks to an oath the Glynn's took before Kelsea arrived. 

For me, there are a bunch of questions that need to be answered over the course of this series. What really happened during & before the crossing? Why did the Americans and British attempt to traverse dangerous waters to come to this land without bringing necessary technology and supplies, and other important things with them? Where exactly is this territory located? Why does it seem that so many people hate books, (except Kelsea) but will take faith in God's church? Will we ever find out the secret of who Kelsea's father is, or why the Dark seems to protect her? Why would we worry about creating a Printing Press, while people are still struggling to survive?

Apparently, it has become normal now for anyone, especially atheists, to take a swipe at religion and one's faith in God. In this story, the so called good guys, including Kelsea, have no desire to believe in God, while the rest of society apparently follows the teachings of God's Church which is a cross between Catholicism, and Protestantism. I don't care about what you do, or don't believe in. I believe in tolerating one's choices in life, and not attacking them personally. Perhaps, we should all contemplate our own humanity when you continue to belittle, and torture those who believe. 

We are told in no uncertain terms that Kelsea is a good person, with a spirit that allows her to be above approach when it comes to corruption. Yet, in certain instances, she was a giddy 12 year old slinging mud at an older nobles because of their attempt at looking good, and killing without second thought. She's a bit churlish at times, and decent to the core about seeing children educated, and given more chances. She's cold at times, but warms when certain characters are around her. She is surrounded by surprising characters, some who have secrets of their own.

Two of the more dynamic characters in this book are the Fetch, and Lazarus the Mace. Fetch you can call this stories Robin Hood because he is the most notorious thief of the past 20 years. He demands greatness from Kelsea, and won't hold back his threats that if she screws up, she's dead. Mace is her Captain of the Guard. He is definitely one of the more interesting characters in the book because he truly does stand up to Kelsea, and even mocks her enjoyment of books. He's a fierce fighter, and doesn't like to see his plans fail.

The Queen of the Tearling, a mix of dystopian, and High Fantasy, is being compared to the Games of Thrones, with a female heroine. Since I haven't read, nor watched GoT, I'll take other reviewers and readers word for it. I don't necessarily agree with the whole Hunger Games comparison either. I think perhaps some publicist may have over reached on that point in order to gain interest in the book, and the apparent movie tie-in.

Author - Erika Johansen
Title - The Queen of the Tearling
Series - The Queen of the Tearling # 1
Published by Harper
Pub Date: July 8, 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy
Format: E-Book 448 pages


  1. This.Looks.So.Good. And 300 years in the future? Wow. Thank you for this great review! I look forward to reading the book. (Always had a thing for books with royalty.) :)

    Lola @Seeing Night Reviews

  2. I saw a few intial reviews for this one with shockingly angry reviews and super low ratings and was convinced to stay away from it. I should have known though because those bloggers aren't ones I typically follow. After seeing yours and Wendy's positive reviews I think I am going to have to give this one a shot. So glad you enjoyed it!