Monday, June 8, 2015

*Book Review* The Invasion of the Tearling by Erica Johansen (Fantasy/Dystopia)

Series: The Queen of the Tearling # 3
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Format: E-book, 480 pages
Genre: Adult, Fantasy

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

The Invasion of the Tearling is the sequel to Queen of the Tearling. Invasion takes on an interesting twist to an already twisted tale. In this tale, Queen Kelsea, who pretty much started a war with the Queen of Mortmesne over shipments of slaves, has visions of a woman named Lily Mayhew who lives in Pre-Crossing America. The story bounces back and forth between Kelsea and Lily, sometimes at the most inopportune times. Lily, unlike Kelsea, lives in what we would call a dystopian society and is basically a nobody except for the fact that her husband is rich and powerful.

How the two women actually connect, I won't spoil for you except to say that Lily is IMPORTANT and leave it at that. My heart really hurt for Lily. She goes through so much trauma, that it's a wonder anyone could survive. There are some really awful and powerful scenes involving Lily. Cases of rape, brutality, and torture are clearly meant to convey a hard message that women have absolutely no rights in Lily's society. Men can, and will do things that they believe they are entitled to do without anyone holding them accountable. 

Women have found themselves as baby makers, and homemakers who aren't allowed to work real jobs. Women who don't procreate, are ostracized. This is also our first meeting of the founder of Tearling, William Tear, as well as all of his descendants leading right up to Kelsea. This is the generation that was responsible for the crossing 300 years before Kelsea was born. This is the generation that left technology behind for the simple life. This is also the generation that watched as all their doctors and medical supplies sank to the bottom of the ocean. 

I will say that Kelsea's behavior really shocked me to the core in this story. She does some really dumb things, and makes some bad decisions that even her closest advisers call her on. She changes so much in this story, that you won't recognize her from the girl that Lazarus of the Mace found in the first installment. She's become obsessed with social justice aspects, and doesn't care one fig about the those who hold the power of the purse. She makes impulsive choices knowing that Tearling is on the brink of war. She even comes face to face with the Red Queen's nightmare and doesn't use her head. In this way, Kelsea is the Red Queen's exact duplicate. 

There are some really fun characters that are introduced in Invasion. The ones that stand out for me are Aisa, the 12 year old daughter of Andalie. Aisa really comes into her own. She's strong, knows weapons like the back of her hands, and is fierce and determined to become one of the Queen's Guards. When you can impress Lazarus of the Mace, you've come a long way. Her sister Glee is a powerful character also in her own right. She sees things that will eventually affect Kelsea's future. My other favorite is Ewen, who is the Queen's jailer. Ewen has a bit of a disability, but he doesn't allow it to control his life. He stands up, and out, and hopefully he will be around awhile longer. 

Johansen once again takes a swipe at organized religion painting it as bad, corrupt, and evil. Kelsea can not stand the new Holy Father of the Church, and vice versa. She antagonizes him every single chance she gets while threatening to tax the churches properties. He demands that she marry, and spawn a child who will be her heir while also working behind her back to overthrow her. Perhaps not such a great idea for Kelsea when one of your own priests, Father Tyler, is helping you understand the sapphires and your families history, and still has to live under the same roof with the man you despise. 

I would definitely recommend a bit of caution for those under 16. In fact, this story is being an adult themed novel, I would not recommend this book to teenagers without adult guidance. I due wonder if Johansen truly meant to make this a bridge novel. Guess we shall see in the sequel. 

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

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