Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Fantasy

After the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding, in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard have appeared to escort the princess to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.
Epic. That is the exact word to describe how I feel about this book. Epic. I have not read a book this amazing in a long time. Not only is the hardcover edition of the book physically gorgeous, with its beautiful end pages, built in red satin ribbon bookmark, and deckled pages, but it is also gorgeously written.

I typically do not enjoy reading books that are written in the third person. The book has to be exceedingly well written for me to continue reading it once I find out it's written from this perspective. I can find it very difficult to connect with characters when a book is written in third person. I did not have that problem with this book. Erika Johansen is an insanely talented writer. From the first page, I was completely drawn into the world she created, and I connected completely with Kelsea.

I love that Kelsea is such a strong female lead, right from the beginning. Through her inner monologue we know that she questions herself and her ability to be queen, but she never lets her fears or doubts show. She is quick to stand up for herself, and is always trying to find ways to win the respect of those she knows will help her on her journey.

Kelsea has been hidden away her whole life and now, at 19, she must return to her kingdom to save her people from her uncle, the Regent, and the Red Queen. She finds this task exceedingly difficult because there are so many things that have been kept secret from her. None of the people who have been charged to keep Kelsea safe will tell her what she feels she needs to know. She often asks how she is to be an effective ruler if she does not have all the facts, if she cannot make decisions based on the history of her mother's reign.

I really enjoyed the storytelling from multiple viewpoints. I felt that it really added to my understanding of all the major characters. I was able to glimpse these characters through others eyes, gaining insight into the character’s personalities that I would not have had if this book was only told through one point of view.

So many mysteries. Why did Kelsea need to be hidden away? What happened to her mother the queen? What's up with sapphires she was entrusted with? Why won't anyone tell her about anything that has happened since her mother's death? Who is her father? Who is the Red Queen and where did she come from? How will Kelsea lead her kingdom? How will she defeat the Red Queen? Will there be war over the actions Kelsea takes to fix the atrocities that have been allowed to happen in her kingdom? And so many more! Erika Johansen did an amazing job of revealing just enough at just the right time, leaving me salivating for more. At the end of the book, though many mysteries have been revealed, not all have, and new ones abound.

Though Kelsea is definitely my favorite character, I also thoroughly enjoyed several other characters. From the moment I met The Fetch, I was completely in love with him. I cannot wait to see how his story continues to unfold and how his relationship with Kelsea will play out. I also completely adored the relationship between Mace/Lazarus and Kelsea. Kelsea would not be as successful as she is if she did not have him by her side. Together the create an amazingly powerful unit. Pen is also utterly adorable.

I cannot wait until the sequel, The Invasion of the Tearling, comes out on June 9, 2015!


  1. Nice review! I still need to read this one! And omg this hardcover is gorgeous! It's in my TBR Mountain of Doom and like every book in there, I hope to read it soon! LOL! But this really does sound magical and awesome! Glad you thought so highly of it! Great review!

    1. Thank you Jessica! I adored this book. Put it at the top of your TBR! You won't be disappointed!

  2. Thank you for the review. I'm pretty sure this will be next on my to-read pile! I heard a rumor that will be adapted into a movie starring Emma Watson!

    1. Stacy yes! It will be a movie staring Emma Watson! When I heard that I was like, MUST. READ. NOW, and I'm so thankful that I did because it was utterly amazing!

  3. I absolutely LOVE this story! I have read it twice, once in hardcover and again when I saw the paperback. I cannot even wait for the Invasion! I also had no idea that it was going to be a movie...

    1. The Invasion of the Tearling cannot come soon enough! Also, I will be first in line for the movie!

  4. I've seen this one around and haven't really given it much thought until now!

    1. Tonyalee I'm so glad that I was able to pique your interest in this book! It is hands down the best book I have read all year. I hope you pick it up soon and enjoy it!


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