My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen was definitely an interesting read. I enjoy historical fantasy but I’m not really sure where this one falls because while it had a similar feel, it was definitely not just historical and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I would really categorize it this way. It may be not even be really important but I do have to say I was a bit thrown as to what the timeframe actually was for this book. Regardless, I did enjoy this one. The pacing was a bit slower in sections that drew it out for me but overall I found the story interesting and the characters intriguing.
The book introduces you immediately to Kelsea Glynn and it is clear that something is up. Kelsea is watching as soldiers approach the cottage she shares and she knows it will be the last time she sees it. The Queen’s Guard are there to escort Kelsea back to the Keep so that she can claim the throne and lead her people. I liked Kelsea. She was smart and made decisions based on what she believed in, not just emotion. Don’t get me wrong, she was emotional and they played a part in everything she did, but she didn’t just do things without thinking through the end result.
The Guards who protected and escorted Kelsea were an interesting group and with Lazarus as the leader, they absolutely take their roles seriously. Lazarus was a tough character to understand. He is very clearly a loyal subject of the Queen and in that, he does whatever he can to protect Kelsea. He doesn’t always support the decisions Kelsea makes but no matter what, he will protect her.
As Kelsea and the guards head toward the Keep, they are aware that they are being stalked. Kelsea’s uncle who has been on the throne for the last 19 years, has stepped things up. Since he has been on the throne, he has allied himself with the Queen of Mortmesne and not only has he taken certain liberties with his role as Regent, he also made the decision to continue sending citizens of the Tearling to the Queen to hold off her threats of attack. She in turn sells them into slavery to support her lands and people. Because of these things, Kelsea’s uncle has been searching for her and has recently enlisted the help of the Caden who are members of the Assassin’s Guild. When the Caden make their move, they find their attack thwarted by the Fetch and his group.
The Fetch…where to start. He is definitely someone I would like to know more about. He has his secrets and as he mentions, has been waiting for Kelsea to make her move. When he saves her and Lazarus, he sets the stage for future interactions by taking one of the Tearling Sapphires and tells her he will give it back when she earns it. Lucky for Kelsea the Fetch is true to his word and he eventually does return it.
As the story moves forward there are a few mysteries. One of them being – who is Kelsea’s father? No one really knows for sure and those that might have any inkling are not talking. I have my own ideas about it but won’t say anything. Additionally, there is a bit of magic. Kelsea can “see” things and her sapphires are definitely important. As the assassination attempts continue, the group realizes there is a mole within the guard and I have to admit, I wasn’t able to guess who the culprit was.
I do have to say, I want to know more about The Red Queen (the Queen of Mortmesne). I obviously know she is cruel and does whatever she wants with no concern for others but I want to know who she really is, why she has lived for so long, and ultimately…what is her deal? I hope we get to learn more in the next book as she grabbed my attention immediately and I am curious to see what happens when the decisions that Kelsea has made, begin to impact her territory and people.
Overall I enjoyed this book and will definitely check out the next one when it comes out. If you like an interesting story that includes, a bit of fantasy, some magic, and some solid characters, definitely check this one out when you can.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper for the review copy.
View all Erin’s reviews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars