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The Queen of the Tearling

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Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.

But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.

Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.

Combining thrilling adventure and action, dark magic, mystery and romance, The Queen of the Tearling is the debut of a born storyteller blessed with a startling imagination.

434 pages, Hardcover

First published July 8, 2014

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Erika Johansen

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January 30, 2014
What does [that lady] see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive? Kelsea saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.
Because how DARE anyone ugly have confidence in themselves.

When I die, I want inscribed on my gravestone "She Read The Queen of the Tearling." Call me unambitious, but that shall be counted among my proudest accomplishments, because never have I ever read a more painfully long, worthless book.

The copywriter who wrote this book's summary compares it to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones; they have clearly read neither. They compared to the world-building to that of The Hunger Games. They compared the characters to that of Game of Thrones.

Are you fucking kidding me?

A thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters could write a book that is more similar to those works than anything this book has to offer.

This was also the most intensely painful reading experience I have ever had due to the sheer length of the book, aggravated by the fact that the book just dragged on and on and on without a point. This is the book that doesn't end. A good 30% of the book is devoted to traveling. Not since The Hobbit have I been so fucking bored out of my mind. Bilbo Baggins could have gone there and back again, and then make another round around Middle Earth, and sure, why not---take a few years to flutter around Rivendell chilling with the elves in the time it took this book to go anywhere.

The Summary: Kelsea Raleigh is the new Queen of the Tearling. Her mother, the late Queen Elyssa has died, and it is time for Kelsea to claim the throne. She travels to the new kingdom. She's traveling. She's on a horse. They're slowly making their way to the castle. Slooooooooowly.

Meanwhile, the Red Queen of Mortmesne is wonder where the fuck Kelsea is. She's spent the last 19 years searching for her. Seriously, where the fuck is the girl? Oh, well, the Red Queen will think about that later. Time to fuck some slaves! OH YEAH. GIVE IT TO ME, BABY.

Kelsea's still traveling. Man, her new guards are really, really good looking. Oh, shit, she's kidnapped. But not really, because the kidnappers pretty much let Kelsea wander free.

Oh, whew. She's free. Back to traveling! Whooo! OH YAY, WE'RE AT THE CASTLE. Kelsea makes some fucking stupid decisions and pretty much dooms her country within hours of reaching her new castle.

Meanwhile, Javel, the guard, is telling his story, his sad story of how his wife was lost to him.

Kelsea's throned queen! YAY! She spends a lot of time talking to her advisors. She almost gets killed (several times).

Meanwhile, the priest, Father Tyler, is really, really upset at how his life gets flipped turned upside down.

The Red Queen of Montmesne is fucking more slaves. Where is that dratted Kelsea.

Kelsea thinks she is very plain. She should go on a diet. But no, she shouldn't, because she's plain anyway, and who cares about appearances, anyway. Man, Kelsea wishes she were pretty. As pretty as her maidservant, the one whose beauty is so valued that she got enslaved and raped for it.

Meanwhile, Javel is still doing shit. Talking to people. Getting roped into some random-ass plans.

Father Tyler is still moping around.

The Red Queen's pissed off. That fucking Kelsea. Why does she keep eluding my grasp. And by grasp, the Red Queen means her minion's grasps, since the Red Queen is just too important to do anything about hunting Kelsea herself. Magic, pfft. Ugh, whatever. Let's get ourselves a 7-year old little boy and BLEEP him in the BLEEP BLEEP. That is so not legal.

Javel's still talking somehow.

Kelsea's still talking to people. It sure would be nice if she were pretty. But really, Kelsea doesn't have time to think about that right now. There are more important things at hand. Like insulting a woman in front of the Royal Court.

Fuck, they're traveling AGAIN?!

The end.

765. Mother. Fucking. Pages.

The Setting: IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY MOTHERFUCKING SENSE. I started this book thinking it was a medieval fantasy. It wasn't. It has an old-world feel. It's not. Women are in long dresses. We are riding horses. We're using hawks to hunt. There are kings and queens and magic and castles. What you you mean it's not in the past? What do you mean it's not a fantasy.


I seriously do not fucking understand this setting. First off, it is fucking lazy, because the retelling of the history is told by mouth, AS A STORY.
“Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called the Tearling. It was founded by a man named William Tear, a utopian who dreamed of a land of plenty for all. But ironically, the Tearling was a kingdom of scarce resources, for the British and Americans had not been fortunate in their choice of landing place."
British. American. This is the motherfucking future, people. How the fuck did we get here? And more importantly. WHERE ARE WE?

Why are all technologies lost? We supposedly got to this place in an event called The Crossing. Where is this place? Are we even on Earth? Why are there so few survivors? This land is called New Europe. We have a town called New London. Did it actually pop up out of the ocean? Why was the old world destroyed? Why did we have to seek refuge in New Europe? Are we so fucking inconsistent that in all the hundreds of fucking years in which we've settled here that we have lost all the motherfucking techologies of today's time in the future. So much that we don't even have the technology for motherfucking PRINTING PRESSES? We have geneticists. But we don't have the technology to buy books.

And why are books rare? Because we motherfucking burned them for fuel when we got here. Despite the motherfucking forests of oaks that surrounds this new land, they fucking burned BOOKS for fuel.
That was what had happened to most of the books that originally came over in the British-American Crossing: the desperate had burned them for fuel or warmth.
There are no doctors. There are, like, 2 doctors in the whole of fucking New London. New civilizations have come up with technology, they've been so much more innovative than this. The Medieval Ages were more advanced than the Tearling, because they don't know how to fucking make gunpowder or cannons.

Seriously. You expect us to retain absolutely fucking NOTHING of the knowledge that we have gained for all these years? Did you choose the motherfucking dumbest pieces of shits to carry over to the New World? Why didn't you choose important people, like scientists, botanists, doctors, instead of a bunch of fucking feeblewitted morons who don't know how to carry over fucking technology from the old world when you crossed over to the new. Who fucking BURN BOOKS FOR FUEL DESPITE BEING SURROUNDED BY TREES.

Fucking dystopian fail.

The Writing: Not since Charles Dickens have I read such verbosity. There is a reason why this book is so long. It is packed to the brim with the most long-winded, irrelevant description of every fucking thing in the world.

Introspection? Sure. This book has it aplenty. Let's describe every single fucking thought that Kelsea has ever fucking had in her head. Kelsea thinks. A lot. Some relevant things. Mostly very, very, very idiotic things that make no fucking different whether they were omitted or not.
Red hair was a recessive gene, and in the three centuries since the Crossing, it had bred slowly and steadily out of the population. Carlin had told Kelsea that some women, and even some men, liked to dye their hair red, since the rare commodity was always valuable. But after about an hour of sneaking looks at the guard, Kelsea became certain that she was looking at a true head of red hair. No dye was that good.
Her dreams? Kelsea thinks about them. Her opinions about the men? Sure, let's have it. Kelsea's insecurity? Sure, let's have several fucking paragraphs on it. Man, her food just tastes fucking terrible tonight. Let's describe her thoughts on the venison in excruciating detail.
Dinner was venison, stringy and only barely edible after roasting over the fire. The deer must have been very old. Kelsea had seen only a few birds and squirrels on their ride through the Reddick, though the greenery was very lush; there could be no lack of water. Kelsea wanted to ask the men about the lack of animals, but she worried that it would be taken as a complaint about the meal.
Man, it's a motherfucking long journey. After all, the traveling alone takes about 30% of the book. LET'S JUST DESCRIBE EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DETAIL ON IT. The houses are built with bricks. LET'S DESCRIBE THE FUCKING BRICKS IN DETAIL.
To the east, Kelsea spotted what must be the house of a noble: a high tower made of red brick. Real brick! Tearling brick was a notoriously poor building material compared to Mortmesne’s, which was made with better mortar and commanded at least a pound per kilo. Carlin had an oven made of real bricks, built for her by Barty, and Kelsea had wondered more than once whether Barty had bought the bricks off the black market from Mortmesne.
DETAILS! DETAILS! DETAILS! We are fucking drowning in details. The clothes of the noblemen! Let's decribe them! One of the ladies wear a hat in the shape of a fish! Let's mention that. And while we're at it, let's make fun of her for it! WILL IT EVER STOP?!

The Guards: Not since Monty Python and the Holy Grail have there ever been such irreverent, incompetent fucking royal guards. They are the most fucking pathetic examples of soldiers I have ever fucking encountered. This is Kelsea. She is one of the last of her royal line. Her life is priceless. She is supposed to be guarded by 9 men. 9 men who are motherfucking blundering assholes because they cannot do anything right.

While they are traveling, the men get drunk and sing bawdy songs instead of securing her guard. They are completely fucking shocked that later on in the journey, they are captured.

While they are traveling, they are caught AGAIN off their guard. Kelsea is forced to flee for her life.

At the castle, while they are supposed to be watching her back. Kelsea gets stabbed---in the back.
...a bolt of pain arrowed all the way down to her toes.
Stabbed, she thought, dazed. Mace didn’t cover my back after all.
Later on, in the bath, Kelsea gets cornered by an assassin! She's almost fucking killed again.


Guards?! Guards?! They are supposed to be subservient. They are supposed to be respectful. They are supposed to be odebient. They are not supposed to talk back to her. Oh, sure, they SAY they're not going to talk back to her.
He stared at her without expression. “I say nothing, Lady. That’s why I’m a Queen’s Guard.”
But words mean fucking nothing. Because whatever Mace (real name Lazarus, head of Kelsea's guard) is, it's not fucking subservient. He talks down to her, as if she were an incompetent little girl (well, she is, but she is still the fucking queen). He talks back to her. He disagrees with her. When she's gravely injured, Mace nudges her by poking at her with his foot. Is this the behavior of a guard towards his queen? I don't think so.
Mace’s boot landed in the small of her back, and Kelsea bit her tongue against a scream.
Kelsea: Incompetent nitwit. A heroine who is so astoundingly stupid and unprepared by her fucking mentors that she is unworthy of governing anything but a toy kingdom made of Legos.

I hope Kelsea steps on the pieces. I hope they hurt badly. I hope our aspiring queen is in pain for the torment and the headache and the hangover I experienced while reading this book about one of the most insipid heroine to ever litter the precious pages of a book.

She constantly complains about how plain she is.
But her face was as round and ruddy as a tomato, and—there was no other word for it—plain.
She has the most fucking idiotic thoughts about everything and everything. No subject is too minor for her notice. The rug? Oh, it's probably made of deer hide. Spare me.

She is not a fucking queen. Her guardians are incompetent, because she has been so completely fucking sheltered from the world that she doesn't understand anything, but she still knows things. Somehow. She has never seen alcohol, yet she knows what alcohol smells like. She knows what alcoholism looks like when she sees it in a man. And she revels in being drunk, cause it's just like in a book, y'all!
Kelsea woke with an aching head and a parched mouth, but it wasn’t until breakfast that she realized it was her first hangover. Despite the discomfort, she was charmed to experience something that she’d only read about in a book. An upset stomach was a small price to pay for fiction made real.
She cares SO MUCH for the fate of her people. Kelsea is so incredibly hurt that her people are being sent as slaves to Mortmesne---250 a month---that she is willing to renege on the treaty between their countries. Within hours of her arrival to the capital, Kelsea makes a heroic gesture that completely endangers the peace of two nations. She stops the shipment of slaves. She was warned. She didn't listen. She risks the lives of the entire nation for the sake of a few.
“Lady, the Mort Treaty is specific. There is no appeals process, no outside arbiter. If a single shipment fails to arrive in Demesne on time, the Mort Queen has the right to invade this country and wreak terror. I lived through the last Mort invasion, Lady, and I assure you, Mhurn wasn’t exaggerating the carnage. Before you take action, consider the consequences.”
Despite being plain, Kelsea is terribly judgmental of looks. She criticizes an old, ugly woman for daring to look beautiful. She is envious of another woman's beauty, despite the fact that that woman's beauty got her raped.

Kelsea complains a lot about the extravagances at court. The pointless waste of money. So much that she is willing to waste her valuable men's time and her own resources into traveling 2 weeks to get her books from her old home. And right away. It must be done right away.

The Fetch: A criminal. The projected love interest. A Robin Hood? Not quite. You see, Robin Hood steals from the rich and actually DISTRIBUTES it to the poor. The Fetch? Nah.
“Well, he’s a hero to the common people, Lady. Every piece of rich man’s fortune lost endears him to the poor.”
“Does he distribute the money to the poor?”
“No, Lady.”
So, um. Exactly HOW is he the hero of the common people?

Naturally, she should turn him in. Kelsea is the queen, she should set an example to her people. Put criminals where they belong.

Or not.
Kelsea took a deep breath. “I wouldn’t betray him for any number of pounds.”
“Ah, Christ.”
Emma, Emma Watson. I heard that you have signed up for this project. I adore you. You are brilliant. You are gorgeous. You are a goddess, and you have won my heart ever since you stepped onto the screens of Harry Potter, with your disapproving frown and your frizzy hair, far more beautiful than Hermione Watson could ever be. But I adored you then, I love you now, and I hope for your sake that the movie adaptation exceeds every aspect of the book, because the book itself has almost no substance to offer.

I can't even hate this book because it tries so hard. It is the equivalent of having your 6-year old niece draw a picture of you. Sure, you look like a motherfucking moose with butterfly wings for some fucking reason, but hey, it's an A for effort, right?

Quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley proof subject to change in the final edition.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,638 reviews34k followers
August 9, 2016
4.5 stars Well, clearly I'm going to be kicked out of the cool kids' club, because I fucking loved this book. A good reminder to always try things out for yourself to see what you think.

The pacing and more introspective heroine will likely be issues for some readers (and I fully admit that I think this would have worked better as pure historical fantasy, rather than middle-ages-in-this-weird-future-time period), but I can tell you that these were not problems for me at all, being that I devoured all 400+ pages in 24 hours and am dyyyying for the next book.

Review to come.
Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.6k followers
October 23, 2015
so. good. just wow, i have no words to describe how awesome this book was.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,065 reviews69.5k followers
August 13, 2017
$1.99 today on Amazon!

Definitely one of the Top 10 of my 2014 favorites!
Word of warning, though...
I'm seeing tons of 1 star reviews. Evidently, this is one of those Love it or Hate It books. I've pawed over the other reviews, and I'm honestly not connecting with any of the other reviewers' problems with this one.
I didn't think the heroine had low self-esteem.
I didn't think parts of it were far-fetched or full of plot holes.
I didn't think it resembled other books (maybe because I haven't read them?).
But...and this is kind of a huge thing, I guess...
I also didn't read the blurb.
So, I had no idea this was supposed to be the next Hunger Games/ Game of Thrones hybrid.
And it probably wouldn't have mattered even if I had.
Hunger Games is nowhere near a favorite of mine, and neither is Game of Thrones.
They're both good books, but neither one blew me out of the water.
To each his own and all that stuff.
I said all that to say this:
I loved it, but that certainly doesn't mean you will.

What surprised me the most about this one was that the heroine was just a truly good person. She saw something happening that was wrong, and instead of doing that thing where they have to work behind the scenes to fix it, she just put her foot down and put a stop to it.
Sure, we're gonna start a war with an unbelievably powerful country that is probably going to wipe us off the map...but I'm not going to send kids in cages to be used as sex slaves to avoid the war.
That just doesn't happen in most of the books I've read.
Most of the time, the hero/heroine hates what's going on, and eventually puts a stop to it. But not immediately. Like, the first second they get a whiff of power. Someone talks them out of doing something rash without considering the consequences, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Also, the heroine isn't attractive, thin, or magically endowed with assassin skills.
And, yes, several times she mentions that she wishes she were beautiful like some of the women around her.
I'm seeing lots of complaints about how she should have been super-duper-happy with not being a bombshell.
I thought it added a touch of realism. When I was younger, I worried about my looks, and I compared myself to other women. Most of the time, I thought I was somehow lacking.
Did that make me a bad person?
Should I be ashamed to admit that?
Whatever. Everyone deals with that emotion. Why can't an otherwise strong female character be allowed to have those thoughts?
I would have a problem with it if she let it interfere with doing the right thing.
She didn't, so I didn't either.

Personally, I didn't want to put this book down. I got sucked into it, and couldn't let it go.
I loved the magical elements to it. The stones played a large role in the book, and I'm interested to find out what exactly is the backstory on those things.
And tons of folks are going to disagree with this, but I loved that this had some unexplained post-apocalyptic thing that happened in the past. The fact that this supposedly takes place in a medievalish setting, but sometime in the future, was one of the highlights for me. I wanna know more about what happened during this Crossing!
Still, the best part of the book was the lack of romance.
None. Zip, zilch, zero, nada.
If it's coming, it's certainly going to be a slow-burn, and I'm more than ok with that.

Last (but very important) thing?
I'm not sure why the hell this is getting labeled YA here on Goodreads.
It's not.
There are a lot of references to child rape, rape in general, a scene where a child is basically eaten alive by a monster, sex in every form (not fade to black), the f-bomb (among other things) gets dropped, a nipple get sliced, a woman gets burned alive, etc..
It's not something I'd feel comfortable handing to a younger teenager.

I may be absolutely alone in loving this, but I thought it was fantastic!
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews176k followers
April 21, 2015
For the most part I enjoyed this story. I think it was a solid start to this series, but I do feel like it was missing something. I'm interested to see where this trilogy goes!
Profile Image for Tomoe Hotaru.
252 reviews852 followers
February 10, 2017
28 Feb '14
blog | goodreads
Disclaimer: This is a review of an uncorrected Advanced Reader Copy.

Long rant ahead, folks. Don't say I didn't warn you.

So some time in the future of earth, when the world has gotten so messed up and irredeemable, a man named William Tear gathered up his people along with doctors, scientists, and other citizens of some value, and took them on a huge boat.

With the intention of building a new democratic civilization founded on world order and... socialism(?) William Tear and his people undertook the Great Crossing, where they crossed from......... America(?) and settled in the new, unknown land of......... England(?)[*]

[*] like for reals. Did the future magically grow new, unexplored continents? I mean, where did they sail off to? What happened to the continents they sailed away from? Did they just swim into a void and pop up in a completely different universe? like what is happening here guys, like help me out.

The people, having learnt nothing from the past, decided that a monarchy is absolutely the best way to achieve William Tear's socialist dreams, but unfortunately,
... it ended in bloody disaster with the assassination of Jonathan Tear

upon which the Raleigh line took over the throne, and this envisioned utopia eventually devolved into something that took everyone but the reader by surprise.

Then something about a war, a spineless queen, a formidable(?) enemy, and enter our special Kelsea.

Nothing of much importance happened. This book served more as an introduction to Kelsea and her ascension to the throne, and how amazing she is at it.
I won't rehash the rest of the book, because I put myself through the pain of reading it once, and I won't do it again. My experience reading this book was largely inexplicable ... something kept grating on my nerves until I sat down and actually pinpointed what it was that bothered me about the whole thing.

Now that I've figured it out, it's going to take rather long, so I'll point out the main issues I had with this book:

1) Convenient and Arbitrary Plot Devices
2) Trivialization of IMPORTANT STUFF
3) Appeal to Popular Sentiment
4) Weak and Clichéd Characterization


Aspects of the world were inconsistent at times. People had talents or gifts only when they were convenient to the plot:

Andalie could only foresee events to the extent that it does not undermine the suspense in the narrative.

Lazarus could sense people's intentions and loyalty, and yet this talent disappears when it comes to the traitor amongst his men, or direct attacks upon Her Majesty's self.

How convenient that TWO of Kelsea's most loyal followers happen to even have such useful talents to begin with!

The Queen of the Tearling's plot conveniences are not limited to its characters, however. The whole history of the realm was built upon convenience; ever since the Great Crossing, where each person was allowed to bring one book, and yet no one thought of bringing something remotely science-y.
Instead, they brought The Hobbit and JK Rowling and Lord of the Rings.

So of course, how convenient that the doctors and scientists practically all died during some sort of terrible act of nature during the Crossing. How convenient that all former knowledge is gone, leaving us with a future filled with swords and horses and legit birth control and cigarettes.

Even what technologies are "forgotten" and what has been magically "resurrected" were completely arbitrary and at the author's whim. Give me a God. Damn. break.


Now, I'll let you know that I have much patience for boring, tedious, Bilbo-Baggins-There-and-Back-Again sort of journeys. In fact, I love it when it is done right; when it sucks you in to this magical realm full of elves and dwarves, even though you never spend the journey meeting a single one. When it gives you an understanding of the world, its history, its people and many cultures...

The Queen of the Tearling? Not so much. I kept waiting and waiting for a shed of light to reveal to me what on God's gracious earth happened to ... well, Earth ... and how it got to where they were now, but it never came.

The novel completely brushed aside the "minor details" as if it didn't matter. Well guess what, you can't just make allusions to the London Bridge, and New Europe, and not tell us what happened to Old Europe.
It made the whole worldbuilding rather irrelevant, really. What's the point of fashioning your novel after our very own earth, when the fate and history of our own world has fuck all to do with your story? Why not just come up with a completely new universe, slap dash your realms and characters and history into it, and be done with it all?
I suspect more will be revealed in the second book (it is a trilogy, after all), but by that time, frustrations are pretty damn high. One of the purposes of a first book is to build the foundations of your world. Well, we barely have a single pillar to hold The Tearling up.

Other smaller plot details were also largely ignored and "explained away" with a single sentence. The author would much prefer using up word count on internal musings and philosophical reflections, rather than spending it on actual worldbuilding and characterization.
It would take far too much time for us to come to trust Andalie through actual good character building skills, so instead the author takes the easy way out and uses Lazarus's "people-sensing" skills to provide yet another plot-device and add Andalie into Kelsea's most trusted followers without even a second thought.


Oh Lord how this one frustrated me.

I'm not talking about the logical fallacy, I'm talking about how this book tried so hard to appeal to our emotions and contemporary attitudes. Forget name-dropping Rowling or Tolkien's works of arts ... those are minor details that I can roll my eyes at and move on.

Instead, let's focus more on Kelsea[*].

[*]Sidenote. You're gonna have Emma Watson play plain-almost-ugly Kelsea?? Yeah okay.

Kelsea is this plain (and not in the "is-actually-beautiful-but-she-doesn't-know-it" kind of way) 19 year-old girl, who fights for her people, has compassion for the poor, and is concerned for the well-being and empowerment of women.

So believe me how guilty I feel for not liking her one bit. I must be some kind of devilspawn.

But every once in a while, Kelsea comes up with these gems that make me think-- hang on a sec, no I don't feel bad about hating her:

How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive? (...) she saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.

There are just so many things wrong with that one, singular sentence that once I read it, I stopped in my tracks and thought, Wait. This is a joke, right. The author deliberately made such an abhorrently judgmental, hypocritical (I'll get to that) character. Like, on purpose.

But no. Kelsea -- and the way she is written -- just takes itself so seriously that there could be no possible way we are supposed to dislike her for one bit.
Every single entity on the planet likes her, except for the agents of evil, whom we are automatically supposed to disprove of. Every single person values her courage, selflessness, and genuinely treats her like everything she does is so amazing, that there is no possible way us readers are supposed to condemn her for any trivial thing.

And then it all hit me, and I realized exactly what is wrong with Kelsea.

We are supposed to like her, not because she is an incredibly written character, who goes through hardships we can relate to, who has to make hard choices and sacrifices.

We are supposed to like her, simply for being the only human being with a shred of decency on the planet. It isn't that she's so spectacularly kind-hearted and intelligent and cunning, it's just that everyone around her is so infinitely unlikeable, it makes her look good.

We are supposed to be as "wow"ed and amazed as the villagers and Guards of Tear that this noble, caring girl suddenly pops out to lead them; but you know what, I don't buy it. Your previous leaders and figures of authority have really sucked, and I'm sorry. But don't try to pass off Kelsea as an incredible character, because technique- and narrative-wise, she isn't.

The book tries to appeal to its readers, willing us to like Kelsea because of her humanitarian qualities. Unfortunately, you don't get a cookie for upholding basic human fucking rights. Or shall I also thank the million men out there for not raping me?

So I'm not falling for your cheap ploy, Johansen.


What you can expect in practically any fantasy novel nowadays:

- ALL nobles are shitheads
- The Church is corrupt EVIL incarnate[*]
- The Kingdom is secretly poor
- There is an evil, magical enemy somewhere out there who for some reason hasn't killed you yet although you pose a great threat
- You probably don't know who your mother / father is

[*]Speaking of the church, I realize it is all the rage nowadays to jab at religions and people who believe in "a fictional character watching from the sky", and the more and louder you jab, the more points you get.
The Queen of the Tearling seems to be of the same mind, and as demonizing the Church is so in-fashion nowadays, that is exactly what Johansen did.

Don't get me wrong -- reading about atheist characters, reading about their thought processes and often musings against religion is fine by me. But there is a point where you say enough!

"(...) If you can tolerate my arguments, you're free to minister to or convert any other occupant of this Keep, not excepting the pigs and chickens."

"You make sport of my religion, Lady," (...)

"I make sport of all things inconsistent, Father."


Andalie pursed her lips (...), "I'm not a religious woman, Lady. I'm sorry if it pains you, but I believe in no god, and even less do I believe in any church."


"How do you expect anyone to believe in your God in these times?"

"I believe in my God, Majesty."

"Then you're a fool."


I get it. You don't believe in God, and you think everyone who does is delusional. You don't need to shove it in my face every three seconds (hint: you can also proselytize atheism).

Just as I get annoyed by extreme moralization and religious undertones imbued in my novels, I also get annoyed by narratives and plot lines that overly proselytize against it.

The fact is, in this novel, all our cartoon "good guys" did not believe in religion or church, and practically all who did were intolerant or weak or otherwise irrelevant fools.

But getting back to characterization, while I was hoping for this dread-inspiring, almighty evil Red Queen[*], it was both laughable and disappointing to discover that her greatest, unique trait is being a sexaholic who constantly has sex with her sexy sex slaves.

That, right there, is pure evil, folks.

[*] Sidenote: Two things come up whenever I hear the term "Red Queen":

so that's probably not the imagery Johansen was going for...

However nothing could have sucked more than how Kelsea turned out.

She was so afraid of turning into her mother that she didn't realize there were far greater crimes than being vain.

Yeah, her mother liked pretty dresses. So fucking what. I like pretty dresses. I would like to sleep in a comfortable bed. That alone does not make you a bad person and neglectful ruler.

Kelsea was so terrified of becoming shallow, that she fails to realize that she already is shallow -- and I see now that there is something far worse than being shallow: being shallow and thinking you were profound.

She is so judgmental of everyone it baffles me. She is spiteful of all her nobles, she doesn't understand that those are the people backing your Kingdom up, fool!

Also, do you know why Eddard Stark died?

Because he was too honorable and selfless. To be a ruler, you must make sacrifices. You must make hard and abhorrent decisions every now and then, because you must think about the greater good. This does not mean letting your people get wheeled out to the enemy's territories and sold as slaves, but it does mean that, as a ruler, you do not have the luxury to spoil your conscience all the time.

Kelsea does exactly that, and what frustrates me to no end is that she gets away with it!

In the real Game of Thrones, you would've died a long time ago, Kel.

So PR people, please stop trying to pass this off as GoT. Nobody's buying it.

Oh, and also

my review of The Invasion of the Tearling.
my review of The Fate of the Tearling.

you can also read more reviews at my blog.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
554 reviews60.6k followers
April 4, 2022
I bought this book 5 years ago and promptly forgot to read it.

I got sucked into the Booktube hype and was genuinely excited for it but some books fall into the cracks and you never get around to reading them. Well, I finally tried it and... it was great!

Lots of political intrigue, no romance (a love interest but it's not a big part of the story), intriguing world building and magic system... I can't wait to continue this series!
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
May 23, 2016
“You win your people or you lose your throne.”

Fantasy.Adventure.Politics.Plots.War.Magic.Outlaws.Corrupted priests.Betrayal.And a young,plain girl in between.You've gotta love The Queen of the Tearling!

“The shipment nears,the cages fill,
A voice rings out across the Tear,
The cages burn,the Keep Lawn still,
The Tearling weeps,the Queen is here.”

Kelsea was raised by the Glynns,hiden away from her ambitious uncle and the Red Queen in a desperate effort to keep her alive so that she would claim her throne.Her kingdom was slowly dying,her people were famished,and she didn't even know who her father was and what kind of a queen was her mother.When the time came to rise,she couldn't seperate her friends from her enemies,there were assassins at her steps and no one she could fully rely on but herself and some magical jewels.Thus the reign of the Marked Queen began.
“We don't always choose, Majesty. We simply make the best choices we can once the deed is done.”

Choices.Choices.Choices.Choose your route,your guards,your servants,your allies.Choose the person you want to be.Erika Johansen wrote an extraordinary book about a suffering nation whose only hope was a girl who never left the house she grew up,who was constantly hunted.Her writing is excellent,the narration was in third person yet it gave the reader a better perspective of the heroine,the secondary characters and the villains.I am a huge fan of romance but the lack of it in this book didn't bother me.I do hope though that in the next book there will be more interactions with the mysterious outlaw Fetch (there was a really sexy vibe about him and I think he is my new crush!).Kelsea is a strong and stubborn heroine,willing to sacrifice herself for her people and to right the wrongs her mother committed.There are many questions about the world-building and the Crossing but I am positive they will be answered in the next instalment I'm dying to read it!The story is complex,intriguing and you dive deeply into the world of the Tearling before you even realize it!Great job,Ms.Johansen!

Profile Image for Always Pouting.
575 reviews760 followers
June 16, 2017
This was a long one and I spent all day today reading it and wow I'm so upset that it's over and if I didn't have such a ridiculous amount of books already I would buy the sequel and read it now. I've seen a lot of people reading the third one so I'm not sure how many people haven't read this one or aren't familiar with it, but the book is about Kelsea who was hidden away as a child for her own safety and is now being taken back to the kingdom to reclaim her thrown. The writing unfolded slowly and the build was excellent. I appreciate the whole premise of history repeats itself and it's nice to have a female protagonist who's not attractive but is smart and capable. I even started to feel slightly sorry for the Red Queen at the end there. The book left me with so many questions, especially about the whole use of magic and of course about Fetch and Kelsea's father. I would've rated it four stars but even though the ending was adequate it felt kind of less impactful then I was expecting. I was reading the book waiting for the inevitable to happen that everyone keeps freaking out about but then it doesn't happen except we're just given some mysterious bullshit which was interesting and I really want to know how it's going to unfold but still made the ending feel off I guess so four stars not five but it's up there. One of the better fantasy books I've read.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,754 followers
September 8, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

First and foremost, you need to know that The Queen of the Tearling is NOT a YA Fantasy. As far as I can tell, HarperCollins is not marketing the book that way, but when I read this, "Young Adult" was listed as the second shelf on the Goodreads' genre list (which of course means that Goodreads users are labeling it that way), but it absolutely isn't--Kelsea, the MC, is 19 y.o. and an adult, there is language that at times borders the obscene, and there are circumstances and (hideous) war stories that have no place in YA literature.

I'm kind of at a loss with what to do with this book.

On the one hand . . . I really (REALLY) liked it. On the other hand . . . there are problems that absolutely cannot be ignored.

I think it's time for another list.

What I liked about The Queen of the Tearling:

1. It held my attention despite the numerous problems. It more than held my attention; I couldn't put it down. I read ALL OF IT in less than 12 hours (and this was not a short book). Maybe in less than 10 hours. Should've timed it . . .

2. Kelsea is not perfect. She's a typical 19 y.o. girl with all of the inherit insecurities and inexperience. She's not exceptionally beautiful or talented, she's just a girl who loves history and books who happenes to be born royal.

3. Lots of important social and political messages.

4. New and mind-blowing world-building premise:

So check this out---something (we don't know what) happened (we don't know when) and the Americans and the British left (for parts unknown) on ships to rebuild civilization. And life has reverted back to the Medieval period. But with MAGIC, so it's like a real world fantasy. Pretty cool, I think.

What I didn't like about The Queen of the Tearling:

1. We don't know what, we don't know when, we don't know where.

2. And this is the real problem . . . There are so many similarities between this book and other books I've read that I'm not entirely convinced that the new and mind-blowing world-building premise is really new and mind-blowing, and not just from some other book I have yet to read.

Sound harsh?

Well, there are unignorable similarities between this book and no less than THREE other book series/movies that I have read/seen, and a strong argument can be put forth for a . . . fourth. (<------can things like that happen in any other language besides English?)

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan---a "Tearling" is a person from Tear, which is also the name of one of the world powers in WoT, Almont Plain is a mere one letter away from being the Almoth Plain, which lies between the WoT's Arad Doman and Tarabon, and Kelsea is a young and somewhat sheltered royal with a fascination, but not much understanding, for the curses that men much more readily use (in her world), very much like a certain royal in the WoT (Elayne Trakand, the Daughter-Heir of Andor).

The Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson---if I were to try to enumerate everything that The Queen of the Tearling has in common with this trilogy, there would be room for nothing else. Kelsea is in possession of interlocking blue stones that give her prophetic dreams, guide her both physically and mentally, and instill her with magical power of some kind. There is a huge emphasis on religion (this time as a manipulative political machine). The adult charged with protecting Kelsea underestimates and undermines her, and is thus nearly sent away from her (male instead of female). Kelsea is overweight and unattractive, rather than the typical and beautiful princess-type, etc. Like I said, I could go for days.

V for Vendetta---The IMDB synopsis for this movie is, "In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman." The Fetch is a shadowy (harlequin mask-wearing) freedom fighter who plots to overthrow TWO governments with the help of a young QUEEN whom he manipulatively tests to ascertain her true feelings/intentions. Just. Like. V.

So no matter how entertained I was by this book---and how could I not be? It's seemingly based on two of my favorite book series and one of my favorite movies---I can't in good conscience rate it highly.

But will I continue with the series? I honestly don't know. There was an interesting development in the last 10(ish)% of the book that I'm curious to see where the author is going with, and I have this morbid curiosity (almost schadenfreude) to see if the pattern continues . . . but does the curiosity outweigh the incredulity at these blatant similarities? I guess we'll see . . .
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
May 24, 2016
Don’t you just hate book labels?

Many other reviews seem to centre on the point that this is labelled as a cross between The Hunger Games and A Game of Thrones. I’m just absolutely sick of hearing such things. Anybody who has read more than ten pages of either will realise the statement is completely untrue. It’s quite an annoying comparison. Certainly, you could say it’s like The Hunger Games insomuch that it has a female character as the protagonist. Such a parallel isn’t it? And I suppose you could say it’s like A Game of Thrones because people squabble over a throne. Again, it’s such a unique parallel that is rarely ever seen in fantasy…….

These sorts of labels seem to only be getting worse. Whenever I look in a bookshop and go to the fantasy section I’ll see a sign saying something like “because you like A Game of Thrones.” And then there will be a load of books next to it that are nothing like the series, clearly placed there by some random moron who saw a sword on the cover. I’ve even seen the same suggestions on historical fiction. On the back of one of Bernard Cornwell’s books here in the UK it says “like A Game of Thrones but real”. How annoying. I love A Song of Ice and Fire as much as the next fantasy geek, probably more so, but trying to relate every book to it is just fucking frustrating. It’s becoming such an overused comparison.

So many reviews seem to have let that affect their rating of this book; it appears to me that this initial feeling has distorted their opinions of the novel. I believe this to be very unfair: this label has affected people’s feelings toward something that should be read without considering what the misleading PR says about it. It’s a common case of a judging a book by its cover. So a quick word of advice, completely ignore the comparisons because you may not enjoy the book. Your initial expectations will fall flat. I’ll be honest this is a rather average book, so if you expect a cultural phenomenon you’ll be drastically disappointed rather than marginally so.

I’ll endeavour to review this book for what it is: an original fantasy novel that has no major comparisons, whatsoever, with the afore mentioned books. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good.

Kelsea is the heir to the kingdom of Tearling, a kingdom in which her corrupt Uncle has claimed the regency. In this coming of age story she must, with the help of her mother’s former guard, take her thrown. The men serving her are not bound to her out of blind faith to her blood, but to her supposed worthiness as a ruler. Mace, the captain of her guard is the embodiment of this. He took his time to know her before granting her his trust. His loyalty wasn’t cheap. Why waste your life following a moron?

As the story progresses her power grows as a ruler; her grasp on her mysterious magical power strengthens along with her confidence. She undergoes a great deal of character development and still has room for much more in later books. Accompanying this is an interesting collection of side characters, which each have their own issues to deal with; there are themes of redemption, treachery and tyrannical ruling that haunts their footsteps. The plot is told in an energetic manner, but it is rather trite. I mean, we’ve all read this kind of thing before a dozen times already. The romance was rather obvious as was the direction this will take in the future. So there are a few issues.

The author has made the same mistake that Mark Lawrence did with his broken empire trilogy. She’s made a medieval type fantasy universe, but only after the destruction of what I can only presume is modern day. I hate this idea. We’re reading fantasy, but then we have a reference to the American slave trade or another one to European technological advances and even genetics. It ruins the feel of the setting. It made this feel like a book that didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. If you want to write about that, do a sci-fi novel. I like my fantasy books to be fantasy books. I hate hybrids. And because of this I will not be reading any further. It turned into one big mess in which those original labels just looked laughable. I mean they made no sense. But, that’s beside the point. This was rather average anyway. It’s not terrible, but it just hasn’t got a lot going for it. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,312 followers
February 11, 2017
After this reread, I definitely have to bump up my rating to a full 5 stars. Kelsea is one of my all-time favorite characters, and I have spent so long over the last few days gushing about how much I love every part of this book. The character development: amazing. The world: original and fantastic. The political elements: EVERYTHING I WANT IN POLITICAL FANTASY.

I could honestly gush for hours about this book. I can't wait to finish the series.

Absolutely fantastic, I desperately want the second book.
Profile Image for Nasom.
195 reviews141 followers
October 8, 2018
I decided to read this on a whim even though I had no idea what it was about, and I really loved it!!!!

The mark of a true hero is that the most heroic of his deeds is done in secret. We never hear of it. And yet somehow, my friends, we know

What I liked

- Although this isn’t high fantasy, it read like a high fantasy book, and I think that is why some people found it boring. It was mostly planning and plotting but I never found it boring for some reason. There were also some action parts though which I loved. If you don’t like high fantasy books then you might not enjoy this

- I loved the side characters especially the charming Fetch. I wish he was in this more

- This book has multiple POVs and I enjoyed each one which is a rare occurrence. I loved how every POV was relevant and interesting and not used in a filler way.

- I found the plot and world unique: they live in the future that looks like the past. When you think of the future, you think of technological advancement and stuff, and not back to horses, castles and the old world, so that was interesting. Although I found the history kinda confusing and I don’t think I understand what really happened (was it even explained? I’m not sure lol)

Some notes
- I don’t think this is a YA book. In fact, the MC is the only teenager in this book and the majority of the characters are over 30. Plus there is a lot of subject matters such as rape, paedophilia, child killings and strong languages that seemed more adult than YA.

- This book has LONG chapters. They were only 14 chapters and the book is almost 450 pages long

- There isn’t romance in this. The MC had a crush on someone but that was basically it but I still enjoyed the book regardless of this fact (I make mention of this because I kinda don’t like reading books with no romance)

- I try to avoid mainstream books with Christianity in them because they are usually portrayed in a bad light and in this, the ‘church’ is mostly portrayed in a bad/hypocritical way. Fortunately, there is an important side character that is a priest and also a good person.

Overall, it was an interesting book and I found myself hooked from the beginning to the end. Although I am still indecisive about whether I like the MC or not. At this point, I’m mostly neutral.
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews625 followers
December 26, 2015
After 6 months, I've finally found a novel worthy of 5 stars. It took me that long to finally get out of the dreaded reading slump. It should've been obvious though, because one of the options to get out of the slump is to go back to your roots. My roots being Fantasy. I shouldn't have looked elsewhere.

There is a bit of a story when it comes to why I bought and eventually read this novel. Let me try to keep things short though so that I can jump in to the review.

I was having a normal day, browsing through Goodreads, when I first stumbled upon this novel. A friend of mine wrote a review of it, giving it a 1-star rating. Every time one of my friends gives a 1-star rating, I instantly read the review and view the summary of the novel. It's always intriguing as to why a person hated a novel so much. Some of my friends were enraged because people were comparing this to Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games. I myself hate those novel comparisons, unless they're spot-on in terms of similarities. I considered their reviews, I stayed away from this, but every time I visited my local bookstore the novel was always on the featured shelf. It was tempting, so I read the description on the back. I liked what I read, but the negative reviews creeped back in my mind, and I decided to put the book back on the shelf. This went on for months, but eventually I gave in. I bought the book, and it was the best decision I've ever made.

Kelsea Raleigh has been hiding her whole life, but on her nineteenth birthday, it was finally her time to claim her rightful place as The Queen of the Tearling. Her journey will not be easy, as there are aspiring people who wants nothing but to see her dead. Her uncle and The Red Queen wants her dead the most. She will need to learn to become a queen, and it's as complicated as it sounds. Being a queen is not merely ruling the people who is in her command, but rather it's about making the right decisions, sacrifice, combat, politics, tactics, having to deal with an absurd amount of betrayals, to name a few.

I'm always up for an epic adventure, and the Fantasy genre is most of the time fulfilling of that yearning. Aside from a good plot, the characters in a fantasy novel must not only be interesting, but also fully-developed in the end. I can consider Kelsea as a character who fully-developed in the end of this first novel. She is a coward in the beginning of the novel, but as the novel goes on, she learns what it truly means to become a queen, or rather, a True Queen. I like reading about characters who are weak in the beginning, but ends up becoming powerful in the end, but written proficiently. What I mean is, don't force your character to develop just for the sake of presenting a "powerful" character in the end, because it will always turn out bad. The author managed to create a genuine powerful character in this novel. It took her the whole novel to fully develop Kelsea, and that's how things should be.

Supporting characters are just as important in fantasy novels, and Mace (Lazarus) is probably one of the best characters written. I liked his role in the novel. He wasn't dull in any aspect, and he helped the character of Kelsea to develop. Mace is a man of mystery, there is nothing much to say about him, but he did some amazing things for the queen. I'm hoping to read more about him in the next novel.

The Red Queen is the main villain in this novel. I liked the way the author wrote her character. She appears malevolent in front of the crowd, but she has dark secrets of her own, and no one knows about them. She's not this perfect villain who is so powerful that the character ends up becoming corny in the end. She has her flaws, and it's a joyride to read about her struggles. It's quite obvious that she will have a huge role in the next novel, I'm just hoping she made the right choice.

The plot has a lot of plot twists and interesting events. I'm honestly not sure why this is considered as Young-Adult, but it's more of Adult-Fantasy for me. The novel contains graphic violence, profanity, and other things that young-adults seem to hate. I get it, you didn't ask for a gritty and inhumane novel, but it wasn't written for your age anyway. Another thing, if the author wrote an inhumane novel, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are inhumane in nature. It will almost all the time be for the plot and character development.

I really enjoyed everything that happened in the novel. I liked her decisions, and also the Mace's. Every decision they made contributed to the story development. I don't want to spoil anything, but you will understand what I'm talking about if you read this.

Another thing, I really wanted the characters I was rooting for to have their way. Just like in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I was rooting for certain characters to live, and also certain characters to die. It was no different for A Queen of Tearling. There were a few who I wanted to succeed, and also a few who I wanted to fail and be tormented. It's always important to have strong characters, and this novel has that.

I respectfully agree with the 1-star review of my friends. I understand why they hated this novel so much. It's just that I didn't see their problems as problems of my own, and I don't see what's wrong with that. People have different opinions, and different novels will cater to the needs of different people. I do have a lot of similar opinions with them though in other novels, but this time it just didn't match. I'm not going to bash their review, just like I'm sure they won't bash mine. It's almost 2016 people, learn to respect the opinion of other people.

5/5 stars. One of the best reads I've had for 2015. It's always the unexpected ones that make a huge impact on me. I can't wait to read the sequel. I bought the sequel when I was only 50 pages in with this one, but I knew greatness awaits. I'm really hoping the second novel would be just as good as this, if not better.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
October 29, 2014
Well, this was terrible. I hated everything but the cover.

I’m proud of myself for finishing this The Queen of the Tearling even though it’s turned out to be one of my most disappointing reads this year. HarperCollins was really pushing this title marking-wise, and while it’s not considered YA, they did offer it to quite a few YA bloggers for consideration for review. I had to be the special person to request it. I wish I hadn’t have done that.

The Queen of the Tearling tried to do a lot of things and that’s its biggest problem. You can’t have a high fantasy, historic society set in the future and NOT do any type of world building. You can’t have set rules up in your world only to break it because MAGIC. It’s not nice to tease the reader from the very beginning of SECRETS and have you supporting cast dangle it in from of us like a carrot for the entirety of the novel and NEVER TELL US by the end. Because that’s exactly what happened. It really made me question what the point of the novel was considering I learned nothing new about the plot or characters by the end.

I’m also surprised this was marketed as Adult to YA readers when it really is just a poorly plotted MG fantasy. For all this book had going for it — and it had a lot, including a movie deal with Emma Watson attached to star! — I expected so much more. I expected to be blown away, and maybe that was part of the problem, but really the level of SUCK contained in The Queen of the Tearling is baffling. I don’t recommend it at all.
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews605 followers
August 22, 2015
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm warning you: This is a rage rant.

Let me present you the future:

No, really. That's the future according to this book – I'm not shitting you. Our future is a freaking Medieval town.

Kelsea was raised alone with two guardians. She believes herself plain and ugly and totally unimportant. Tunrs out she's a special snowflake: She's the long-lost heir of the Tearling. Now she's the queen and she's getting back to “civilization.” (haha, what civilization?)

The synopsis didn't catch my attention. In fact, I started this book dubious – it has polarizing reviews and I tended to agree the most with the negative ones. However, reviews from the same people that rated this 1 star had been giving high ratings to the second book, so of course I had to see for myself if this was as bad as it was painted to be.

Turns out I was wrong: It was worse.

First of all, the most important thing in a fantasy novel is the world-building. Where was it in this book? I know not. As I said in the beginning, this is supposedly set in the future, but the future here is Medieval – people use horses as transportation, swords and maces to fight, etc.

I was asking myself all the time how in hell would people abandon all the commodities we have now to go back centuries ahead to an era in which I would absolutely hate living. Really? WHY WOULD THEY STOP USING ELECTRICITY? WHY WOULD PEOPLE START USING HORSES AGAIN INSTEAD OF CARS? Makes no sense, and it's not explained.

The kingdom is not explained either. All we know is that there's a queen. Yeah. There's a queen, and so what? I want to know more about the politics! How do they organise themselves in here?

That's all I'm going to say about the world, because this is where the real rage starts: I. Freaking. Hated. Kelsea.

Kelsea is the famous queen of the Mary Sues Tearling. She's very childish and annoying. When she gets to the Tearling, she starts throwing orders at everyone like a sulky 2-year-old would do just because she's the queen.

“I am the Queen of the Tearling! Open the cages!”

That is an actual quote from the book. If that doesn't prove the fat she's acting like a 2-year-old and not like the 19-year-old she's supposed to be, then this should show it:

“All of you down there! You’re part of my government, and my army! You will open the cages!”

Bahahahahahahhahahahhahaha. You sure know how stupid you sound, don't you, Kelsea?

But Kelsea's greatest treat is that she's a Mary Sue.

She’d always been thick, but now she’d been indoors too long, and between that and her injuries, whatever physical condition she might have had was gone. No queen in a storybook ever had to deal with such a problem.

How's that for a Mary Sue?

Or no, actually no. Now that I remember, her best treat is that she diminishes everyone else so she can feel superior. Case in point:

He was the ugliest creature Kelsea had ever seen in her life.

Finally, she thought, regretting her own unkindness even as it crossed her mind, someone who makes me look beautiful.

First, that is perhaps the most mary-sue-ish comment I've read in my whole life. Second... what the hell is wrong with you, Kelsea? You don't do that to people! It's just wrong. That is not enough for her, though. Later, she says this:

What does she see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive? She had read about this particular delusion in books many times, but it was different to see it in practice. And for all the anguish that Kelsea’s own reflection had caused her lately, she saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.

Jesus Christ, there are many teenagers who suffer because they have low self-esteem. Now imagine how their lives would be if Kelsea was present in them. Just... no. You don't insult others just to make yourself look better: It's coward.

Also, this:

“I can’t speak to political salvation, Majesty. I’m a spiritual adviser.”

“No one needs spiritual advice right now.”

Tyler spoke more sharply than he intended. “Those who cease to worry about their souls often find them difficult to reclaim later, Majesty. God doesn’t make such distinctions.”

“How do you expect anyone to believe in your God in these times?”

“I believe in my God, Majesty.”

“Then you’re a fool.”

Tyler straightened and spoke coldly. “You’re welcome to believe what you like, and think what you like of my church, but don’t malign my faith. Not in front of me.”

I've got to say: I don't believe in god, but I respect people who do. I have absolutely no problem with religious people. In fact, I used to be like that. I would never say remarks like that. It's disrespectful and narrow-minded.

Now, throw in some sexist comments and you have ta da! The Queen of the Tearling!

Women scream when they’re hurt, Barty’s voice echoed in her head. Men scream when they’re dying.

Plus, it was boring. B-O-R-I-N-G. Not because of the pacing (there was no pace), but because every single thing that happened was zero interesting. EVERYTHING WAS BORING.

So yeah, I regret reading this. I never expected it to be as atrocious as it was. I will probably read the sequel, but just because that was the reason why I initially read this. I apologize if my review is a mess, but my head is a mess right now and I'm just hoping I can recover from this.
Profile Image for Reynita ★ The Night Reader ★.
123 reviews939 followers
December 25, 2017
Edit : 25/12/2017 : I have a copy of the second book but I have no interest in reading it. So I'll just abandon it.

3.5 Stars rounded down to 3 Stars

When Kelsea Raleigh was a baby, She was smuggled out from the palace for her own safety and since then she was fostered by two servants who pledged their lives to raise her and protect her until she claimed her throne.
when she was 3 year old her mother, Queen Elyssa Raleigh died and Kelsea's uncle, Thomas Raleigh was in charge since then.
sixteen years later, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, The queen's guard came to her cottage, where she was raised in hiding to escort her to the palace to be the Queen of the tearling.

My Opinion

when I saw this book in a bookstore, I was immediately stunned by the gorgeous cover. I heard this book was great it but I also heard this book was bad. I didn't really intend on buying this book but I still don't know what possessed me because when I came out the bookstore I already had this book among the other books I bought.
I was fooled by the cover, I thought the story would be awesome. I had a very high expectation on this book, I knew there isn't any romance in this book but I didn't care about it as long as story was great. but the story was SOOO slow and wasn't that great so this was what happened to me while reading it

I was torn between stop reading it or keep reading it. But I chose to keep reading it because I already bought the second book and I didn't want to waste my money.
But I have to admit that the beginning of the story was pretty good but I got bored reading it when I reached the middle of this book and the MC annoyed me. I'm going to tell you which part she annoyed me so much.

Venner put his sword back in its scabbard, his face disgruntled.
" Only three days till you can torment me further, arms master."
" I torment you for your own good, Lady"

seriously, I was so mad when she said that to him because she asked the arms master to teach her about sword fighting and then she got what she wanted but she acted like that!?!?! what the hell did she want?!?!?!

Why Did I Give This Book 3 Stars ?

I gave this book 3 stars because it's original, this book made me laughing twice and I like The Fetch. The Fetch always made me giggling ❤❤❤ I kept reading this book just because of this guy. oh and I need to tell you guys about this

he took Kelsea's chin in one hand, spearing her with his black gaze. " should you ever gain the throne in truth, I expect to see your policies implemented. They're much in need of refinement, and likely doomed to failure in execution, but they're good policies, and the show an understanding of political history that most monarchs never take the trouble to achieve. You'll rule by the principles you've outlined, and you'll attempt to cure the blight on this land, no matter what it costs you. This is my test, and if you fail, you will answer to me.

Kelsea raised her eyebrows, trying to hide the shiver that passed through her. "you think you could get to me once I'm in the Keep?"
"I can get to anyone in this kingdom. I am more dangerous than the Mort, more dangerous than the Caden. I've stolen many things from the Regent, snd he's been under my knife. I could've killed him many times over, but that I had to wait."
"for what?"
"for you, Tear Queen."
Then he was up and gone from the table in one fluid motion, and Kelsea was left staring after him, her face burning where his fingers had been.

the moment he treatened Kelsea, that was the moment I fell in love with him, am I weird guys? xD

Will I read the second book ?

if I hadn't bought the second book, I would not have read the sequel but I already bought the sequel, So I think I have to read it and the reason I read the sequel is because of The Fetch. hehehe. I need to know more about him.

Thank you so much for reading my review about this book guys!!
Happy Reading to all of you!! ❤❤❤
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
April 2, 2021
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1), Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling is the debut novel of Erika Johansen. It is set on a fictional landmass several centuries in the future, and is the first novel of a fantasy trilogy.

The other books in the trilogy are The Invasion of the Tearling (2015) and The Fate of the Tearling (2016).

Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn must defeat the powers of the Red Queen, who is out to destroy her. She must journey to the royal castle to claim her throne, and is accompanied only by the loyal Queen's Guard which is led Carroll and the mysterious Lazarus.

Along the way she must earn the respect of her people and fix the broken shambles of the Kingdom of Tear.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز یازدهم ماه مارس 2019میلادی

عنوان: ملکه اشک ها (ملکه تیرلینگ) کتاب نخست؛ نویسنده: اریکا یوهانسون؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

سه گانه ی «اریکا یوهانسون» خوانشگران خویش را به سیصد سال پس از نابودی دنیای مدرن توسط تغییرات محیط زیستی میبرد، زمانی که در آینده جامعه ای، همانند سده های میانی میلادی پدید آمده، و پرنسس «کلسیا رالی گلین» باید از تبعید باز گردد، و تاج و تخت مادر خویش را زنده کند؛ در نتیجه قلمروی برای خود میسازد، و ملکه شیطانی سرخ را نیز شکست میدهد؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,737 followers
May 17, 2017
I, as Emma Watson also said, devoured it in less than a week, couldn’t put the bloody thing down..,

I wanted to end it, yet for me, for a different reason.
Like her, I couldn't hate it, but can't love it either..

They called it "Feminist Alternative To 'Game Of Thrones'"!!
Come on, it's a "Mini-Game of A Throne" full of feminism, Rant, and even out-cursed GOT.

The Story
A Queen is back when she's turned 19...She must claim her Throne from her evil Uncle/Regent..
She must look for her Kingdom, The Tearling.. must defend it against the evil neighbor, Red Queen..
Yep, that's all, I guess.

Oh, and she also must learn about her mother's, the previous Queen past..But that's not the mystery here...
The Mystery is the fuss Emma Watson making about the novel..

I mean, everything bugs me in a YA is doubled here..
A Tiresome pace, Unimaginable world history!!, Too much Unnecessary Characters Describing and inner thoughts..
And RANT, lots and lots of rants in every topic forced in every minor related event.
AND swears , yeah it's so much of it that I forget it's a YA anyway.
She out cursed GOT, seriously in less than half the pages of Game of Thrones, she said 'fuck, shit, bitch, cock, cunt, etc" about 90% more of book one of Game of Thrones..

at least the rest of what I hate of YA isn't here anyway.. The silly Love Triangle Story.. there's even No love story here, imagine? FEMINISM baby!
The Setting

In a Futuristic Medieval Europe !!!!
-second time after Red Queen.. the worst mash up EVER in the history of literature.-
Apparently USA blown up and people crossed the ocean to ‘New Europe’ whatever happens to told one? We don't know yet.
Apparently they forget the everything.... even guns!! so it was a shocking moment when the Mort “neighbors of Tearling” re-discovered Gunpowder.

They are divided into Mort and Tear.. 2 Kingdoms where Morris Queen -The Red Queen- want to take over Tearling.
The Characters

Kelsea Raleigh Glynn's 19 , so not much of age issue here as most YA- some queens are 16 only-.. and she's a bit good character as well.. strong and tough, AND PLAIN , remember, Plain, must be said many times, since Plain is the new Beautiful ..FEMINISM baby!
and the good thing is that, she loves books.
-she has this set of 7 books of Harry Potter, that's funny disturbing the mood of the whole Kingdom thing, I mean they don't have Guns anymore, but they have Harry Potter, but I can't say no for a Queen who loves Harry Potter-

I can't feel anything to the rest of the characters save Lazarus “will be played by Russell Crow I guess” who's loyal and reminded me with old Jorah Mormont of GOT.

The Red Queen is so typical Old Disney witch evil queen types… but with R rate “she does sex as Cersei, yet she's not even 1% as deep character as her”


It Was Ok.. 2 stars are so enough..
just another YA novel..
Not A Game of Thrones at all... just a small kingdom throne between 2 queens.. "Queens fight is coming :)"

Anyway, I hope it'd get better in the next book.. cause, I bought the first two together :(

Mohammed Arabey
Read from 14 May 2016
To 20 May 2016
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,011 followers
December 21, 2016
"We don't always choose, Majesty. We simply make the best choices we can once the deed is done."

•I'll start with the bad because yes, I am that obnoxious. The book is set in this kingdom, the Tearling, which, along with other kingdoms and empires, was born and grew on a previously unknown land after the so-called Crossing. We are told very little about this event: we only know, basically, that said Crossing was made by the Americans, and that some bits of the late America's culture still last. My problem is, how on earth is it possible that in the world before the Crossing (which, from very numerous hints, we assume is ours) there still was some undiscovered continent? Maybe all the talking about seas and waters was metaphorical and the ships that made this Crossing were spaceships? It is imperative that I be granted further explanation on this point because really, I have no idea what went on there and it's driving me nuts. Especially since this post-apocalyptic medieval world, for me, works. It definitely does. I'm just feeling the need to know how it came to be.

•A big, colossal no to the lack of communication and basic information that went on throughout Kelsea's childhood and adolescence because I definitely do not see the point, if not that of adding some drama to the plot upon her finding out what is actually going on in her country. Seriously. No point. This is the kind of things that make me go ballistic.

Anything else, I pretty much loved. Finally we have a strong-willed, tenacious and steadfast heroine, one who won't apologize for her straightforwardness, one who won't back off when faced with the need to prioritize and make sacrifices, one who is not scared to really get her hands dirty and shoulder her responsibilities. I am extremely, extremely pleased with her and her characterization, even though at the very beginning, just for a little while, it seemed to be rather tentative and half-hearted -which, now it's perfectly clear, was all planned to make her following development stand out even more. Her greatest asset is her mind. I second that.
And a special mention should also be given to her foster family: I came to fully appreciate their role only at the end, thanks to the episode Mace told Kelsea, and that will forever be remembered as the moment when I nearly choked on the lump that had formed in my throat.

•Speaking of whom, Mace aka Lazarus. Four words, and they'd better do because otherwise I'd be at a loss for what to say: Love. Him. To. Pieces. I want him to get to the end of this journey safe and sound and happy.

•My fear regarding this book was that I would be bored. Well, I was not. Never, not even for a moment. As you may know, often action-packed books tire me more than stories revolving about politics and mind-games and such. The Queen of the Tearling is of the latter kind, and I loved that it was (though I see why others would find it slow and uneventful).

➽ I am itching to get my hands on the second instalment (all the better if I'm provided the info I need about the Crossing, but mainly I want to see Kelsea kick the Red Queen's ass). I did not expect to enjoy this book so much, and far be it from me to complain -though I'll postpone the reading of the sequels because I need to pass my exams, and this story is so engaging, if I start them now I won't even touch my textbooks.
As far as I'm concerned, The Queen of the Tearling is absolutely, wholeheartedly recommended.
Profile Image for Dear Faye.
492 reviews2,124 followers
February 24, 2015
This book has rendered me speechless. Oh, my bloody god. If you could see me now, I'm already having withdrawals, because the moment I finished, the first thing I blurted out was, "I need book two. STAT."

I avoided this book like the plague. Shortly before its release, one star reviews were popping out left and right, many from my trusted friends who share the same likes and dislikes as me. Because of that, I didn't want to read it. It was absolutely at the bottom of my TBR, but the other day, I went to a bookstore. I grabbed a cup of coffee from the Starbucks corner on the 3rd floor, walked around, and saw this beautiful cover reaching out to me from its lonely shelf.

And so, I bought it.


I totally adored this novel. I expected to hate it, to bash it, to go she-hulk on it, but the more I read, the more engrossed I became, until I was like "fuck you" to the rising sun and continued on reading despite the growing Gucci bags under my eyes. I may have lost precious beauty sleep over it, but I don't really care, because this is one of my favorite books right now. The plot was awesome, the political intrigue insane, the heroine phenomenal, and the romance? ALMOST NON-EXISTENT. Which made me ship two people aggressively, because there were hints and gestures and I yearned for them even more because they weren't bloody enough. Forgive me if I resemble a mad woman right now, but this book just truly blew my mind away at how awesome and riveting it was.

First of all, Kelsea. If I were to put a list of my top ten heroines of all time, she no doubt would be one of them. She's brainy, intelligent, strong-willed and courageous in every sense of the word, facing with hard resolve the troubles and problems brought about by her inheriting a broken and corrupt kingdom. She was hidden away from the rest of the world for the first nineteen years of her life, and on her 19th birthday, is whisked away by a group of knights to escort her back to her kingdom where the nobles have everything to lose with her on the throne. I don't know about you, guys, but if that were me, I would've had a nervous breakdown.

But not Kelsea! She may have been sheltered, hidden away in the deepest parts of a forest, but she was raised to be kind and to be fierce, to be sympathetic and to be just, to be cautious and to take action, all the traits that monarchs before her lacked, all the traits her kingdom needs. I absolutely love how she fought through her insecurities, how she proved wrong those who underestimated her, how she stood up and made a name for herself in a society where females were looked down upon, how she became the kind of role model girls should emulate. Yes, she is far from perfect, but she tries her best and she goes against the tides and the waves and the tsunamis with everything she has, and that, my friends, is admirable. Fucking admirable.

And the political intrigue! There is enough here to make you giddy. The kingdom is broken beyond comprehension that it's hard to know who to trust and who to be wary of. There are certainly a lot of key players here that we would need to keep an eye on in the second book, which makes things so bloody exciting.

I do have to say that the setting is very special, though. The best description for it would be a "backward future", where some disaster has fallen upon earth (which is not known yet) and the survivors went elsewhere and established a more medieval way of life. I'd understand if some people may see it as too vague, and it can feel that way sometimes, but in my case, this aspect never really bothered me that much because the characters and the plot were riveting enough to take my mind off that issue, which is quite a feat because I'm usually very anal about this! All I can say is, the way this book was written makes the slow reveal of the world a pleasant and leisurely experience. And I mean, come on, my mind was too occupied cheering and fretting for our awesome Kelsea! (wink wink, nudge nudge)

And did you know that the romance here is almost non-existent? Of course, our Kelsea talks about how handsome her guards are, but as someone who hasn't seen many people in her life, you can't really blame her! And she may have a crush on a mysterious figure, but aside from these things, it doesn't take center stage at all. She is surrounded by knights, but they're the types who actually do their jobs and don't flirt around. They are all focused on their task, and that is to protect the Queen. Of course, there are many interactions between them, especially with Mace (the Captain of the Guard who is old enough to be her father) who she establishes a mentor-like relationship with and Pen (who is 11 years her senior) who is her close guard, but they never got close to cheesy. They are all meaningful interactions that are vital to her character development. But, that doesn't mean there aren't any hints! Of course there are, but they are far and few between, which makes it even better, because the shipper in me became aggressive hunting for them ;) It also made me even more excited for the next book!

P.S. I ship her with Pen. OMG.

All in all, Queen of the Tearling is awesome and I'm glad I gave it a chance, because last night this book gave me such a high like you wouldn't believe (check out my Twitter for my incoherent rave tweets). Where is my book two?!?!
Profile Image for Nick Borrelli.
377 reviews385 followers
July 20, 2017
I am so glad that I don't weigh other people's reviews heavily when I decide whether or not I am going to read a book. If I had, I probably would have never tried this series. As it happens, what I discovered was a deep, complex, interesting, and engaging post-apocalypse fantasy that I flew through in four days. It also shattered my expectations and made me want to immediately start book 3. Erika Johansen is one heck of a writer and I am anxious to see where she takes this series. Reading an interview of her recently she states that one of the books will be a backstory and history of how the Tearling came about and what cataclysm occurred to force the people of a long ago time to flee and shun technology in favor of a medieval lifestyle. Tremendous! I can't wait.
Profile Image for Eva Müller.
Author 1 book73 followers
May 10, 2022
You can also find this review on Bibliodaze

The Queen of Tearling has been called “a female Game of Thrones”. Before starting the book I wasn’t quite sure what they meant by that. After finishing I can only say that if there is such a thing as “a female Game of Thrones” this book is certainly not it because The Queen of Tearling pretty much manages to fail in every way imaginable.

First: The world-building.

We’re in a post-apocalyptic world. What exactly happened? When did it happen? How much time has passed since then? Who cares? It also takes a few chapters till you realize that this is a future world and not your average pseudo-medieval fantasy-setting because at first it looks a lot like one. The states we hear of are monarchies, the weapons used swords as well as bows and arrows and horses are the only means of transportation.

However the apocalypse can't have been that long ago because a lot knowledge about the technology still seems to exist. Kelsea even knows that e-readers were once a thing. Now people can’t even built a printing-press anymore… however they can do cosmetic surgery and organ-transplants. I was tempted to start a drinking-game for such world-building inconsistencies but my liver is not that strong.

There is also The Crossing. At one point it is also referred to the British-American Crossing which should give you a vague hint about starting and landing point. It was lead by a guy called William Tearling and he also gave the new country his name. Why did they need new names for places? I have no idea. For a while I thought that perhaps the Crossing referred to some kind of space-expedition but it clearly must have been a voyage with actual ships (as somehow they thought it would be a smart idea to put all the doctors in one ship which then sank). So…has whatever apocalyptic event happened changed the earth so much that continents and borders as we know them don’t exist anymore? There is also mention of “uncharted territories” which are rather rare on this world. Is it perhaps set in space after all? Then how did all the technology for space-ships get lost? Read this book and get absolutely no answers to these questions!

More than once I got the impression that originally this was planned as a typical medieval-style fantasy and then last-minute some vague references to some dystopian settings were added. That would explain many of the inconsistencies also those about the role of the church and of women.

See: William Tearling was an Atheist. A quite strict one apparently. But in Kelsea’s Tearling the church is quite influential again. So influential that Kelsea will only really be accepted as Queen if she is crowned by a priest. What happened that the church gained so much power again? Don’t ask. Why would anybody care abut such minor things? (Drink…just drink)

Generally the church is very typically medieval-Catholic (even though it is described as mixture between Catholicism and a ‘post Crossing Protestant sect’…whatever that means). Only read the Bible and other religious texts, no worldly books, abortion is evil, who gets to be pope has more to do with politics than faith and so on. Now I’m the first to admit that the (Catholic) church is not exactly progressive but the apocalypse happens and all it does is catapult its views a few centuries back? I’d have expected some major changes.

It gets even more confusing when you try to figure out the role of women in this world. To give but one example, Kelsea’s mother became queen even though she had a younger brother. So we’re clearly in a world where inheritance rights don’t discriminate against women. Additionally nobody knows who Kelsea’s father is (a few know but won’t tell because of reasons) but there seems to be no issue with this. Everybody accepts her as queen.

Think about that: in (western) history you get a few queens who became rulers because there was no male offspring but an illegitimate offspring on the throne? With no knowledge of who the father is? Unthinkable. But not even the church objects and they usually are somewhat conservative in these matters.

To cut it short: if the royal claim can be passed through the female blood-line alone, that should indicate a pretty awesome setting with equal rights for men and women (most royal families today don’t even have that law) – except that it really isn’t.

The warriors/guards are all men, the women cook, care for the children, knit and weave (while men can’t even distinguish knitting-needles from a weaving-loom), and do all the other stereotypical female work. When Kelsea demands sword-training and an armour, the others look at her like she’s insane (even though an armour should really be no question considering how many people are trying to kill her), the captain of her army is reluctant to discuss strategy with a woman and we only ever meet churchmen, no female priests/bishops etc.

Drink some more before we get to:

Second: Logic. Or the lack thereof.

I won’t deny it. I have read fantasy-novels with bad world-building before and I’m able to overlook it if the rest of the book at least had a decent plot. This is clearly not the case here. Every single person is just extremely stupid. If they weren’t then the book might have been over in a third of the time.

Kelsea’s mother died when she was just a year old and out of fear for her life she was raised in exile. Her foster-parents did make sure she received an education. She knows a lot about ancient history (whatever that means in this world), she’s a fast reader and she can hunt and skin animals.

Go and pick out the skills that are important for somebody who needs to rule a whole country.


They barely told her anything about the current state of Tearling. Kelsea doesn’t even know how her mother died or what kind of ruler she was because… because… why would that be important? Later, when she is with her guard (who also served her mother), she asks them too but they all refuse to tell her. Then she actually asks how she is supposed to make good decisions if they don’t tell her what happened which might be the only smart thing she does in the whole book. The answer:

“Why dwell on the past Lady? You have the power to make your own future.”

I don’t know… Have you heard the phrase “Learning from past mistakes” before?

Speaking of the Queen’s Guard: they get drunk while on duty and fail to stop two assassination attempts on Kelsea (as well as one kidnapping). Only Jaime Lannister has a worse record of protecting royalty.

Third: This is not how to write likeable love-interests.

At one point Kelsea gets kidnapped by bandits (because of reasons…) As she’s injured she passes out quite quickly and when she wakes up again she notices that she has been cleaned and is wearing a new dress. When it turns out that the head of the bandits did this she is clearly uncomfortable. His reaction: smiling and telling her she has no need to worry because she’s too plain for him.

Yes. And a few days later she actually has a very similar conversation with him. Later she spends a lot of time day-dreaming about that guy because he’s so hot and charming…

That’s especially jarring as in the rest of the book we learn that pretty much every single bad guy is also a rapist. Just so we can be sure that they're really evil. But they’re also all ugly so it’s different. Hot guys are allowed to tell girls they're not pretty enough for them to even consider such a thing.

Is there alcohol left? Because I don’t even know what to say to that.

Fourth: There’s a plot somewhere

Mostly it involves Kelsea acting stupid and spoiled. She also has a Jewel of Plot Convenience that makes most decisions for her so she doesn’t need to worry. Who wants a protagonist who makes their own decisions anyway? It’s much more interesting if her magically jewellery actually drags her along and gives her powers as the plot demands so she's always protected. Otherwise this could get exiting and we don't want that.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Misstdennis.
238 reviews85 followers
January 10, 2018
5000/5 stars

“The Queen held up her hands for silence. At that moment, Javel knew for certain that she truly was the Queen, though he never knew why or how he knew.”

Holy shit. That was the most beautiful thing I've read in such a long time.
How is it possible that my heart feels broken and whole at the same time?
My eyes wont stop watering yet I can't help but smile like a Cheshire Cat.

I had put this book off for so long and I'm kicking myself for not picking this up sooner!
Seriously Taylor, what the hell were you thinking you Bafoon??
This book has everything you want and need in a fantasy story; Adventure, magical elements, whimsical characters and a world building like nothing else.
Did I mention the characters? *sobs*

“My responsibility, she thought, and the idea brought no fear now, only an extraordinary sense of gratitude.
My kingdom.”

This was the first Erika Johansen novel I've read and I can tell you now, it won't be the last. Her style of writing is just utter perfection and she already has a high ranking as one of my new favorite authors.

From the very first page I was completely hooked and obsessed with this story and it was all I could think about in the 2 days it took me to read this.
Legitimately, my day job came second to this book, and I'm not even sorry.
I feel like I am one of the only living human being who has jumped on this bandwagon last but if you're still yet to pick this book up, please, for heavens sake, stop what you're doing and pick this up.
It will undoubtedly be your new addiction.

Now to get my hands on The Invasion of the Tearling and ugly cry over the pages.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,970 followers
September 27, 2015

Okay a few excerpts from the book before I get into it!

"There's no other life for me. Anyway, clemency wouldn't begin to repay your debt. I've given you a greater gift than you know."
"What gift?"
"You'll find out. In return, I expect you to keep it safe."
Kelsea turned back to the mirror. "Great God, tell me you didn't impregnate me while I slept."
The Fetch threw back his head and roared with laughter. He placed a friendly hand on Kelsea's back, making her skin prickle. "Tear Queen, you'll either be dead within a week or you'll be the most fearsome ruler this kingdom has ever known. I see no middle ground."

"I demand punishment, Majesty!" Lady Andrews had recovered her voice. "Give me that guard!"
Kelsea burst out laughing, true laughter that rang across the audience chamber. It felt wonderful, more so as Lady Andrew's face turned a bright, choleric purple.
"I'll tell you what to do, Lady Andrews. You take your dress and get the hell out of my Keep."

She grabbed his arm, not hard, but not too gently either. "But make no mistake: if you ever refuse to obey a direct order of mine again, I will kill you. Anger almost made me do it once, and could easily make me do it again. I'm not a child any longer, Lazarus, nor am I a fool. I'm either the Queen or I'm not....there can be no grey."
Mace swallowed; she heard it clearly in the dark. "You're the Queen, Lady."

"My eyes are terrible. What is that?"
"That, Lady, is a head on a pike," replied Wellmer.
"Whose head?"
"Your uncle's Lady. I went down there just to make sure. The pike is hung with a placard that says 'A gift for the Tear Queen, compliments of the Fetch."
Despite the gruesome nature of the offering, Kelsea smiled.

OMG!!!!!!!! I freaking loved this book and it is on my favorite books list! Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!

So... all of her life until she turned 19, Kelsea was brought up by Carlin and Barty. They taught her as much as they could about being a future queen, not the fancy stuff, real life stuff. Her mother, Queen Elyssa sent her away as a baby to make sure she was safe.

One day the Queen's Guard came to get Kelsea and take her back to the Keep to take the throne. Her mother had been dead for some time, but I won't tell you about that. Kelsea's jerk of an uncle has been ruling in her mother's place and he is an arsehole beyond and back!!

Not all of the guards make it back as they have to split up since her uncle sent assassin's to kill her, told you he was an arsehole, but he is worse than you think.

My favorite out of this group is Lazarus who goes by Mace, he is tough as nails and has a sworn vow to the Queen. He's a very smart man and for some reason I kept picturing the Hound from Game of Thrones. Anyhoo... Kelsea makes him the Captain of the Guards. I love the banter these two have all through the book. There is a snark there and it's not like your typical Queen and Guard or servants, Kelsea is a nice person, well to those that deserve it at any rate.

Along the way to the Keep we get to meet some bandits/criminals with the Fetch as their leader. He is awesome too. I love his character and can't wait to find out who he is and what his deal is because he always wears a mask, although at one point some little thing was revealed and I need to know!!

I loved when they made their first appearance at the Keep and Kelsea stands up to some bad trade that is going down in her kingdom. She also has a little magic, but I won't tell you about that either :) Let's just say they made a fearsome sight at the top of the hill giving out orders.

This is a long book and it never got boring to me one time! I was just loving it the whole way through. I see that it's one of those books that people either hate or love and I'm a lover!

All of the trials that Kelsea was put through and came out on top and the better for it were awesome!

There is an evil Queen of Mortmesne (Red Queen) that the Tearling are going to have to battle and take out at some point. I'm anxious to see what happens in these next books with this evil, evil woman!

Oh yeah and I love the guard Pen too, he's a good guy.

I think the cover of the book is beautiful and it has a string bookmark inside. I kept forgetting and looking around for my bookmark, but I digress. Just awesome! If I could do gifs on here I would do a little dance at how much I loved this book :) Fin!

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Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
801 reviews2,913 followers
December 28, 2021
The future was only disasters of the past, waiting to happen anew.

I'll never forgive this 600-page long beast for fooling me into thinking it wasn't that special just to have me stay up until 5am to finish it because I couldn't stop reading.

I think I even cried at some point?!

I loved everything about it, even the ambitiously compelling political intrigues and the lack of romance, which are things I usually scrunch up my nose at.
Kelsea is one of my favorite female characters ever and I adore that she's not conventionally beautiful or thin. She's a badass and a true queen and I might even be a bit in love with her.
Johansen's writing is perfect and her side characters are some of the most well crafted and entertaining to read about.
I wish I had the time to start the second book immediately 😭

#PenguinOnATBRMission: book #12

this hashtag is something I self-indulgently created for fun when I decided to thin out my immense tbr list as a new years resolution starting from books I added on GR back in 2017/2018/2019, and since I can't seem to do anything quietly and I'm well known for being an overachiever, I had to go and turn it into an official thing. Feel free to check out the shelf with the same name if you don't mind keeping up with this insanely over-hyped adventure I got myself into. Take it as a chance to rediscover some books from a few years ago that might have accidentally flown under your radar, or to simply share with another fellow reader your very own reading experience. Happy reading and stay penguin-y!

To Be Continued...🐧
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