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448 pages, Paperback
First published July 8, 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.
“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?
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.
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?!
...a bolt of pain arrowed all the way down to her toes.Later on, in the bath, Kelsea gets cornered by an assassin! She's almost fucking killed again.
Stabbed, she thought, dazed. Mace didn’t cover my back after all.
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.
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.
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.
“Well, he’s a hero to the common people, Lady. Every piece of rich man’s fortune lost endears him to the poor.”So, um. Exactly HOW is he the hero of the common people?
“Does he distribute the money to the poor?”
Kelsea took a deep breath. “I wouldn’t betray him for any number of pounds.”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.
... it ended in bloody disaster with the assassination of Jonathan Tear
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.
"(...) 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."
“You win your people or you lose your throne.”
“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.”
“We don't always choose, Majesty. We simply make the best choices we can once the deed is done.”
“I am the Queen of the Tearling! Open the cages!”
“All of you down there! You’re part of my government, and my army! You will open the cages!”
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Women scream when they’re hurt, Barty’s voice echoed in her head. Men scream when they’re dying.
A Queen is back when she's turned 19...She must claim her Throne from her evil Uncle/Regent..
“Why dwell on the past Lady? You have the power to make your own future.”
The future was only disasters of the past, waiting to happen anew.