Sh3lly (GrumpyBookGrrrl.com)'s Reviews > The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
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$1.99 on US Kindle: January 30, 2019

First things first, more Fetch please.

Review also found at the Dust Off Your MacHalo blog.

Here we have a book that dares to cross genres. It’s a fantasy/dystopian blend that is mostly-vague about the origin details. We know there was a world very similar to ours, same country names, technology, books, and culture. Then, “something happened” in an event known as The Crossing and we lost technology, electricity, advanced medicine, and were reduced to living in a world with torches, swords, archery, farming, hunting, villagers and nobles, etc. etc.

This is the story of a 19-year-old girl who is the heir to the Tearling throne, had been hidden and raised by foster parents until she came of age, and then has to suddenly become a queen. Her kingdom has been brutalized by her uncle, who was Regent, and by a neighboring evil queen who demands a repulsive monthly tithe of Tear slaves.

Kelsea is the new, young queen and she immediately begins making changes and struggles to earn the respect of her guards and citizens. This was a book that ended without a cliffhanger, but there were plenty of pieces that are still to be resolved.

What I really liked:

- Kelsea was great. She is one of my new favorite female characters. She is no Mary Sue and has to fight and earn her place. She is assertive and confident and yet still has the realistic self-doubt of any young woman concerning her looks and desirability. I thought there was a lot of girl power in this!
- As I mentioned, no cliffhanger. The first part of the story ends satisfactorily, but makes you want more because there are still at least two people that Kelsea will potentially have an epic showdown with.
- No romantic angst or manufactured drama! (There is no romance in this at all, actually.)

The only minor issue I had was that the book felt a bit over-long, but the pacing was still pretty even.

I would not classify this as Young Adult. There was no smut, but there were graphic descriptions of sex, rape, and abuse to women and children. People got their throats cut and were gutted. The main character is 19 when the story starts and everyone else is older than her, so if anything, it’s “New Adult.”

I enjoyed this enough that I am putting it on my favorites shelf and would buy a physical copy and re-read it at some point.

Buddy read with the MacHalo group.

This book has some very mixed reviews and I have addressed some of those points below.



I'm going to start writing some things out here in response to some reviews I've been reading, which I happen to disagree with. We all have different experiences of course, but these are my responses to a few issues some readers had.

1) The dystopian/medieval hybrid world. Who says someone can't merge genres and why is an author required to explain every single thing about the world in the first book (or at all)? Fantasy that has castles, swords, and royal courts don't have to be strictly "high/epic" fantasy. The author chose to merge our world with an alternate history/future. I don't get why this makes some people angry. If we lost technology and modern medicine and gasoline and the electrical grid, etc. etc. etc., who says we couldn't (or wouldn't) revert back to a civilization like this? *genuinely baffled why this is an issue*

2) Kelsea. She has only lived with two older adults her whole life and then, when suddenly around a bunch of men, notices they are attractive. *shock* Why wouldn't a 19 year old woman see the men around her as being people she is (or isn't) attracted to? Why is it a big deal if she thinks herself plain and has issue with her appearance? I sure did when I was 19. Whether right or wrong, I looked at other women and compared myself sometimes. Why can't a character be genuinely "plain" and notice she is "average" without it being proof she has low self-esteem? I personally find Kelsea a strong female character. *scratching head*

3) Her guards. Apparently, because they talk at night and drink and are rowdy, they are sucky guards and unrealistic. I also disagree with this because they had no one worthy of guarding and morale was low. They became undisciplined and life has just not been good to anyone in the Tearling kingdom. The Regent is horrible, the tyrannical Queen who rules in the neighboring kingdom has sucked the joy out of life. At this point, they are more like a roguish group of guys who stayed together because it was all they knew. But they snap out of it quickly once they see Kelsea is worthy of their time and loyalty. Not sure why this is an issue either.

First post:
17 MAY 2016: $1.99 on Kindle

This has some crazy mixed reviews, but I still want to try it.
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Reading Progress

April 23, 2016 – Shelved
August 4, 2017 – Started Reading
August 5, 2017 –
31.0% "Loving this! I don't really get the bad reviews. Her guards? I get why they act the way they do. They had a weak Queen, Kelsea's uncle is horrible, and the people are repressed and abused. They haven't had anyone worthy of protecting until now. Morale has been horrible and it doesn't seem like they have much motivation and are just drifting. At this point, though, they are snapping into shape quickly. *shrug*"
August 7, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Worth a try for that price :)


Kirsty Loved this one!


Sh3lly (GrumpyBookGrrrl.com) I might have to bump this one up! :)


Cindy Loved this one. The second one was just ehh for me.


Libby Agree with every single thing you said here.. and I think kelsea is supposed to be flawed lead. She's not a Mary-sue, which I actually like. Looking forward to reading book 3 actually.. I'm just waiting for it to become available at the library.


Sh3lly (GrumpyBookGrrrl.com) I thought she was realistically flawed, while still being awesome. :) I am definitely reading the next one soon!


Tegan This is one of my favorite series!! <3


Choko Great review, love!!! I am so happy you loved it!!!


La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt I loved this, too! I am curious to see what you will think of the way the next one is set up. It bothered me. Ha ha.


Sh3lly (GrumpyBookGrrrl.com) La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt wrote: "I loved this, too! I am curious to see what you will think of the way the next one is set up. It bothered me. Ha ha."

I actually loved #2 also! :) I have yet to read the final book, but want to soon! It definitely was surprising and not the direction you would expect, but it worked for me.


La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt Sh3lly (grumpybookgrrrl.com) wrote: "La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt wrote: "I loved this, too! I am curious to see what you will think of the way the next one is set up. It bothered me. Ha ha."

I actually loved #2 also! :) I have yet ..."


The final book was back to goodness for me. :)


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