Everyone once in a while, I stumble upon a newly published book that I am not familiar with and find out that it is part of a series. I love when this happens because I can binge read or listen without having to be left with a cliffhanger. It’s the little things right?
The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen is a YA fantasy novel set in a somewhat alternate post-Columbus world. As a baby, Kelsea Raleigh, was sent away from her mother, Queen Elyssa, to be raised away from the throne and all of its influences and dangers. Now, 19 years later, Kelsea must reclaim her throne and her people. But Kelsea knows little of the politics of Tearling and even less of it’s tumultuous past.
Kelsea is escorted to the heart of Tearling and her throne by the Queen’s Gaurd, a small troupe of loyal soldiers, but they are chased by mercenaries and her uncle’s soldiers who have hunted Kelsea since her birth. As Kelsea fights for her birthright, the sapphire necklace she has worn since birth awakens and Kelsea finds herself enthralled to its power and magic.
Can Kelsea win the heart of her people? Can she protect them from Mortmesne and the Red Queen? Will she learn the secrets of the Tear sapphire or will she be a slave to its power? And can Kelsea keep her heart when a cunning stranger comes to call?
Seriously, where is this set? I am assuming a post-Columbus world on a continent founded after the Americas but it’s hard to be sure. I mean literally, this book could take place any time between Columbus setting foot on American soil and a future America we’ve not yet lived. Living in the dark here people. There are a ton of references to America and a crossing from America to where the book is set now but medicine, weaponry, technology is all lost … and can’t be retrieved by crossing back to America… It’s all very odd and somewhat distracting from an otherwise entertaining story. I am hoping this gets explained more fully in the sequels.
Kelsea is an interesting character. As Queen she is a strong, determined character who isn’t over confident and definitely knows her flaws. Her transition from princess in hiding–who knows nothing about the world or her rightful place in it–to Queen happened quite suddenly but that didn’t bother me too much. There is quite a difference though from pre-queen Kelsea in the first few chapters, to Queen Kelsea who can get stabbed and still kneels for her coronation. Gotta love a bad-ass chick.
This was an entertaining read with a nice pace and a developing plot. Other then an inevitable confrontation with Mormesne, I’m not sure where we are going but I am interested in finding out. As an audiobook it worked, but I fear that if the plot gets too complicated listening may not be the way to go.
I give this one 4 stars. A good start to a series.
That’s all for now!