Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I picked this series up at the library recently after hearing one of my favourite book-tubers recommend it on her channel! It’s one of those series that has sort of been on my radar, but only in a vague way. But when I saw all three at the library I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give them a go, even though my TBR pile at home wasn’t too pleased when I brought these home! I happily ignored those pleading stares and settled in to read the first instalment.

I went in pretty blind to this book, but I knew a few key points: the protagonist is a strong (not necessarily physically), intelligent and, somewhat polarising character; there is zero romance (apart from some teenage-style crushing); and there is quite a bit of politics. I can confirm all of these to be true. Lucky for me, I really love our protagonist Kelsea, even though I’ve heard that quite a few readers dislike her. She’s definitely different to any character I’ve read about before, but that’s what I loved so much about her. Her decisions are made with confidence, intelligence, and quite a bit of pig-headedness. She has a bravery that I really respected, and I enjoyed her character so much that she has easily become one of my new favourite heroines.

The book follows Kelsea as she leaves her quiet life in a cottage and takes up the throne that she has been preparing for her whole life.  She has come of age at 19, and so her deceased mother’s Queen’s Guard have come to escort her to the capital where she will be crowned. She is young, but her guardians have been preparing her for this her entire life and so she does not simply flounder in her new position. She forges her way, and earns the respect of those around her through her brave (and sometimes reckless) deeds. The plot is intriguing and there are a few instances that are jarring and leave you questioning just when this story is set.  I won’t give too much away as it is being steadily revealed in the second instalment, but I can say that it will leave you guessing!

As for the pace of the story, the politics can be quite heavy, but I think it makes the story realistic and refreshing as well. Kelsea is a fiercely intelligent Queen who doesn’t shy away from difficult decisions and moves. We don’t see the full repercussions of her decisions in this book, but it sets a thrilling foundation for the next two books!

If you’ve read this series, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Cas x

 

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