Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: July 17th 2014
Source: For Review*
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale-esque.
Find: amazon || goodreads || the book depository
Summary: Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother - Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid - was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea's uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea's 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother's guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...The Queen of the Tearling's plot is one that I love to read. No matter how many times I get offered something like this; I will say yes. This may have something to do with the fact that the first book I read with a similar story-line remains one of my favourite books of all time: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale - or it may be because I love fairytale-esque books. No matter what the reason, I jumped at the chance to review this book and I don't regret it in the least. Before accepting, I searched it on goodreads and had a quick look at the ratings from reviewers who had already read this. Let's just say the findings were not in the least bit favorable from many of the ones that I saw. Nevertheless I accepted anyway.
And so begins her journey back to her kingdom's heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother's legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive...-goodreads
I found The Queen of the Tearling to be an enjoyable read, it absorbed me from the first couple of pages and I read the whole thing in two nights, (NOT easy fete as the book is a hefty brick with very, very large chapters.) The characters were likeable, the plot was strong and extremely enjoyable, the writing was descriptive enough to satisfy me. Only one thing stood out amongst the reams of words that I really disliked.
At first glance the book looks like a fairy-tale type story: princesses, re-claiming crowns, fantasy. So when i first came across the swearing I literally jumped in my chair. It was like coming across little pebbles in your cake: not welcome, and completely out of place. The language was too crude and modern to fit in the book and not stand out. I have had swearing come up in other fairy-tales, but for the most part I didn't mind as it wasn't the day to day swearing you hear around you. It was made-up, ''foul'' language to fit the characters and the book. I would have been okay with that., but in this book there wasn't. And I didn't like that part at all. There wer also some other references to the modern-day world that we live in that did not fit in with the perception I had of this being being medieval sort of fairy-tale. However, a lot of well-known references to books made-well in the story, without being to obvious to stand out.
The characters were all very different, in that some were too stereotypical to be classed as 'original', and others were altogether very intriguing indeed. Such as The Fetch, who became my favourite character at the start of the book, and stayed that way all through to the end. One thing that surprised me was the lack of romance. Usually I love books without much romance as they are a breath of fresh air from the typical love-interests that revolve around the plot. This book, i think, would have benefited from some romance, as the action and plot twists were fairly limited so it would have added a bit more interest to the book.
Overall, I thought The Queen of the Tearling was a promising book and I can't wait to read the next. Think assassins, murder-plots, evil queen versus good queen and some surprising elements that will bring a lot to the book and will make you stay reading until the very last page. My rating: ★★★★
*thank you to the publishers for sending me this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.