By Kayla Whittle
Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is a 19-year-old princess and leaving her sheltered home in the woods for the first time. Her kingdom, the Tearling, is threatened with war by its neighbor, Mortmesne, whose queen knows powerful magic. Though she is young and inexperienced, Kelsea is able to find strength and magic of her own in “The Queen of the Tearling”.
Looking at the nearly 500 pages that make up this novel, you may be intimidated. This book by Erika Johansen is a daunting read of magic, royalty and war, yet so well-written that you begin to forget how bulky it is.
“The Queen of the Tearling” is not fast-paced. While there are incredible fight scenes, packed with flaming arrows, attempted assassinations and traitorous guards, they are dispersed throughout the book. It sets up a complex plotline — really, several plots tied into one epic tale — making large sections filled with court intrigue and battle planning necessary. The storyline continues to grow throughout the book until the conclusion, where plot twists fuel an epic battle that leaves you anxious for a sequel.
This is a novel that should attract readers simply because it can cater to teenagers and adults without hurting the plot with unnecessary romance. There are no love triangles to be found in the Tearling. Kelsea is busy training to fight, learning court etiquette and earning the loyalty of her people — leaving no time for drama-inducing men. As she gains the respect of her people, Kelsea comes into her own after acting like an anxious girl when she is truly a formidable queen. Moving from a stable home to a court where her own uncle is only one among many attempting to kill her, Kelsea must grow physically and emotionally stronger. She also gets admiration from the reader. This is particularly important due to the fact that Erika Johansen is writing this book for a trilogy and needs Kelsea likable enough for fans to continue rooting for her.
This novel would be perfect for anyone looking for an epic storyline and a fantastic set of characters. The Queen’s guard, foster parents and even her maids are well-developed and interesting. Johansen also provides a villainess worth hating, the monstrous queen of Mortmesne who at times overtakes the narration.
“The Queen of the Tearling” is a novel that needs to be more well-known and read. Hopefully, more readers will indulge in this complex plot and beautifully designed setting.