4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
The Queen of the Tearling is a bit of an odd one, there’s no other way to put it.
I opened the book, expecting this huge fantasy epic set in an original world and – well, I’m not sure what the world is. There are frequent mentions of the ‘Crossing’, some big event that is never properly explained – why did it happen? Are the inhabitants of Earth still on Earth, or is it a new planet altogether? If they are on Earth, where are they and what happened to the UK and the United States (as they seem to be the only countries that are mentioned pre-Crossing)?
Actually, I had quite a few issues with this book. The strange-possibly-future-Earth was one of them, as was the sudden mention of things like The Lord of the Rings or people like J.K. Rowling. I hated that Kelsea was described as ‘plain’, like so many other female teenage protagonists. I also didn’t understand how she was so confident around other people, and giving orders and commands when she’d literally spent her entire life holed up in a cottage, and had only ever really known two people.
So my four-star rating might seem a bit odd at this point. But despite all my grumbles and issues (many of which I hope will be cleared up in the next book, but at least some explanation in book one would have been nice), I really did enjoy it. I’m not reading a lot right now, but every free moment I had during the six days or so it took to read was dedicated to this book – it was just addictive. Kelsea might not have been my favourite protagonist, but I wanted to know more about the Tearling and what consequences her actions would have on the people. I wanted to learn more about the dynamics of the Guard, and the history of its members.
The chapters with the Red Queen were also great, setting up a terrifying antagonist that I’m sure Kelsea will have to face soon. She is vicious, brutal and most of all selfish – pretty much a total opposite to Kelsea, who only wants to do right by her people. A queen who has a slave’s vocal cords severed for snoring is not one to be messed with.
Overall, this book was a great read, despite some of my issues! The mentions of the pre-Crossing countries like Britain and America just sort of popped out of nowhere and threw me a bit, and there were other areas that could do with more explanation, but it’s definitely a page-turner.