Review: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen


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.


8 thoughts on “Review: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen”

  1. I had similar issues with a book called The Red Knight. It didn’t seem to really be ‘earth,’ but there were a couple of very earth centric references. For that one I ultimately gave up, glad this one broke past those issues for you.

    1. Oh I have that one, it was my bookgroup’s pick a few months ago but I never actually got round to it. I was sort of aware that it was like that, I remember reading a few pages and spotting the Latin. It’s the thing I didn’t like about Prince of Thorns, and I’m still not totally comfortable with it :/

  2. I have to agree- the world building was just terrible in terms of how the world came about. I think I’m still confused as to what exactly happened and why… (also the whole leaving all medical equipment in one boat, and that boat sinking…seriously, would people really be that stupid?)
    And yeah, Kelsea definitely wasn’t the best protagonist. To be honest, I was a lot more interested in several of the other characters than her, especially The Red Queen! Villains are so intriguing 😀

    1. Ugh you think they’d spread things out just in case! And why are only the US and UK mentioned? Do other countries still exist or is it western elitism at its best? 😛

      Yeah, it was odd. She seemed to gain this confidence from nowhere. But yes, let me know more about the Red Queen pleaseeeeee. I’ll probably end up liking her more…

  3. I’ve seen a few mixed reviews on this book, so I’m still not sure if I’ll pick it up, but it’s good to know that there are redeeming qualities like a fast pace and a great villain in this! I think I want to wait to see if the movie is good and then I’ll be more motivated to read this!

    1. Definitely a lot of mixed reviews, and I’m still torn about my rating – 3 or 4 stars?? I don’t do half stars though so I’ve given it the benefit of the doubt, plus it definitely drew me in 🙂

      I forgot about the movie! Emma Watson is linked to it, isn’t she? Gosh the book hasn’t even been out for that long…

    1. Yeah, I’m still not sure about my rating. The only reason it’s near four is because of how much I was sucked in, despite the annoying parts!

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