The Queen of the Tearling
(The Queen of the Tearling #1)
by Erika Johansen
Published: July 17, 2014
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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...
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..
I've been excited to read The Queen of the Tearling since I heard some readers say it's like Game of Thrones. Now, I haven't read GoT or seen the TV series (believe me, I badly want to) but it already has enough hype to tell me that I'm missing out big time. And Emma Watson to star for the movie adaptation of The Queen of the Tearling? But it's not the only reason I've wanted to read this book. I love YA high fantasy books - The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The False Prince, Mistborn... and I hoped The Queen of the Tearling would be an addition to my favorites.
Kelsea knew since she was a child that she was born to someday become Queen. She was raised in isolation away from their kingdom with only her foster parents who taught her everything she needs to know. It was a little touching hearing the story from Kelsea herself. How she waited for a long time for her mother to come for her until she grew up to understand that that time will never come.
When the time came for her to claim the throne, she set on a journey along with her mother's trusted guards back to the kingdom. It is when she begins to discover the truth behind why she had to hide and know what her mother truly was like before her murder. It was a big change for Kelsey to suddenly become a Queen when the only people she was around since birth was her foster parents and I liked how she handled it. At the start of the book, Kelsey was a character that's clearly still too young for such responsibility despite all the training she got but soon grew up to be someone strong.
The drawback is the pacing. It's slow and I think it would become a problem to some as well, but I still ended up enjoying the whole book. It surprised me to find the world-building not entirely historical as I first thought it was. The story is mostly political and mysterious and I liked it! Overall, The Queen of the Tearling was a great read.