Sunday, 8 March 2015

REVIEW: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


Thank you to Random House/Transworld for providing me with a copy in exchange 
for an honest review

I hate to use the term OMG but OMG!!  I love this book, my one complaint is against myself for having not read it soon enough!

It is like a modern Game of Thrones but the one thing it isn't is modern, confused, let me explain now!

The Tearling of the title is a kingdom in a land that to me seems to be somewhere in Europe, there are  tentative hints of people leaving America and arriving in the Tearling many years before but the details are cleverly kept to the minimum.  

The kingdom is ruled over by a Regent who is the brother of the late queen, he has inherited a cruel deal from his sister between the Tearling and the neighbouring kingdom Mortmesme, to avoid war he must send a number of people of all ages each month to the Red Queen of Mortmesme.  

The men, women and children are never seen again.  The Regent is a wicked man who enjoys the trappings of being in power and the benefits he receives from keeping the Red Queen happy but his fun is about to come to an end.

Hidden away on the edges of the Tearling is a young girl, Kelsea Glynn, she is special, she is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling and her time has come to claim her throne.  But will she go willingly and is she up to ruling the kingdom, will she get the chance?  

Her uncle has been aware of her and has tried his best to find her, sending assassins to kill her but he has not bargained for the Queens Guard, loyal to her late mother they come to collect Kelsea to take her back to her people, the guard are men of all ages but they are loyal and fiercely protective of their queen in waiting but will they be able to take seriously, still a young girl she will have to earn her their respect.

The road back to her throne is a hard one, not only has she got her uncles assassins after her there are other criminals who are aware of her, one of them is the notorious Fetch who Kelsea gets to meet, this meeting does seem to set off a little spark in Kelsea, she is intrigued by this man but he has an agenda and he wants something from the new queen, he also wants one of her gems, Kelsea carries a beautiful sapphire necklace that seems to be magical, she has one and her mother had one, The Fetch is going to keep one of them until he sees that Kelsea has done what he wants.

As the book continues Kelsea arrives at her throne just in time, a shipment of people are about to head off to Mortmesme, she straight away puts noses out of joint by showing that she is the queen and she is putting a stop to this, Thorne who is charge of sending the shipments want her dead, he is going to have to join a queue that already has her uncle and the Red Queen on it.

As Kelsea ascends to her throne she very quickly gains respect from her people and her guard, she is such an amazing feisty and intelligent character, she doesn't use looks or feminine charm to get what she needs, she just knows what she wants and works hard to get it.  

By stopping a shipment going to the Red Queen she has set wheels in motion for the Tearling to be invaded, war will be coming but she finds out that there are traitors in her midst and that the shipments may not have stopped, will Kelsea be able to save her people from a fate worse than death as slaves in Mortmesme or are they already doomed with the coming war?

The Queen of the Tearling seems medieval to me but there are little hints that this may not be the case, the populace have come from America it seems, why we aren't told, the biggest hint that this is more modern than it lets on is the books it mentions, Kelsea believes quite rightly so that books are important and manages to get her hands on some, would a medieval library have the complete Harry Potter series, no it wouldn't, this book has a dystopian back bone and I think in the next book we are going to learn more, what has happened to the world.

This is a truly great read, It made me feel a little bereft after reading it! As well as Kelsea her supporting characters are just perfect, Mace her head guard, Pen her bodyguard, The Fetch, her ladies in waiting all have their place, the world that has been created around them is perfect too, it seems European to me and fits the story very well.

If you love Game of Thrones or if you love a "nice" Dystopia this has the best of both worlds for you, a immense new series, I cannot wait to read more.

Awarded 5 out of 5

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