Monday, 23 June 2014

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

GoodReads Summary: On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

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Publication date: 08/07/14

Despite flying through The Queen of the Tearling, I had some issues with it. My main issue was with the mc, Kelsea. She is described as being plain, and her constant whining about this really got on my nerves. I mean, Alina from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is also described as plain, and although she has moments of insecurity at least she doesn't go on about it. Further to this, some of the things Kelsea thought and said rubbed me the wrong way. Here are some examples:
How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive?
Um, what? This made me so angry, because so what if you're old and care about how you look? Personally, if I saw an old women like that I would think 'good for you' not why is she even bothering.
Kelsea saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.
I mean, really? Ugly people can't have confidence, is what you're basically saying.

There is also this point in the book where basically orders her guards to snatch a tiara of a noble she does not like the look of. I did not care for this judgmental side of hers. Furthermore, at another point she demands that her guards go rescue her collection of books, despite the fact that 1) the journey would be very dangerous for them and 2) she can't afford to lose any of them. As a book lover myself, I get wanting to save books, but would I put lives at risk in order to retrieve them? No. There's being stubborn, and then there's being a stupid brat.


Despite all this, however, Kelsea wasn't completely unlikable. I admired her strength and her desperate need to save her land. Plus, there are two more books to come, so there is definitely room for development. 

Although there is no romance in this book, Kelsea does have a crush on an intriguing and mysterious character. When she meets this character he bluntly points out that she is too plain for him, but as the story progresses it seems he is continually surprised by her. Although if his growing interest/respect for her is of a romantic nature it's hard to tell. Even though I did not care for Kelsea's crush on him, because in my opinion she did not know him well enough to form such a crush, I'm curious to see which direction their relationship goes in future books.

Apart from the guy Kelsea is crushing on, another fascinating character is the Red Queen, a tyrant who rules the nearby land of the Mortmesme, and who I guess is the ultimate villain.

The world building in the The Queen of the Tearling is a little weird, and although I didn't have a problem with it I can certainly see why some might. The strange fantasy world melds together three concepts: historical, future, and modern.  For example, there's mentions of castles and horsing riding, but also of more modern stuff like the Harry Potter series. It's confusing and undeveloped (I have many questions, like how did the world come to be the way it is?), but as I said before there are two more books to come, so hopefully the world building will be built upon and better explained in future books.
  
The Queen of the Tearing is far from perfect. However, if you were to ask if I'm going to pick up the sequel  my answer would be yes, because even though I can't say I loved it, I did enjoy it. 

Rating:

19 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, I don't think I would like the MC at all.
    Thanks for the honest review.

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  2. I was very iffy on reading this because of all the mixed reviews, and your review still makes me hesitant to read it! I feel like the MC and the world-building might bug me. But I didn't know Emma Watson is set to star in the film version! That's kind of exciting - maybe if the film looks really good I'll force myself to read this. :)

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  3. I've been seeing different ratings for this book all over the place, I don't even know what to think anymore! I have an eARC of this, so I may just have to pick it up for myself. EWW, Kelsea sounds so awful!! Who says things like that? That is just rude and so selfish! However, I'm glad she had SOME redeeming qualities. And the romance in this book sounds... different, for sure. I hope it develops into something that is more genuine and real, rather than a meager crush. I'll have to check this one out for sure. Thanks for your honest thoughts, Renu!

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  4. Amazing review sweetie. <3 I'm very glad you enjoyed this book. But sorry you didn't love it :\ I do need to read it very soon; and I'm a little worried. Because of the no romance :( I loooooove romance, lol. But hoping I might enjoy it still, lol. But this worries me too. Sigh. I HATE THIS QUOTE. "Kelsea saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful." It pisses me off so much. Sigh. But still. Anyway. Amazing review, yes. <3 Thank you for sharing :)

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  5. Uh oh. I was planning to read this one pretty quick here and that is definitely NOT what I wanted to hear about the MC. I need to like the protag to like the book, so we'll see what I think when I read it then... at least she wasn't all bad. I think I will lower my expectations a bit now though.

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  6. Great review, Renu! I think this a series I'm gonna hold off on until more books are released. Especially since the romance won't pick up until later, and a love triangle possibility could definitely crop up. I've heard very mixed things about it, and I agree, the worldbuilding sounds weird. :/

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  7. Hmmm, this has generated a lot of early buzz, but yours is actually the first review I've read of it ... and I'm not impressed. I hate bratty MC's who obsess over looks! Also, the worldbuilding sounds weird and the romantic interest doesn't sound very charming. I'll wait for other reviews of this one before deciding whether to give it a try, I guess. At this point though, I'm passing on it.

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  8. Protagonists that harp on their plainness or inability to stand out really grate on my nerves. I like to call it the Bella Swan complex. It literally destroys me. I love the premise for this one, but it sounds like it has some quirks, so I'm not sure I'm sold! Great honest review though, Renu!

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  9. She sounds annoying, insecure and juvenile. I am rolling my eyes, over how annoying this girl is. I agree with you on the books thing, even if I am a book lover, if I have to choose between saving people's lives vs books, I'll choose to save other people. Love your honesty. :D

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  10. Wow, it sounds like there's a lot of emphasis on how you look/being pretty. The MC sounds a bit... annoying. And yeah, why can't you be old and still care about your appearance? O.o

    Lovely review, Renu! <33

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  11. I saw this one around and it sounded so amazing. I really wanted to read it but now I'm not so sure. Yeah plain is not something I have problems with by whiny for sure is. Those two quotes show that. So sorry that it wasn't as good as you hoped. Great review :)

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  12. Oh wow! I don't even know what to say anymore. I'm very excited for this book, but Kelsea seems... hard to get with. Of course, there is room for character development (six more books! Eeep!), but it will be a challenge to like this girl at first. I'm going to wait for more reviews before buying this then. :)

    Awesome review, Renu! :)

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  13. I'm currently reading this book and so far, I like Kelsea. I think there is indeed need to more background explanation of the world, but like you said: there will be enough books to provide that. I definitely see this on the big screen :D

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  14. I have the same reaction to an older person trying to still keep up their appearance. I'm happy they make the effort! There's nothing better than seeing an older woman age and still look elegant and graceful! I get why you had problems with Kelsea. She sounds very selfish and immature. Nice to hear that she is not completely horrible, though and in spite of your issues you still managed to fly through the book and enjoy it somewhat. Great honest review, Renu! :)

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  15. Hmm! Kelsea sounds quite shallow and immature, but sometimes I can look past that, if the rest of the story is good ;)

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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  16. I completely understand flying through a book and yet having lots of problems with it. Kelsea does seem awfully judgemental and I definitely agree with you on the issues you picked out. I was planning to read this and probably still will, be it won't be top priority. Interesting the film rights for the whole series have already been acquired! I'll definitely have to read it before the first film is out. Thanks for the great review! :)

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  17. I had the same trouble with Kelsey, though in other moments I really liked her. Too bad she spent every other thought considering her body image. The world building was hard for me. I though it was a cool concept, but I had too many questions about it to feel comfortable with it. A mysterious land mass pops up on earth? Is the rest of the planet missing? I'm intrigued by this romance, though I personally think that the Fetch is not human, and possibly the fire demon who visits the Red Queen near the end. If so, that concerns me a great deal. I'm curious to see where this goes, but it wasn't a favorite of mine either.

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  18. Hmmm I feel as though I'd be really frustrated with this one, Renu. I want to love the idea of it, but I've seen such mixed reviews on the characters and the world-building. Lovely thoughts!

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  19. Ah I was SO excited for this too, I think I may give it a shot still, but the MC sounds very frustrating! Great review hun, I definitely won't be running to the bookstore the day it's released now lol. Thanks for sharing! (:

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