Erika Johansen: The Queen of the Tearling

This book has received quite some hype in the past few months, with the YouTube book community raving about how good this work of fantasy is. It was only when I needed to find a good book to read that I decided I would give the first book in the series a try; and, in my opinion, the fantasy genre has been lacking in the past few years with Game of Thrones dominating the market and setting a high standard for those yet to come.

The Queen of the Tearling follows 19 year old Kelsea Raleigh who is the heir to the Tearling throne. In her journey to reclaim what is rightfully hers she faces death threats, creates friends and enemies, rights wrongs, and develops into a Queen. I found the character of Kelsea very compelling with great likability; she was relatable with her stubborn nature, sharp witticisms and the way she developed as a character.

One thing I really loved about the opening to the series was the way in which the world of the Tearling was represented. A lot of the information is given to us through dialogue between Kelsea and her guards, the Fetch, and other main characters. With this representation and the way in which Kelsea responds to finding out about the country she will rule, you understand the ways in which she responds seeing it through her eyes and anticipating her replies. What called out to me the most was the way in which the land of the Tearling came about. It is essentially a world set after the present day but reverted back to the ways of the past with things such as narcotics being eradicated pre-Crossing to the new world, and doctors drowning during the crossing. I found this the most interesting due to my keen interest in settings that are set in the past with a more modest lifestyle to what we have today.

Johansen’s writing style is truly terrific. I never once felt bored whilst reading the novel and was hooked straight from the beginning. There is the right balance of action, dialogue, and progressive scenes that provide a large amount of information crucial to understanding Kelsea’s situation. It’s not over the top description but there is enough of it that it is easy to imagine the grandeur of the Keep and other settings, and the nature of alternative characters really shines through.

I have described this as a binge-read book. It is a book that cannot be put down for long periods of time and one that I found myself itching to read whenever I did. The only downside of a binge-read book is the pace at which I was reading, and I regret reading it so fast but I am greatly looking forward to buying the rest of the series.


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