{Review/Vlog} THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen

THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING was one of the 2014 titles with the most buzz!
It was even optioned to be a movie before it was ever published
(Starring Emma Watson, at that!)

The book just came out in paperback, and the sequel comes out in hardcover on June 9th, which is a little over a month away!

To celebrate, I've done a brand-new design vlog taking a look at the paperback edition of this book:

(I also figured out how to make a new video intro. Do you like this style better???)

YouTube Link

(Which cover/design do YOU like better???
I'm curious!!!)

I'm also re-posting my review of the first book.

Stop back in June for my thoughts on THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING!!!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    KELSEA GLYNN SAT VERY STILL, watching the troop approach her homestead. The men rode as a military company, with outliers on the corners, all dressed in the grey of the Tearling royal guard. The riders' cloaks swayed as they rode, revealing their costly weapons: swords and short knives, all of them of Mortmesne steel. One man even had a mace; Kelsea could see its spiked head protruding from his saddle. The sullen way they guided their horses toward the cottage made things very clear: they didn't want to be here.
(Page 1, US hardcover edition)

What's different about THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING is that Kelsea Glynn has always known her destiny. She's not a hidden princess plucked from her ordinary existence as a peasant and thrust into royalty. Instead, she's studied and built the role up in her mind. She's made her mother into something she's not. When her mother dies, Kelsea must put all of her studies to use and repair the broken kingdom she's inherited before it's destroyed by war. There's so much more to being the Queen of the Tearling than Kelsea ever thought possible, both good and bad, and only her actions will decide if she lives or dies, and if her country will rise or fall. 

THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING is one of those books. You will love it or you will hate it. I've heard a lot of mixed things about this one already! I think the reason for the conflicting viewpoints it the way this has been super-marketed. "The next big thing since Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games!" I thought the book was a good start to an immersive new series that I'm interested in continuing. Do I think it's the best book in the entire world? No. But it has so much potential! Is it like the two series referenced? I can see similarities, but it's really its own story. There's so much happening in the first book that it does move slowly at times, but there are other parts that flash past. There's a lot of world-building at play, and I'm looking forward to seeing the story open up and become epic and sprawling in future books. This is one where you'll have to read it and make up your own mind. Don't rely on anyone's review!

One thing I really loved was the way readers were introduced to Tearling history at the start of each chapter. I don't always read the anecdotes that begin a chapter; in this book, I relished seeing each and every one because they enhanced the novel. My other favorite element was a character, the Fetch. His scenes were absolutely my favorite ones, and there's so much more to him than we're seeing right now. I'm looking forward to seeing more and more of him in future books. He absolutely captivated me, and I can see why he blindsided Kelsea right away as well. We didn't see him all that much in the first book, but I can already tell he'll play a big part in the series, and I'm already building theories! I'm glad readers were able to follow his POV a bit, and that the book wasn't 100% from Kelsea's POV. We even saw things through the eyes of villains such as the Red Queen.

Another interesting element that made THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING stand out was the way it read like old-school fantasy, but took place far in the future. I would have believed you if you told me this took place centuries ago...until current literature was referred to as being really old, and modern science such as recessive genes were discussed. Then I realized just how much changed and was lost after the Crossing that changed the world. It took a while to wrap my head around the notion and pulled me out of the book a little at first, but then I thought about it and really appreciated the way a world can come so full-circle. Everyone says that history repeats itself. Here is proof! The world is much darker and more disturbing, which is where, I think, some of The Hunger Games comparisons come into play (but no spoilers!).

THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING is being marketed as an adult fantasy with YA crossover appeal. I can see the appeal, since Kelsea is 17 years old and stepping into a new role in life, which is the type of coming of age story that the YA genre loves most. At the same time, there are a lot of dark issues, adult scenes, and brutality in the book's pages, so I would only recommend this one to older teens mature enough to handle the issues introduced. I was definitely intrigued by this new series and can't wait to see with author Erika Johansen takes us next as she continues fleshing out her world and deepening her characters.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG15+ ( sexual situations )
Language: PG13+ ( I don't remember b/c I read this so long ago, but I'm pretty sure it had language )
Violence: PG15+ ( fighting, death )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This book has a lot of great design in person. It's got the look of a fantasy and the bling that makes you sit up and take notice! 

And it has deckle edging. Be still my heart!!!

Here's a video peeking at this gorgeous book up close and personal:

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Erika Johansen
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Received: For Review

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.

THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of THE HUNGER GAMES, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of THE GAME OF THRONES, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.