REVIEW: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)Information:
Title/Author: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062290366

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

The Queen of the Tearling is a thrilling fantasy by author, Erika Johansen. The series currently includes three full-length novels and a prequel short story. This book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year now, and I am so happy that I decided to get to it this summer. Although it took me numerous days to finish, it was definitely worth the read-through and I can’t wait to read the following two books in the future!

What I loved…

What was there not to love? There are so many marvelous characters and a complex storyline to satisfy. We have a butt-load of powerful females and the violence level was A+!

Something that I really loved about this book was that it didn’t feel like you were reading an adult book. It may be classified as one, but that is only because the main character, Kelsea Raleigh, is nineteen-years-old. But really, this book was more like a mature YA novel. Obviously, there are a lot of violent fight scenes but it is perfect if you are looking into getting into adult fantasy!

Some of the characters were very likeable in this story, especially The Fetch. He was probably the most mysterious character in this story, but also my favorite. Being a thief, he reminded me of an older version of Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. But, there was something about him that made me want MORE of him. He was hardly in the story and I was constantly sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for him to appear.

I also really liked how many powerful girls we had in this novel. Obviously, we had Queen Kelsea, but there were so many others. Andalie, the queen’s maid, has multiple children and still manages to work a full-time job. Milla, the queen’s chef, somehow manages to create to create impressive dishes to feed many hungry men and women. Both of these ladies are examples of people who joined the queen’s side for the benefit of their children.

I absolutely adored Erika Johansen’s writing. There’s this lyrical vibe to it that helps everything flow. As I said above, this book is basically a mature YA novel. Which means… the writing is slightly more adult like. I feel like the writing would be slightly too mature for anyone under fourteen (my age), so I would highly suggest picking this book up past that age.

There was so much fighting in this novel to last me a year! Most YA fantasies don’t have a lot of sword-fighting so this was a great change. There was a lot of violence and killing, which is awesome for a fantasy novel. It just made the story so much more addicting!

What I didn’t like…

How much does it take a girl to find a book with romance in it? This is the fourth book this summer that I have read without romance. I am a romance lover, and although I still enjoyed this book, I would’ve loved a bit of romance in it. But, I have heard that the second book, The Invasion of The Tearling, includes some romance, so I am excited. But the real question is: Kelsea and who? Lazarus is too much of a fatherly figure. I would love to see Kelsea and The Fetch together (yes, I do believe he’s older than her..), but I think that Pen and Kelsea could also work!

There were also so many slow scenes that ended up slowing the book down. Every book has them, but I found that this one had them right after every fight scene. There would be a short, but slow scene that would be like a “recovery time” from the battles. Instead of those “recovery times” I would’ve preferred more battles, more political arguments and more action.

Lastly, I also hated Arlen Thorne. I feel like I should also hate The Mort Queen, but I truly hated Throne’s guts. We didn’t get to know the Mort Queen well enough to shed such hatred. But Throne was an evil villain. He always argued against his queen. He never shed any happiness. But by the end of the story, his TRUE bad side was revealed. Abducting/kidnapping women, children and families isn’t right. Especially when you end up setting the cages on fire! Thorne’s still out there, either in the lands of  the Tear or Mort. Or maybe he went all the way to Cadare. But, I am hoping that Kelsea is the one to murder him.

Favorite quotes…

“Even a book can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and when that happens, you blame the hands, but you also read the book.”

“The future was only disasters of the past, waiting to happen anew.”


The Queen of the Tearling captured my attention throughout the whole novel and I felt myself standing on the tips of my toes at times. This is a story of a young heroine that must be read! I would highly recommend this book to any YA lovers who are beginning to read adult books. It is a great transition book.

I ended up giving this book 4/5 stars. It was amazing and the ending left me totally speechless. I cannot wait to see where Erika Johansen takes us with The Invasion of the Tearling.

Amazon | Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Happy Reading,

5 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

  1. I’ve seen this book around a lot (especially on booktube), but haven’t really read anything about it until now… although I can always go for a little romance in fantasy novels, this sounds like something that I would really like!! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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