Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2014
Summary / Review: On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, nine of the Queen’s Guard arrive at the remote cottage that has been her home to escort her to New London and her new life as Queen of the Tearling. Kelsea’s life with her adoptive parents Barty and Carlin has been secluded. She is a great reader and has been tutored by Carlin in the history of her kingdom and by Barty in basic forest survival skills but she is woefully unprepared in the skills necessary to survive in the political snake-pit she is about to enter. It’s uncertain whether she will even survive the journey. Her uncle has been living large as Regent of the kingdom and is loathe to give up the comfortable life style he’s been enjoying. Fueled by the support of the Red Queen of Mortmesne, his determination to make sure Kelsea is not crowned makes for a difficult journey. The travelers are stalked by the Caden, crimson cloaked assassins that are feared through-out the kingdom and they are attacked by Mort hawks “black as midnight and big as dogs.” Assistance comes in the unlikely form of a masked rogue known as the Fetch who will appear more than once in Kelsea’s life.
The group is splintered and against all odds Kelsea does make it to New London accompanied by the formidable Lazarus (a.k.a. Mace, for the deadly weapon he wields so effectively). Her introduction to the capital is grim. They ride in on the day the tributes are being loaded onto carts to be delivered to the evil Red Queen of Mortmesne. Queen Elyssa, Kelsea’s vain and weak mother, signed the Treaty of Mort obligating the Tearling to provide 3,000 slaves per year, including children, divided into 12 shipments and delivered to Mortmesne . In return, the Red Queen would not invade and destroy the Tearling. Kelsea is enraged and orders the prisoners released and the carts burned. When those that enforce the treaty hesitate to obey the Queen’s commands, we get a glimpse of the power she will learn to use. She has worn the Heir’s Jewel, a sapphire, for as long as she can remember and now she begins to understand what it can do.
Magic jewels will go a long way in helping to make up for political naivete but Kelsea has broken the Treaty and there will be a price to pay.
Queen of the Tearling is the first in a proposed trilogy. The second, Invasion of the Tearling, was released in June. It would be wise to read the book soon before the hold list starts to build. Warner Bros. has acquired film rights to the entire series. Emma Watson has signed on as executive producer and star. The search is on for a cast to bring Johansen’s wonderful characters to life.
Who Will Like This Book: Anyone who enjoys an action packed fantasy with a strong female protagonist.
If You Like This Try This: The Tearling series has been described as a “lighter” version of Game of Thrones. There have also been comparisons to Hunger Games and Divergent because of the strong female characters.
Recommended by: Sue D’Num
If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold