The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: Book Review!
Hello, everyone! I'm back and I'm here to review The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. This is the book of the month for Booksplosion, and if you want to hear more about this book by your favorite Booktubers, watch out for a link on my twitter for their Book Talk. This novel is about Kelsea, a princess who has been hidden away, but now she must come out of hiding and take her place as Queen of the Tearling. That is, if she doesn't get assassinated first. But enough about that. Let's get onto the review!
Let me just say how surprised I am with all the aspects of this book. It takes place in the future. So, we still have scientific advancements and a recognizable history. But something so sever has happened that the feel of the landscape, the customs, and the people are medieval. It's a very interesting take on a young adult book. Plus, there's magic. You can't beat magic. In conclusion, it has science, magic, and a medieval feel set in our future. You want to know how I know it's our particular future? Well, besides the references to both America and England, Kelsea makes some references to popular book titles of our generation. When she first did it, I thought I was loosing it. Then she did it again, and then I did loose it. I won't give you any specifics. Go find out for yourself.
Speaking of Kelsea, let's talk about our heroine. She's been living in seclusion for nineteen years with a couple who were loyal to her mother. She grew up learning how to be a queen without actually meeting anyone. Being cut off from everyone and seeing people who are struggling and have been hurt by the government, Kelsea immediately tries to help out everyone she can. She marches in and shakes up everything, and that causes some backlash, but I have to admire her tenacity.
I'm also liking a lot of the other characters mainly because none of them are entirely good or evil. They've all had their strife, considering that they've all been through a war together. Mace is sneaky in his own right but believes in loyalty. Fetch is a thief but his motives for helping the queen are still unknown. Pen is kind of like a child, but fiercely protects the queen. I could go on and on, but the point is that there are many pawns at play, and we're not entirely sure as to what move they'll make. It was one of the reasons as to why I was reading until three in the morning.
Another aspect that I loved about this book is that it holds nothing back. There have been Young Adult books that have shied away from the gore, sex, and downright brutality that should have been there. This book covers all of that. At first, it was a bit jarring, and I couldn't quite get my head on straight, but as the story developed, I really got the full picture of the world Johansen has created. It's not senseless gore to shock people. The descriptions are world building, and it began to feel more and more real to me.
This book also builds its world on a more meta level. As well as having some literature that we would recognize today, there were also excerpts from books that exist in the book's future. There are poems, history passages, and songs that are placed at the beginning of each chapter that will both give you hope and worry for the book's outcome. It's nice though to get to the end and realize what's been going on. There are also maps at the beginning of the book, which is very nice to see in fantasy books.
With everything said and done, I have to say that this book shocked me, made me cry and laugh, and is now forcing me to wait until June for the next book to come out. In case you haven't guessed, I really love this book. I'm giving this book five out of five wooden cages.
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