Book Review

Review – The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johnson

I saw this book on Overdrive and thought it sounded interesting, so I added it to my wishlist and finally got around to reading it.

18689428Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

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. (Goodreads)

I give The Queen of the Tearling 2.5 out of 5 stars

***This review contains some spoilers***

Honestly, as I sit here typing this review, I’m still not sure how I feel about this book.

I liked the description of the book, and that’s why I picked it up. But something about the story was lacking all the way through. I never really connected with Kelsea, and I didn’t feel particularly compelled to keep reading, even though I did finally finish it. I felt like the story was long, and the pacing was excruciatingly slow. Oh hey, something’s about to happen, but first, let me have a long memory/flashback….

Also, Kelsea really lacked the self-confidence that might have done some good for gaining interest from me as the reader. I understand how Carlin had worked hard to make sure Kelsea didn’t turn out to be vain, but that is certainly not the same thing. I felt like her brief flashes of confidence at various places were quite at odds with her typical character.

This was an extremely long read to realize that the ending wrap-up was just the wrap-up of the conflict of Kelsea becoming queen. I’d have like to have seen a little more than that, but I guess that’s where the future book(s?) come into play.

This Goodreads review by Jamie from Books and Ladders is much more specific on some of the problems with this story, that are much more elaborated (but on point) than my general “meh”-ness about this book.


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