Sunday 27 July 2014

Book Review: The Queen Of The Tearling; Erika Johansen.

Alright, I didn't get my post about my holiday up today, but I did manage to finish this book and get a review prepared, so that's something, right? I was eager to get this one finished and share my very mixed thoughts so here goes. I'm entering it into challenges too, namely the Key Words challenge, and the Monthly Motif challenge, as well as the Jumble Your Genres challenge too.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Queen Of The Tearling
AUTHOR: Erika Johansen
SERIES: The Queen Of The Tearling (#1)
PUBLISHER: Transworld Digital
PAGES: 380
GENRE: Fantasy, Adult, Adventure, Dystopian

RATING: 3/5 Stars

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.

What I Liked:
  • The story-line I actually really enjoyed. It reads like a High Fantasy, and I was totally sucked into the world of The Tearling and Mortmesne, and enjoyed the multiple viewpoints from various characters. It was broken up into fairly lengthy chapters which I felt could have been shorter, but the pacing of the book was really good and I was hooked from start to finish, which can only be a good thing.
  • The characters were really well-written. They were unique and distinguishable, and I did get attached to them as the story went on. The lead character, Kelsea, grew on me the more I read of her and I thought she was a pretty nice heroine for the story. The Fetch was probably my favourite character, he was mysterious and balanced carefully on the line between good and bad. I was never completely sure of his intentions or back-story, yet found myself really liking him all the same! I can't wait to read more of him and delve deeper.
What I Disliked:
  • The constant references to beauty in this novel grated on me a little. I've read many novels where the heroine is considered plain, or even ugly, and it disadvantages them sometimes. But this book seemed to thrust Kelsea considering herself to be ugly and wallowing in self-pity a fair amount. I wished after a while it would focus on other things.
  • The setting was a little confusing and totally threw me off. As I said, it was written as if set in a Medieval word with swords and horses and castles, mixed with an element of fantasy and magic. So you can imagine my surprise when suddenly, Kelsea knew all about Genes and the way they worked, and reference was made to the Harry Potter series. What on earth? It seems that our story is set in an era after our own, but society seems to have regressed instead of advancing. This would all be fine, except there is no context or history given to speak of so it felt very strange and I didn't understand the necessity.
  • At times the writing felt inconsistent. It would be interesting and really nicely written at some points, then would feel wrong or not quite finished at others. I wish the level of detail had remained high at all points, perhaps I would have appreciated the references to our present, or the book world's past, a little more.
Overall Conclusion:
Having seen so many mixed reviews, I was a little unsure about picking this one up. It has many good points, including a promising story-line that hooked me from page one, and memorable characters that I actually liked! There were a few bad things however. The setting felt off and confusing, the slightly unoriginal 'female heroine who isn't gorgeous but doesn't care though actually, she does a bit' got a little irritating after a while. As well as that I felt the writing style could have been more consistent at times. The fact that this book had me turning each page with glee says something though, and I am looking forward to reading the next one!

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