The Queen of the Tearling – Review

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen was amazing. I started it, then set it aside because I wasn’t really engaged, but once I passed the first chapter, I could not read this book fast enough. Erika Johansen does a spectacular job of fusing together a number of elements to create this elegant story that was perhaps one of my favorites this year. Set in a time after our own, The Queen of the Tearling was a gem. 

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.


I loved Kelsea. She’s fierce but kind, courageous and most of all, true to her own self. She would rather “die clean” as she says, and she sticks to that principle throughout the book. I loved seeing her progress from Princess Apparent, hidden away in a cottage in the woods into the True Queen, commanding her throne and fighting those who would steal it from her. If you’re looking for a strong ruler as a character, Kelsea is one of the best.

the Fetch was the most interesting character to me. The grimness around him which would suddenly be offset by a good humour was intriguing. I really wish we could have gotten to see more of his character, especially after we get a hint that there’s so much we truly don’t know about him. I’m also really looking forward to seeing how his relationship with Kelsea is going to develop. There’s definitely no insta-love between them, and I’m not even sure there’s a mutual attraction, which only makes this book more unique. The story doesn’t revolve around Kelsea and the Fetch carving their way in the world on their love alone, which is refreshing. Kelsea manages very well on her own, which only adds to her strong character.

The plot was woven seamlessly, and as a reader, we really get a well-rounded view of the story through the different perspectives we see. There’s a range of characters and I never found one of them to be boring, or irrelevant, or tedious. The switch in perspective isn’t overwhelming, but constant enough to give you a kick in the butt and remind you that every story has more than one side.

My favorite element of this book was probably the quotes from various Tear sources at the beginnings of each chapter. Usually I skip over such novelties, but these really lent themselves to the book, and added a subtle depth I could really appreciate.

I’m definitely anxious for the next book, and perhaps, a movie? Exciting!

Favorite Quotes:

I am Death. I come quickly, I come slowly, but I am not cheated. – 86

Even a book can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and when that happens, you blame the hands, but you also read the book. -234


4 thoughts on “The Queen of the Tearling – Review”

  1. Yes, every time I recommended this book I warned them about the beastly long info laden first chapter, and made them swear they would read past it. This was my top book for last year and I still haven’t finished tweeking my review of it. I received Invasion of the Tearling from EW, bit have two review books I have to finish before I can start reading it. TORTURE!


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