BOOK REVIEW: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

you can find the book at:

GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

goodreads summary:

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.

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.

my review:

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

All signs point to The Queen of the Tearling to be one of the best books ever. An epic fantasy with a huge film adaptation with Emma Watson as the potential main star/ producer and one of the highest sums ever paid to a debut author– When I began to read this book, I started thinking this was going to recieve 5 stars from me.

But then I read the book.

Johansen’s writing is decent but the novel is filled with moments where nothing happens yet everything is described in excruciating detail – The actual storyline took up 40% of the book while the rest of the space was filled with as many words as possible so that there’s enough to make it to the end.The potential in Johansen’s future-medieval world is endless, and yet the history and implications literally made no sense.

I wanted a world of magic, creatures, witches, and everything that relates to “fantasy”. Instead, what I got is is an unlikeable, problematic heroine. The author has stated that in TQOFT she wanted to create a strong heroine who isn’t perfect but it seems through the attempt to create an “imperfect” character they literally did what they didn’t want to achieve: fairly typical, bland YA protagonist.

The world building is confusing as hell. This is a weird attempt of making a dystopian world, that is somewhat set in the medieval ages. Apparently, for some reason, the story takes place a couple of hundred years from now, where technology and human advancement don’t exist anymore. This book has the church, doctors (actually there’s only two) but these people fight with swords and the feminist movement just doesn’t exist anymore. So are you telling me that hundreds of years from now, we’re going to abandon technology and human rights for all this?? How are these people surviving so easily with no electricity, but they have copies of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Humanity is far too advance to not use such things any more, and it should be much more difficult for them to start from scratch. It didn’t make sense how people knew these things existed, but wouldn’t use them, yet heroin and organ transplants were common

I also have the biggest problem with Kelsea. As Queen, she should have some common sense but in reality, Kelsea sends soldiers in search of books, putting her kingdom at risk if the enemy attacked. Okay, I love books and would defend them at any cost but I would at least wait until I’ve settled down or at least fixed some problems in my kingdom first (I should also mention there in an impending war but no this girl would rather sit down and copy books than actually address the kingdom’s current problems with her advisors.) Her guards are as equally clueless as Kelsea. They literally don’t know how to protect her. She gets kidnapped, almost killed by an assassin, and knifed in the back. But her guards are literally no where to be seen?

Throughout the book, Kelsea does nothing but complain about how boring, ugly and fat she is and longs to be pretty. She becomes envious of those who are naturally beautiful or older people who are comfortable with how they look. In response, Kelsea finds it fun to mock everyone for how they look…

What does she see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive? (…) she saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.

Because how dare anyone who isn’t conventionally attractive have confidence in themselves and want to look good (like shut up kelsea you took her damn crown first wtf) There are just so many things wrong with that one sentence. I hate the way Kelsea is written in a way that there is no possible way we are supposed to hate her. Everyone on the planet likes her, except anyone who is evil. Every single person values her courage and genuinely treats her like everything she does is so amazing. When the author literally created a world where everyone has problems is so unlikeable, it makes her look good.

In most fantasy novels, its common to attack religion but honestly, there is a point where you say you should probably stop.

“(…) If you can tolerate my arguments, you’re free to minister to or convert any other occupant of this Keep, not excepting the pigs and chickens.”
“You make sport of my religion, Lady,” (…)
“I make sport of all things inconsistent, Father.”

*

Andalie pursed her lips (…), “I’m not a religious woman, Lady. I’m sorry if it pains you, but I believe in no god, and even less do I believe in any church.”

*

“How do you expect anyone to believe in your God in these times?”
“I believe in my God, Majesty.”
“Then you’re a fool.”

We get it, you don’t believe in God, and you think everyone who does is stupid. But it doesn’t need to shoved into my face every 5 seconds. (I remember in my update, I made comment about it seems silly that only Christianity seems to be the only surviving religion but honestly, I’m glad Islam wasn’t involved in this novel, because I wouldn’t have wanted see how she portrayed Islam in this if this was how Christianity was being treated.)

Overall, a disappointing read to something that had the potential to be amazing.

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5 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

      1. I think some editors/publishers just wash their hands of it, thinking it’s the author’s problem. Which is why I went indie, in the end – find good editors yourself, and sometimes you’ll get a better result than if you went with a big publishing house!

        Liked by 1 person

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