Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Queen for Humanity

"Stories moved Kelsea most, 
stories of things that never were, 
stories that transported her beyond the changeless world of the cottage."
--Erika Johansen, The Queen of the Tearling

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 448
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Description

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.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen


Move over people, there is a new head bitch in town. Kelsea. Is. Kick. Ass. Raised by foster parents and hidden away until her 19th birthday when she can ascend the throne, Kelsea is plain, cut off from what is going on in the kingdom she is supposed to take over, and confused more than anything. She wants to be a good Queen and rule with justice but she has no idea how to go about it...yeah, that lasts for about 30 seconds. While she continues to question her actions and wonders what consequences will become of said actions, Kelsea leads with her heart and morals. She lives by the court of humanity and acts accordingly. Her choices are difficult but obvious to her in the sense that she is eliminating as much suffering as she can when she comes upon the horrors that have wracked this country for years. I loved this about it. There was a lot of consideration in her choices but at the end of the day she did what she had to do to keep her people safe. AND she does not back down. I loved seeing her come into her own with her Guard and men everywhere who doubted her intelligence.


We all know how much I love a good Captain of the Guard...and Mace is no exception. He does his job with skill and efficiency. He knows what to do in a crisis. He will protect Kelsea no matter the odds. I love this about it. He has his faults as well, which make me love him even more. He is not perfect but expects himself to be. He has hidden demons and secrets, too. I can't wait to uncover those....I also may or may not want to ship him with Kelsea...he's the front-runner but my vote is still out...

The Story 

I loooooved how this story evolved and what happened in it. I loved seeing Kelsea make difficult decisions for the good of her people. I loved seeing her being snarky towards her evil and stupid Uncle. The world of Mortmesne is still a mystery and their Queen even moreso. The evil that lurks inside her and how she came to be is fascinating as it is terrifying. I cannot wait for more of this part of the story to be unveiled. What else? OH! WHO IS KELSEA'S FATHER!? I NEED TO KNOW! Sorry...not really...but this aspect I am also dying to know.

The World and the Unknown 

There is this cloud of mystery surrounding this world and how it came to be. There is no technology in the way we have it now but the book is clearly in the future. They reference JK Rowling and modern medicine we have today but that they don't have anymore. They call places New Europe and New London and I am fascinated and beyond intrigued by how this world came to be. And who is the Fetch?! Is there magic in this world? Who can wield it? I want the next book because I want more answers! Gah!!

The Ode to Readers 

Kelsea is an avid reader. One of her first goals after getting to the Keep is to fill her room with books. She loves them and can't get enough of them. Hearing her talk about her love of reading made me love her even more. I love when authors do this with their characters. It's like they're thanking the reader right in print because it gives us something to connect to because chances are if you're reading, you like to read.

The Romance 

There wasn't one. And I'm not in any way downgrading this book because of it. It says something that I freaking loved it and there was no kissing but...will there be kissing?...Please?! I ship Kelsea with three top contenders and I would love it going any way. I did really like that the focus of the story was on Kelsea and her reign rather than her heart, I really did. But future books...maybe?
Backstage Pass
I had actual tears streaming down my face at the end of this book. It is so inspiring and Kelsea is an AMAZING character. I cannot wait to see where the rest of her story goes and what she does during her reign.


  1. This book looks really good. But now after your review I NEED IT RIGHT THIS SECOND. *runs to bookstore* Seriously this sounds amazing. The fact that there was no romance and you still loved it as much as you did definitely says something. And it's set in the future??? I didn't realize that! Now I need it even more. I am very intrigued. Great review!

  2. I'm pretty sure I need to see a romance blossom for Kelsea! The only problem is I can't decide WHO it should be with. I'm honestly in love with this story, and excited to see how Johansen will continue it. Kelsea needs to continue being badass, we have to learn more about her world + the kingdoms and I want to know how everything will go down with the queen!

  3. I loved this book so much too!! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!!! I think it's one of the best fantasy books, and I have read quite a bit of that genre. I can't wait to see the film adaptation. I hope it lives up to the book.

    Amanda @ Of Spectacles and Books

  4. I agree with everything you said. I could care less if there is a romance but a little kissing doesn't hurt either. I think Kelsea was amazing. I too loved watching her make decisions and fight for her people and try to be a damn good Queen. I freaking loved this book!


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