Monday, November 21, 2016

For The Better World

"I put my trust in fiction."
--Erika Johansen, The Fate of the Tearling

: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 496
Publication Date: November 29th, 2016
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Previous Books in Series: The Queen of the Tearling & The Invasion of the Tearling
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon 

My Thoughts
The Belle
Reviewing the final book in a series is always difficult for me. I want to talk about all the things but I also don't want to give away any spoilers, so per usual my feels will be vague but as direct as possible without giving anything away...and trust me, there are so many great and exciting things that happen in this book I want to be SO detailed and talk about it all but I can't. So here goes...
I was beyond excited to start this final book. I have loved this series since its inception. Kelsea is character who is so amazing I cannot say enough good things about her. She is inspiring, smart, honest, and kind-hearted. She thinks of others before herself no matter the consequences and she is empathetic. That has never been shown more than in this installment. No spoilers, but Kelsea's ability to see the person beneath who they show the world and all their faults and past sins is incredible. I love her beyond words. I love who she becomes over the course of these books. She is not perfect and she knows it. She does her best to think for the good of her people.

While I could fangirl about Kelsea all day we have other things to talk about. The plot and conflict of the story shifts in a direction I didn't exactly see it going. We have another enemy at the gates and this one is...different. The more I think about it the more I'm kind of unsure how I feel about this shift. I didn't hate it, it felt organic but I also kind of wish certain things didn't progress as they did because of it's results. I know I'm talking in riddles but read the book and we can discuss further. Bottom line. Different direction than I anticipated but regardless, it was still true to the story and how it all turned out in the end.

Speaking of the end, I wanna get this out of the way and say this. It's...shocking. It's something that I didn't expect at all. It took awhile to fully wrap my head around the implications and nuances of it but at the end of the day the end was what it should have been. I do think a lot of people are going to have issues with it and that's their prerogative. I thought the ending was risky and brilliant and very true to the overall and consistent theme of the book. I also think the revelations of some key secrets felt a little underwhelming but thus is life as the author points out in her note.

That theme being the past is important. I loved the flashbacks in Invasion of the Tearling. They were some of my favorite chapters because I loved seeing how the world got to where it did and what pushed William Tearling to make the Crossing and try to create a better world. We get even more flashbacks from a different perspective this time. So many questions are answered. I cannot say enough how much I loved seeing the beginnings of the world of the Tearling. Watching how everything went down and how the past helped Kelsea shape the future was incredible.

It was also...melancholic. At the end of the day, seeing the true events of the Tearling history and how it went down was heart-breaking. It was so sad and scary to see how easy populations are manipulated into fear and exclusion. Watching characters I came to know and love in Invasion and how their lives turned out really hurt my heart at times. But at the same time I loved that Johansen went there. She tells the story that needs to be told and it was difficult one. I'm actually getting emotional just thinking about it right now! Wow, seriously, this series is incredible and that's a testament to the writing and storytelling to make me feel this way.

The past is important and the greater good for the better world is what is at stake in this final book. I thought Johansen did an incredible job tying it all together. I loved that she explored the complexities of human emotions. The idea of for the greater good of a better world has never come into play more as well as a dose of be careful what you wish for. I loved that this idea was touched on with both Kelsea and William. Humans are complicated creatures and sometimes emotions come into play and you put your loved ones and your own emotions above that greater good and that's okay. It's understandable as a human to look out for your loved ones. Gah, I wish I could go into more detail but I could flail about this book forever.

End note. A TON of stuff happens in this book that I haven't even talked out. I managed to write a hell of a lot in the most vague terms and even I'm surprised at this. Like what have I even been talking about but also not talking about. I digress. Read this series. It's incredible.

Backstage Pass
If you love strong heroines, intricate plot points, and the importance of the past...this book is for you.


  1. I know we've already talked about how I felt about The Fate of the Tearling! Like you, I'm still a bit unsure of some aspects of it. However, I think it was a truly strong ending overall.

    1. Agreed! The more I think about it the more the writing was on the wall and the setup was there and it was the thing that made sense but still bittersweet!


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