The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)
Recieved as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Finished reading it yesterday and taken a break since but do intend to move onto House of the Four Winds, but now moving onto the review!

Quickie Review: 1.5/5 Stars
Now I know this rating appears out of the norm of what the book has been recieving, especially seen as it got so much hype and a movie deal even before it was released! But once I finished reading this, I went onto GoodReads and from what I’ve seen on there fits more to what I’ve expereinced with this book compared to what it’s technically getting. But moving onto the details – I’m trying to get into a ‘write better and long reviews thing, so here goes…

Plot: [According to the blurb/GoodReads] Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding… And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive…


Firstly, I feel like this book is marketed WRONG; I felt it has no comparison to either The Hunger Games (besides there being a female protagonist) nor A Game of Thrones (besides switching viewpoints)! Many places have been marketing it as YA which it really isn’t < for starters, the character is 19 years old! Also NO where, even on NetGalley, does it tell you that it’s technically an our-world dystopian set 300 years in the future but just happens to be where magic is real. Not knowing this going in was a serious negative and jilt on my reading experience and ultimately affected my rating and in general, not knowing this going in makes the reader very confused and actually lessens the books experience.

The small positives here; I did enjoy the plot, the actual premise of the, the writing style was simple and easy/quick to read – though that could also be seen as a negative but she’s a debut author so I give her room to improve and strengthen her writing style – and enjoyed the fact that there was no insta-relationship or romance.

However, I felt no real connection or interest in the characters minus three (Fetch, Red Queen and Thomas) – and even now I don’t really care to know what happened to them but at the time they were interesting me enough to be engaged when they were ‘on screen’ –, I felt the pacing was slow and felt nothing ever really happening and in the end I was like ‘what did happen besides a lot of travelling and a lot of waiting around?!’ and the world building was very off < this goes back to the fact that we are not told this is an our-world dystopian and therefore you’re told about ‘New London’ and ‘The Crossing’ etc you’re just like ‘where the fuck is this taking place then?!’.

To be super picky; this book had a lot of ‘telling and not showing’ which I don’t like, unless you’re Tolkien describing a scenery for me intricately. I don’t want to be told ‘The Red Queen hated snoring’ I want to be shown please ‘her angry swelled up to the top of her head and her fists clenched tightly. A pig snort escaped his nose once again.’ Get what I mean?! Also, no expert or anything, but saw quite a bit of active-voice being shown, which I’ve been told is a no-no in writing; you use the passive voice. Not ‘standing’ but ‘stood’ etc.

I would like to add that my ARC did not have a map so I had another disadvantage there also. I, unfortunately, found a lot of negatives and didn’t enjoy the way I was anticipating, especially with Emma Watson being cast for the movie – who btw does NOT fit Kelsea’s description at all.

Kelsea is described as; a round, plain face with dark colouring and an eye colouring Emma Watson doesn’t have and with also a bit of weight to her AKA curvy or fat depending on how you picture her. << This is not a role that fits Emma Watson, who I am a huge fan of and I’ve not known her to take a crappy role in a movie yet, this could be it.

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Emma Watson couldn’t be plain or heavy on the weight even if she tried! She’s gorgeous ❤

Also jesus, Kelsea is a self-centered bitch < that’s all I’m gunna say. WARNING: Rant coming up! Also, I found her character very unrealistic; if you’re brought up in a family of two people and they are the only two people you ever see or speak to, then suddenly one day 20 men cladded in metal armour turn up; you aren’t going to talk to them are you?! The way she was just ‘socially fine’ talking to 20, 50, 2000 people straight away, I just couldn’t disband disbelief. Also, in a matter of a day or two she goes from ‘I love my mother, she was an amazing queen’ to ‘fuck her, she never did anything good’. If you idolise someone you’ve never met for almost 20 years and happen to be your own mother, you don’t switch over-night that fecking easily! O and jesus christ, how impatient she is – sorry that it’s suddenly turned into a rant =/ this is the end of the review so tis fine to quit here… – I’m sorry but she gets angry at every. little. thing. and it’s like ‘for fucks sake, you’re nearly 20 years old and you don’t know how to sort your anger out? And where the fuck did it come from?! You had a safe, happy childhood with two people who loved you, ANY scientist would tell you that being brought up in that environment should not create such a personality in a child. And if Johansen writes about her biting her cheek to stop her from being verbally angry one more time – I was gunna go mental! Moving on from that, she judged EVERYONE on how they looked, ‘Oh a Guard! Oh he’s attractive’ not ‘I hope he’s a swordsman and can protect me’ whatta dumbass. The fucks sake lassie, you’re 19 years old. Most people move away from puberty and self-conciousness by the time they’re 16! – at least they’re more mature about it and such by that age, in England at least, which I think this book is actually set in cos y’know ‘New London’ and all that. OH! And the technology! Now I am not a scientist at all, almost failed science in HS, but she’s living in a time that’s way before 19th century standard; surely more advanced science and technology is needed for things like transplants and contraception pills?! Yet they have them! Where from? No effing clue.

With all it’s problems, I almost lemmed it at 35% because of the bad marketing and lack of genre definition is both marketing and blurb and all it’s other problems but I carried on; because it was an ARC.

Sorry if this wasn’t the review you were looking for, I’m sorry it didn’t fit in with the hype – my opinions 80% never do =/

3 thoughts on “The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

  1. Thanks for writing! I enjoyed the rant, good to hear about the book from your perspective. I feel like I have only heard positive things so you’re providing some balance! It would be a shame if Emma Watson is taking on a dud role!

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