17 February 2015

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Within the first page or two of THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING I had a pretty severe WTF?! moment. The main character mentioned Christmas.

You have to understand: THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING is presented as pure fantasy, complete with a cottage in the woods, fostered royalty, magic, and all that.

But what you come to realize fairly quickly - if you are a careful reader and you have an open mind - is that this isn't fantasy set in a world all its own. This is something different. Something new (to me, at least): a post-apocalyptic fantasy.

I struggled for a long time about whether this constituted a spoiler or not, but I don't think it does. Things are peppered early on that let you know it. Still, when I rated the book on Goodreads I couldn't help noticing a number of people who were really angry about it.

I don't really get that. It's not like it came out of left field; it was built up slowly and surely from the beginning.

Anyway. That's just one aspect of the novel, but one that seems to drive a lot of passions.

I don't read a lot of fantasy these days, but I still have a deep love for it, and I very much enjoyed THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING.

The main character, Kelsea, is the heir to the throne of Tear, and has been living in isolation with her two foster parents for nineteen years. Now it's time for her to ascend the throne, and the novel starts with the arrival of the guards who will deliver her to the capital.

Things do not, of course, go well.

Tear is a troubled kingdom, as Kelsea soon finds out, desperately in need of a Queen, and the thrust of the book is watching Kelsea learn how to be the person her kingdom needs to be.

There weren't very many surprises or twists along the narrative, nothing (aside from the setting) that leapt out at me as being radically different from fantasies past. But it was a good, solid story, with relatable characters, and I am looking forward to the sequel.