The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was completely torn with this one. A part of me wanted to give it 4 stars. The rest of me wanted to give it 1.5 to 2 stars. This is a book that bad POTENTIAL. And I do not mean the kind of potential where the plot sounds intriguing or the spin of the story is unique. It is not. I mean that the execution of the storyline had potential. Here is an example of what I mean.

My ex was a lout. He was selfish and lazy and, on occasion because of the previous two failings, he could be emotionally cruel. Not deliberately cruel, but that hardly mattered because it was not me he cared about so much as the comfort of being in a committed relationship. But just when I told that I was done, he would someone know that I had reached the limit of his bullshit and do something incredibly kind and thoughtful. It was always just enough to make me wonder if I was not giving him time enough to figure himself out. If I was not the one being unkind.

That is this book. I would be bored. Or wonder when the heck the point would be coming around. I would be about to put the book down, and then WHAM! It would show something incredibly intriguing and I had to continue on. And the way it played out in the telling has made me wonder if the author had trouble finding her legs. The plot began to speed up and things did fall in place much more easily toward the end of the novel.

But I do wish that it had not been 700+ FREAKING pages of finding the right story to tell us!

I think that I will be reading the next installment. However I will not give the author too much more rope. The conclusion of the book let itself to a few plots the author had chosen; but she will need to decide what story she wants o tell us quickly or lose my interest.

The mark of a true hero is that the most heroic of his deeds is done in secret. We never hear of it. And yet somehow,my friends, we know.

I found this quote ironic as the parts of this story are written in chronicle-esque type fashion. The beginning of each chapter, actually. And in addition, the whole point of the beginning of Kelsea’s reign was to make a splash in a huge way that had nothing to do with her mother.

In a dystopia world were all technology seems to have been lost hundreds of years before, Kelsea has just turned 19 and that means that she has become of age to take her rightful place as ruler in a corrupt kingdom. Naturally, because it is corrupt, NO ONE in power wants to see her live to take that place. That is why she has spent the entirety of her life in hiding and under strict isolation. Now she must race the assassins chasing after her and become crowned for a kingdom she really knows nothing about.

And here we begin with my first observation: lengthy travel time. I felt like the traveling would not end. We were a good three days into boring campfire meals and the discomfort of traveling amongst men when something FINALLY happened. And I mean it about the three days…freaking too many mundane details. Chapters of mundane. BORING chapters filled with Kelsea trying to wrangle information about her mother from men who swore an oath not to give it. Something like,

“I wanna know about my mother.”
“But I am your queen!”
“But I want to know.”
“But how can I rule if I do not know?”

And on it goes. Honestly she started sounding like a cross between a petulant child and seeming like a dog with a bone. Then, mercifully, someone tried to kill her and that ended that slog. Sort a.

So many forces were at work against the Glynn Queen that she might have been a rock outcropping in God’s ocean, worn down by the inexorable tide. Instead, as history shows, she shaped herself.

And so she is shaping herself. After she is unexpectantly saved, spared, and challenged by the King of Thieves with a grudge against her uncle- the Regent who wants her dead- Kelsea makes it to the castle just in time to see the horrific results of her mother’s reign. And then this untried girl makes a split second decision that will set her kingdom on the path for war…a war they cannot win.

So now she has to prove herself, stay alive, and win a war against an invading force that thoroughly spanked them the last time. And she gets to do it with the handful of men that came and got her without an ounce of loyalty earned from any of them. Only their oaths (very King Arthuresque us our Queen’ Guard) and personal honor keep them at her side.

And many chapters after that with still no war and still no movement in more policy changes and still more day-to-day humdrum, her guard and her people start to see something in her. The same thing that inspired a King of Thieves to rescue her and let her walk away from his camp having seen who he is. POTENTIAL. Bravery. Kindness. POTENTIAL.

-Enter In- Connniving nobles, blood sucking officials, slave traders, an immortal and all-powerful queen, and a church who want control of the kingdom.

Oh yes. Our girl will be lucky to reach 20. However she has a secret of her own. A secret that even she does not know. Twin necklaces that give her visions of the present and the past and a power the dwells in her anger. But will it be enough to overcome the hordes of corruption around her?

Good question. I could not tell you. Because the book was so BLOODY long with only hints ar various plots. That was the frustrating part. At the end of a well written novel I expect good world building, character growth,and a singular main plot line with a series of subplots to support it. We got very little of any of that. What happened to send people back to the dark ages? How is it that all technology was lost? Where did the Raleigh and Red Queen lines come from. Who is the sinster puppet master of the Red Queen? What is it with the mysterious pasts of all in the Queen’s Guard?

I am interested enough to start the second book. But if the author did not figure out a way to tie together all of her dangling story threads and build a more complete world, I am calling it quits. I do not want another round of tease and reward. There are true words of wisdom in this book, particularly as Kelsea starts to grow into her own. I would hate to see them wasted simply because the plot got lost in the mundane and unimportant.

My favorite line of wisdom from the book:

“Then why did I have to read it?” Kelsea demanded…”What was the point?”
“To know your enemy Kelsea. Even a book can be dangerous in the wrong hands. And when that happens, you blame the hands, but you also read the book.”