The Queen of the Tearling book review

Posted July 18, 2016 by Jordann @thebookbloglife in 2 star, book reviews / 3 Comments

The Queen of the Tearling book reviewThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1
Published by Harper on 8th July 2014
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 448
Buy on Amazon

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."

Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

Emma Watson has ranted and raved about The Queen of the Tearling, so naturally I picked it up. Kelsea is a nineteen year old girl who becomes Queen, but taking her crown will not be easy. Even her own uncle the Regent wants her dead, she is thrown into a castle where spies and assassin’s run rampant.


I thought The Queen of the Tearling was well written. There are some very trope like aspects to the story and I was expecting a more political journey, but that was sort of skimmed over which was a little bit of a disappointment. In fact I’m not even sure whether I will continue on with the series, it’s definitely not one that I’m rushing out for.


I thought that the story and plot was superficial. A lot of things were looked at and started on but very few were developed. In fact the entire thing felt rushed and I could see areas where there needed to be more explanation. There were a lot things I liked about the story, the natural progression of the story arc, and the seemingly natural problems, that she seems to encounter as Queen.

The Queen of the Tearling needed more of a political vibe to it. This felt like a filler kind of book, there was no real action or consequences. I really thought there would be a massive climax but it nothing really happened. There were scenes of action but nothing coherent. If I had to sum up the story/plot of this book. I would have to say that there was a lot of bits but they didn’t really fall into place for me.

The one thing that I couldn’t understand about The Queen of the Tearling was the secrecy, no one could tell Kelsea the mistakes that her mother had made whilst she was on the throne. Surely making sure that someone didn’t make the same mistakes would be of the upmost importance. It was confusing and frustrating to say the least. Probably the thing that I hated the most about this book.


Kelsea Rayleigh

The main character, the Queen of the country, and a seemingly ‘normal’ girl who lived in hiding for the entirety of her childhood. She is a strong character for what its worth but I don’t feel any kind of connection to her. No love or hate, she was just a character, she had some decent lines but there was nothing else about her.

It was a real shame actually because the character had the potential to be well rounded and exciting. She was just let down by the plot and the situations she was put in.

The Mace

The Queen’s close guard. He was probably my favourite character. Out of everyone in the book he was the only one that I had a strong connection with. I loved his commitment, he seemed to be the only one in the book that had clear motives and objectives. I think in a book full of confusion it was refreshing to have something that had a little clarity.

The Fetch

This was possibly the most confusing of all of the characters. He randomly appears throughout the book with no clear explanation without adding anything to the story. I think he would have been an interesting character if there was more substance to his story. Unfortunately the development wasn’t there and the character fell flat for me. It seems to be the fatal flaw for The Queen of the Tearling.

Would I recommend it?

I’m not sure. I see potential but I was disappointed with the payoff. I’m tempted to carry on with the series and see if it gets any better. It won’t be any time soon though. I have other books on my shelf that need my attention way sooner.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did it fall short of your expectations? Let me know in the comments.

3 responses to “The Queen of the Tearling book review

  1. […] This was another disappointment. It was ranted and raved about. I found flat and completely underwhelming. The characters weren’t well formed and the plot had holes. In I thought the fact the entire thing felt rushed and disjointed. There was a lot that happened and not a lot was explained. Read the review here. […]