Book review: The Queen of the Tearling

the queen of the tearling by erika johansen 17-7-14 (2)Neither when I chose this book to review, nor when I started reading it, did I know that this was the next best thing. That David Heyman [producer of the Harry Potter films] and Emma Watson [Hermione] are already in pre-production with the film for Warner Brothers. That the author signed a gazillion dollar deal for the seven-book series. I didn’t know. And I loved it.

It’s a ripping adventure story which feels like a medieval tale except for the occasional references to plastic surgery, Harry Potter and mascara. For a debut, it is skilfully handled. This is a dystopian society, post-something [an un-named event] which caused people to feel their homeland [an un-named country] in The Crossing [across an ocean, as a boat was lost] to their new land of the Tearling [on an unspecified continent]. Behind them they left science, books, medicine, education, art, television, you name it they left it behind. They fight with knives and swords.

Into this context is thrown a 19-year old girl, raised in secrecy by an elderly couple in rural seclusion. She must become queen of her mother’s nation or it will be lost to the evil ruler of the neighbouring state. Kelsea Glynn had a studious childhood, learning history, mathematics, languages, and how to trap and skin a rabbit. She reads a book a day [including The Lord of the Rings], not something your usual heroine does. Add treachery, slavery, corruption, prostitution, child exploitation, and all sorts of other dastardly deeds, and you will see why this is a page turner. Kelsea, the girl-turned-Queen is thrown into the middle of this and expected to fail.

But she doesn’t.

[photo: Cultura/Corbis]

[photo: Cultura/Corbis]

There is more to this than just a thriller, the world of the Tearling has been meticulously constructed by Erika Johansen [above] with its own history, myths and customs. It has the makings of a classic fantasy series. I just want to know when book two will be published.

To watch the official book trailer for The Queen of the Tearling, click here.
‘I wrote Kelsea for women who wanted a heroine like themselves’ says Erika Johansen. To watch the interview on You Tube, click here.
To read more about plans for the film, read this report from The Guardian.

‘The Queen of the Tearling’ by Erika Johansen [pub in the UK by Bantam Press]

8 thoughts on “Book review: The Queen of the Tearling

  1. roughseasinthemed

    I’m editing a fantasy series right now, there are some similarities to your summary in broad terms — young man destined to rule but doesn’t know it, neighbouring country taking over, run by despot etc —but otherwise it’s a different tale. I think it’s interesting to see what people can do with fantasy. A bit like romance, it’s not my preferred genre, but if I read a good one eg Tolkien, Pullman, C S Lewis, I am quite entranced. So I think it’s nice to find good new creative authors who manage to produce new and different fantasy tales.

    Liked by 1 person


Leave a comment here

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s