The Queen of the Tearling

Erika Johansen
The Queen of the Tearling Cover

The Queen of the Tearling (Audio version)


I liked the story with a strong heroine, Kelsea Glynn. Sadly, fantasy books are still often lacking such characters. The 19-year old has to reclaim her throne and prove herself worthy. All the odds seem to be against her but she is not planning to give up. And she is not all by herself. Kelsea is also constantly fighting with her mother's shadow, trying to prove herself a different kind of queen altogether. Interestingly, her main rival is the Red Queen, a powerful sorceress to whom the Tear Kingdom is subdued. And there is magic too!

But there are also several drawbacks. First of all, the world-building is not very complex and rich. It seems like a typical Medieval society with all its problems, and a monotheistic religion that is almost an exact copy of Christianity. Even the geographical names are very familiar.

As for the story, the characters find themselves in desperate situations all the time but tend to escape from them way too easily. The fights are not very realistic. That was my impression. And even though the book was marketed as the female version of Game of Thrones, I wouldn't compare it to GoT. It is a classic good vs. evil type of story, so it is pretty much clear from each character's description who is who. The writer is trying to prove that the looks don't matter, as Kelsea is multiple times described as a plain but smart, sharp and well-educated girl. Despite that the queen herself notices and comments on the looks of other characters far too often, and even judges by them.

But I am still curious about the sequel, so might as well try it out.

The audio-book version by Katherine Kellgren is very good and colourful, even though some episodes are a bit overdone with all the shouting.