The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary: With each passing day,
Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the
Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom
of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power
derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the
Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious
connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying
on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting
for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The
fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily
and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
DAWN CAME QUICKLY on the Mort border. One minute there was nothing but a hazy line of blue against the horizon, and the next, bright streaks stretched upward from eastern Mortmesne, drenching the sky. The luminous reflection spread across Lake Karczmar until the surface was nothing but a glowing sheet of fire, an effect only broken when a light breeze lapped at the shores and the smooth surface divided into waves.
Starting paragraph of the book and I was hooked already... :D
I need to start off this review with an apology to the publisher and the author!! I got this book *months* ago, right as I got busy with work and traveling and a reading slump, which equated to me not getting around to reviewing it. I feel horrible because this was one of the books that I was so excited to read in 2015, and I got an ARC of it, too. Not how I wanted to handle it!
But on to the review, since I know that's actually what people are here for!
I really enjoyed this book. It picks up right where the other one left off and we're plunged into a story of war and self discovery, twining together the Tearling's past and present and future in a way that I found completely fascinating.
This book surprised me when I hit Chapter Two, mostly because that was when I suddenly realized something about this book: it's not completely fantasy. Nope! It's actually a combination of fantasy and science fiction, and I just want to take a moment to tell you guys how incredibly stoked I was at this revelation!
For the record, I'm the sort that loved the show Battlestar Galactica, the Stargate series, etc. Basically anything that combines our reality with science and magic and I am *so* there. There's just something so incredible and fascinating about it - maybe because it leaves open the door to it being possible in our world... :)
At any rate, as soon as I realized that this was what was going on I was, if possible, even more fascinated than I already was. From Chapter Two onwards throughout the book we learn more about the Tearling's history and Kelsea's ancestral past, and how that's wrapped up with her present and the future. There's also war going on, bargaining, a good dose of religious abuse of power, a hint of romance - this book kinda has it all.
I really enjoyed watching Kelsea learn and grow throughout this book. Not all of it is good, no - she makes mistakes, and there's a dangerous side to her, too. She's twisted and insecure, powerful and vulnerable, brave and selfish, and every inch a Queen. I think that's why I love her as a character so, so much - she's not perfect, she screws up and makes mistakes, but she loves her queendom and she's prepared to do what it takes to save it. That, my friends, is a kick-ass heroine.
Now, that's not to say that there weren't pitfalls in this book - sometimes the jumps back and forth seemed a bit too much, and the characterization of certain people - namely Pen and Mace - is still lacking. Something I really hope the author works on in the next book. I know that Kelsea is understandably the focus, but it felt like we learned a lot about some people who weren't necessarily essential to the story in the same way - but I'm divided there, since I loved the way the author chose to show us what was going on in other areas of the Tearling. You decide for yourself, I guess!
All in all, I thought that while this had its weaknesses, it was still enjoyable and I can't wait for the third part of the trilogy to come out later this year.
I'll leave you with this:
“Forced to it,” Kelsea repeated, grimacing. “I know how you conduct yourself in wartime, Lady Andrews. You’ll probably greet General Genot himself with a glass of whisky and a free fuck.”
Doesn't mince words, does she? :D A lady after my own heart.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.
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