Author: Erika Johansen
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: This book was perfection, from the world building to the character development to the plot, pacing, and tone.
“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.” (source) Lost heir, fate of the kingdom, etc… you get the idea. Personally, so many descriptions of fantasy novels sound the same to me, they’re not what draw me in. I knew enough to jump at this book because other bloggers had raved about and so now I’m here to do the same for you, because this is a book worth picking up!
I immediately liked that Kelsea, our protagonist, had received some training that would potentially explain her ability to do awesome later. Throughout, the author continued to impress me with a sense of realism. Despite the obvious unreality of the magical elements of the story, everything felt believable. Kelsea’s character growth and the tough decisions she had to make were also extremely well done. A handful of secondary characters were particularly well-developed, with pieces of their perspectives worked seamlessly into the story. Many other secondary characters were also given enough background and personality to feel like real people. The book also probably felt more realistic because some pretty terrible things happened, as you might expect from a medieval-type setting. Fortunately, the darker events didn’t feel sensationalized or gratuitous to me. They were just part of this setting.
I’m not sure I would have loved the world building as much if I didn’t have the next book ready to go. There are so many questions yet to be answered! As is, the magic and the history of the Tearling are both fascinating and I’m content to wait for the next book to understand more. There were a few info dumps, but all were engaging stories worked seamlessly into the plot and I didn’t mind them in the least. I do hope the author answers the questions I have in the next book though. The plot and pacing also made me glad I have the next book waiting for me. I found this hard to put down and I think I’m going to go pick up Invasion of the Tearling now.
For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour. The book is available from Harper Collins.
I loved this book when I read it. I still have not read the sequels. lol
I’m glad I picked them up when the third one was being released! I’m terrible about coming back and finishing series that aren’t completely published when I start them.
Amanda (A Bookshelf Monstrosity)
I’ve been on the fence about wanting to read this series since this isn’t a normal genre for me, but you just convinced me! Thanks for the great review.
It’s not my normal genre either and I definitely enjoyed it! As you get into the next book, there starts to be a parallel, dystopian story that I really enjoyed as well. If you do pick these up, I hope you enjoy them too 🙂
Julie @ Smiling Shelves
I enjoyed this one, but wasn’t over the moon about it. That’s probably why I haven’t picked up the sequel yet, although I hear that the series just get better and better. Maybe it’s time to give the next one a try!
For me, this was actually the best of the three. I enjoyed the others two as well though and they do add a very different secondary story line, so I could see some people liking them better because of that.
I’m not super into fantasy but I have been interested in this one. I do love a kick-ass female heroine after all. Maybe I’ll pick it up.
Kelsea was definitely a fantastic heroine! I heard a rumor that Emma Watson might be interested in playing her for a movie adaptation and that’s a movie I’d love to see!
Heather J @ TLC Book Tours
I plan to have all three books in hand when I start reading so I can move immediately from one to the next – I know I’ll get completely sucked in!
Thanks for being a part of the tour.
Good call! I really appreciated you sending me all three, because I read right through them 🙂
This is such a neat series. I am really looking forward to reading the third one when it comes out!
I’m glad you’re enjoying it too! At this point, I’ve picked up the third one and I’m happy to say that it lived up the others for me 🙂