Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Queen of the Tearling has been on my to read list for a while now. I finally got to read it this week and boy was it worth the wait.

The premise of Queen of the Tearling is one of the most interesting takes on Dystopian fiction that I have come across (coming hot off the back of The Last Relicuin this was some mean feat!). The story focuses around Kelsea Raleigh Glynn Princess of the Tearling, who on her 19th birthday is collected by the Queens guard and taken to New London where she will take her rightful place on the phone folllowing her Mother’s death 16 years before. Things are not easy for Kelsea though, for one she doesn’t even look like a princess, she is plain and overweight and has been shielded by her guardian’s who swore an oath to not tell her anything about the Tearling a country she is now expected to rule.

The idea behind the Tearling is that in modern day William Tearling made a crossing from America to bring a new land taking the best and most well developed medical and technology equipment with him unfortunately they sank on the ship and now the Tearling is a place which has been thrown back to the dark ages poor and depraved and full of corruption.

It was this idea which I liked the most about Queen of the Tearling. Most dystopian novels while very good look more towards a futuristic society where technology is advanced and political control is stronger than ever. The beauty of novels like Queen of the Tearling is that they look at a futuristic society which instead of going forwards have gone backwards. The character of Kelsea is also refreshing, while the novel draws on elements from fairy tales: The princess living in a cottage with foster parents in the forest awaiting her time to return to her Kingdom or rather Queendom in this case! But Kelsea is not the average Princess as aforemetioned she is strong, can fight with her knife, well educated, plain and well built due to her love of food, she has no intention of waiting for her handsome prince to rescue her and nor would he want to.

Erika writes with skill, I have seen other reviewers rating this novel down on the basis that some things are unrealistic such as Kelsea’s shock and fascination with a red headed guard. For me though this just added to the authenticity, in the modern world where we know that people with the redhead gene are dying out why would it not be reasonable for it to be a rare and valued thing in a futuristic world? Not only that but Kelsea has lived a sheltered life, protected, away from civilisation and would have no reason to have seen anyone with red hair before.

If you like Dystopia, Fantasy and Historical Fiction and are looking for a combination of all 3. Or if you’re looking for a novel with adventure, magic, history, futuristic society, a female heroine and danger at every turn then this is the novel for you.


Sequel review to follow shortly!




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