The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling, Book 1

Synopsis: An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

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.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

Review: I have always heard great things from this series, first of all when it was released in English and even more when it was released in French. I was really curious to be able to immerse myself in the story and the release in paperback format gave me the opportunity to discover this new universe.

Kelsea always knew she had to become queen. Given up as a baby, and growing up on the margins of society she knows that when she turns 19 that it will be the day she is supposed to take the throne, but she did not expect it to be so difficult. Her uncle, the regent, is determined to prevent her from taking his place, but he is not the only one! But now, this new situation will change her, force her to make choices, to choose the people to whom she can trust and especially to face the consequences of her actions.

I will not say more about the story because you really need to discover it. It is very easy to connect to Kelsea. She is young, fresh and full of idealism even if none of this is easy when you become queen. I have supported her in all circumstances in her decisions while asking myself what would be the consequences. I was also easily attached to the people around her, without suspecting that some could change sides. Kelsea will have to evolve in a world full of plots while trying to get things done.

The author has managed to create a fascinating and complex world and it is true that I am curious to read more! I must say that I really had a great time with this first book that I read in one go and I’m impatient to get into the second volume!