Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling

I guess these princess-with-magic-jewel stories are getting more popular, eh? I like The Queen of the Tearling for its strong protagonist, but the slow pace is killing me! The interesting characters and intriguing premise might keep me going, but I don’t know if I can sustain my interest for another year, gah.

Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Genre: (Young Adult) Fantasy / Magic / Adventure
Source: Publisher via Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.


With the help of her deceased mother’s Royal Guard, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn claims her rightful throne after living in hiding for the first eighteen years of her life. With the magical Tearling sapphire in her hands, Kelsea ascends the throne easily (despite being poisoned and almost assassinated, obviously) and is forced to lead her people without any experience. Outraged by the laws set forth on the people of Tearling by the Red Queen, a sorceress in the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, Kelsea immediately sets off a war that will expose her true allies and enemies, as well as her own evolving powers.


So my friend – who has pretty much the same reading tastes as I do – had read this before me said it was kind of boring because nothing really happens, so I came into The Queen of the Tearling with very low expectations. And I’m glad I did, because I ended up liking it! Kelsea is an awesome heroine who is clever and resourceful despite not being in the real world for the majority of her life, and she doesn’t fall into the insta-love trap as quickly as heroines in other novels have… although I can definitely see more romance in the very near future. She’s also slightly older than most YA heroines, which makes her more mature and less “flawed”, I’d assume. The comparison between Kelsea and her less-serious-and-smart mother, Queen Elyssa, was made over and over again, which added to Kelsea’s mature image.

Aside from the strong protagonist, the other characters are also likable (except for the villains) and quite dimensional. The Boy shows up but not much romance there yet, like I mentioned, but they do have a little somethin’ somethin’ going on. But no insta-love, which I’m thankful for. And the Red Queen is just evil all around, and her dark magic scenes kind of push this book towards the adult fiction end of things. (Or new adult? Bleh.) I feel like SF/F YA books nowadays keep pushing the edge of what’s appropriate for young adults and what’s not, and The Queen of the Tearling is doing the same.

The plot is indeed slow. Like, turtle pace. Nothing really happens besides the major characters being introduced and the start of Kelsea’s rebellion against the Red Queen’s rule, and we don’t really get a chance to see what the Tearling jewel really represents. But I AM curious, and that might be enough to keep me reading! And what interests me a lot is the mention of a “Crossing” that supposedly destroyed any sort of modern technology… so it’s like they had computers and Harry Potter books, and then somehow ended up in the Dark Ages again. But again, we don’t know much yet at this point of the story.


The Queen of the Tearling boasts of a strong heroine with a pretty jewel and a slow beginning to something big. However, it’s suuuuper slow, so it might be more suitable for those of you with the patience to wait. Oh, and apparently Emma Watson is already confirmed for a role in the movie? I hope they at least combine several books into one movie to speed up the pace!


7 thoughts on “Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

  1. First off, it makes my day any time someone uses the phrase “somethin’, somthin’ “, so thank you for that. 😀

    I am a lame duck who hates reading books before the entire series is published, so I’ll probably wait for the full trilogy to be available, although the premise does sound intriguing. But isn’t it a little annoying when they make a movie a book that’s part of a series that isn’t finished?? That always frustrates me – how do the movie makers know what tiny little thing they decided to omit from the first book is actually going to be critical to the plot in the end?? Although, given the relation of most movies to their books, it probably doesn’t matter anyway…

    • Ahahaha, you’re welcome! 😛 (And wait, even if it’s a super long series? How do you have the patience??) I wonder about that too… not sure if they’ll just make one movie or if it’s going to be a series too? Or maybe Johansen will tell them what parts are important so that they don’t leave out anything that might affect the rest of the series? I usually don’t go out of my way to watch movie adaptations of books, and I’m sure that’ll be the case again with this one.

      • Well, if it’s a really long series, sometimes I do start before the end (like Harry Potter I think I started around book 3 or 4), but overall I prefer the satisfaction of being able to blaze through the whole thing lol. The worst is reading a book that’s the first in a series but I didn’t know it was (like Robin McKinley’s “Pegasus”… still not over it).

        One of the main reasons I like to wait til the end is in case I feel men about the series, I don’t have to keep rereading them to get caught up. Like I read a series about a girl and these brothers who had been cursed into tigers (can’t remember who wrote it) and she published another book in the series and like I want to read it but that means reading four books again annnnd I just can’t work up the enthusiasm, you know?

        • Oh yeah, I get the rereading-entire-series-everytime-a-new-book-comes-out thing! I do that only for a few select series/authors, haha. 😛 By the way, that cursed brothers plot sounds really interesting… let me know if you remember the title/author!

          • So it’s Colleen Houck and the first one is “Tiger’s Curse.” I just finished rereading my reviews (which are on my blog if you’re interested… And the spoilers in them are mostly me ranting about the love triangle so I think you could read the full reviews without ruining the story lol) and yeah, this series was so 3/5 for me. Like I enjoyed it, because who doesn’t want a smoulderingly handsome boyfriend who is also an enchanted tiger?? But way way WAY too much of it was the love triangle aspect, because of course the handsome tiger has a handsome bad-boy brother who is also an enchanted tiger. So most of the books is Kells wringing her hands and whining about how she doesn’t know how to choose between two incredibly attractive, rich, intelligent men who worship her.

            The other flaw in these books for me personally is that to lift the curse they have to work with a Hindu goddess, which is okay, but I never like it when fantasy authors use a real religion that is sacred to thousands of people and basically say that it’s just as believable as enchanted tiger princes.

            I checked Goodreads and actually the fifth book doesn’t come out until next year. I’m a little curious about it because everything felt very wrapped up at the end of the fourth book so.

            Point is, they are definitely fun books to read, but be prepared for some serious love triangling!

            • Ahh okay, I’ve heard of this series! I’ll go over to check out your reviews soon. I’m not a fan of love triangles but I also haven’t read them in a while, so maybe it’s time to renew my hatred give them another try? Thanks for the warning 😛 And hmm, is the fifth book the last book? I didn’t realize there were so many books in the series!

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