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.
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!