I just finished a book last night, The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen. I was first interested in reading the book when I read online that Emma Watson would be producing the film version and would star as the protagonist, Queen Kelsea Glynn (Raleigh). Although the book was marketed as a combination of the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, I didn't see it that way, but the book was still an interesting read. I got the book on my Nook, so it was not long, only 340 pages or so.
The novel starts with a 19-year-old Princess Kelsea Raleigh being escorted from the little cottage she was hidden in with Barty and Carlin, by her late mother's Queen's Guard. Kelsea is described as a plain girl with green eyes, a bit on the chubby side. 19 is the age of coronation in the Tearling, a poor kingdom with little resources, and now it is time to ascend her deceased mother, Queen Elyssa Raleigh's, throne, which is occupied by her uncle, the Regent, Thomas Raleigh. In truth, though, her uncle is merely a puppet of the neighboring kingdom, Mortmesne's, monarch, the sorceress Red Queen. Her uncle has been hunting her down and hires the Caden, a group of skilled assassins, to kill her, determined to not have her crowned. She finds out many things about her kingdom along the journey to the Keep, in New London, the truth about her mother and her kingdom and many other important things were hidden from her by her adopted parents. She meets and gets to know several people along the way, including Lazarus (the Mace), the most renowned and effective Queen's Guard, and the Fetch, a mysterious and frightening master of thieves that appears to want the best for the Tearling and its people and deeply detests her uncle. From the very beginning, it is obvious that Kelsea is very different from her mother, who was vain and weak. She makes it to the Keep alive and deposes her uncle and is made Queen, but the job is definitely not easy. I won't say more, you'll just have to read for yourself!
The book has several points of view, including the Red Queen of Mortmesne, who is unnerved by Kelsea Raleigh, her uncle, Thomas Raleigh, Javel, a Gate Guard of the Keep, Father Tyler, a priest who crowns Kelsea, and the Fetch.
Many things are left unanswered in this book. I wanted to know more, like the identity of Kelsea's father, the Red Queen's background (and her real name), the Fetch's background and also, his real name. I had a feeling that he was Kelsea's biological father, but that would be weird, especially since Kelsea develops an unhealthy crush on him. I also wanted to know about Queen Elyssa's fate. Kelsea definitely isn't the most interesting character in the book. For me, The Red Queen and the Fetch were much more fascinating.
The book has its faults, that I can't argue with. Some things don't add up or just don't make sense, especially regarding the history of the Tearling. I hope the author clears this up in the next books in the series. The Tearling seems to exist in the same world as America and Europe, as William Tear and his people sailed there, but did this land mass just suddenly pop out of the ocean or what? A lot of things are confusing in the book. Nevertheless, the book was a decent book to read by the pool over the last few days.
|Kelsea Raleigh, Queen of the Tearling|
Also, just a warning: I honestly expected this book to be like Harry Potter in the sense of its innocence. But this book has its share of gore and profanity and does make many references to sex and rape. I would compare the violence to that in Game of Thrones instead of the Hunger Games. Definitely a step up for Emma Watson, huh? From wands and broomsticks to beheadings and romance that's more mature than Hermione and Ron's love story was...
I'd give the book 3.5/5 stars. I'm hoping that Emma Watson will make the film much better than the book. Otherwise, I don't see why she signed on for this series after Harry Potter. I don't know how they're going to portray Kelsea in the film, because Kelsea is not quite ugly and doesn't have any sophisticated, regal features, and Emma is gorgeous. Is Emma a bit too beautiful to play ordinary Kelsea? Judge for yourselves.
Positive Review: Book Review by USA Today: 'Tearling' Combines Future and Past to Great Effect
More Negative Review: 'Queen of the Tearling' presents interesting characters, jarring anachronisms
NY Post: Emma Watson set to star in, produce 'The Queen of the Tealing'
The next book I will read is The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan. I'll write a review when I finish!