Published: June 27, 2014
Number of pages: 434
Genre: fantasy, historical, medieval, romance
Audience: older adults
Rating: 3 owl hoots out of 5
Kelsea Relaigh is a young girl raised in a cottage away from her kingdom since birth. But when she turns 19 years old, Kelsea is escorted by royal guards as she journeys back to her home and becomes Queen of the Tearling. Daughter of Queen Elyssa, Kelsea is born of royal blood but must gain the respect and loyalty she needs from her court to defend her kingdom from the Mort Queen and her army.
There’s been a lot of hype about this book and since Chapters Indigo was selling it for 40% off, I didn’t give it a second thought when I bought it. The story held a lot of promise and it seemed really interesting, so I dived right into it. But by the time I got to the middle of the story, my anticipation for it drifted away as there were some nitty-gritty bits that threw me off.
First of all, let’s start with what I liked about this book. The heroine of our story, Kelsea Relaigh is one tough girl. If there’s one thing I love about her, is Kelsea’s strong exterior. Kelsea’s not only brave but she stands up for what she believes in never letting anyone’s expectations change her. She rules the Tearling kingdom with a just and kind heart, and it’s clear that Kelsea has a soft spot for abused and poor women. She loves her books and takes pride in her library. I also love how she points out to her royal guards that she’s no girly-girl who plays with dolls and wears pretty dresses. In other stories, we read of queens that are attractive and beautiful but Kelsea doesn’t care about her appearance. She is wiling to defend the weak and the powerless even if it means learning to wield a sword and wearing armor.
The story takes time to develop as there’s a lot of world building in the first half including details about the daily life of a queen in royal court with her attendees. What I was really confused about is the setting of the story. At first I thought the story was taking place in the medieval period but it turns out that it’s in a dystopian futuristic medieval time. I only wish the author was a little more clear on that in the beginning.
I was also a little concerned about the Queen’s priorities in taking care of her kingdom. For instance, if you know that there’s an enemy planning a potential invasion towards your kingdom, the first thing to do is immediately come up with a defense plan. Instead Kelsea seems more inclined to build public libraries and establish an education system for the poor, which are both great ideas but when there’s a possible war going on, the first thing to do is to plan against an invasion. It wasn’t until the end that the Queen finally leapt into action and the story started to get really intense with fast battle scenes and an abrupt end to the next chapter of our story.
What surprised me was how I learned that this is a series and not a stand-alone book, so that kind of caught me off guard. But I’ll still read the sequel and I’ll definitely look forward to watching the movie that Emma Watson will be starring in.