Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: The Invasion of the Tearling

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)Author: Erika Johansen
Series: Queen of the Tearling
Released: June 9th 2015
Publisher: Harper
Length: 480 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out. 

As someone who enjoyed The Queen of the Tearling more than I could possibly put into words, I waited with bated breath for the continuation of Kelsea’s story. There was so much left to resolve and so many obvious dangers ahead of this simple yet sharply intelligent heroine. To say that I jumped at the chance to read The Invasion of the Tearling early is somewhat of an understatement. I begged for it and was more than ready to sell some small portion of my soul for it. Unfortunately, I would have paid much more than the book actually deserves.

Most of the criticism for the first book was aimed at its weak worldbuilding. The world we were given was well-built, but the details on how it all came to be were flimsy at best. Tearling may be a fantasy world, but it’s firmly rooted in our own; however, the connection between the two was never properly explained. In The Invasion, Erika Johansen overcompensates by giving us two stories, one in Tearling, and one in a futuristic dystopian version of our own world. The entire novel jumps back and forth between the two, usually at the most inconvenient of times, successfully distancing the readers from both main characters and making the narrative seem choppy and disconnected.

In addition to the extra storyline, Kelsea herself undergoes some serious changes. In The Invasion, she turns into a despicable person, giving us only brief glimpses of that sharp intelligence I admired so much. She becomes a rash, vain girl with only one goal in mind – proving to herself and to others that she’s all grown up. To say that I dislike seeing my heroines so thoroughly and senselessly ruined simply isn’t enough. Everything else that was wrong with this book was forgivable, but the utter ruin of this character was not.

However, at the end of the day, this is a simple truth we need to face: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We followed a simple forest girl as she turned into a sharp and honest queen, and then into a vain and powerful creature. We haven’t actually seen her redeemed, only partly, but even when she does find her path, I fear that she’s already done some unforgivable mistakes.

Finally, The Invasion of the Tearling wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be, but it deserves some credit for its originality and creativity in worldbuilding. Johansen’s writing is fairly simplistic, but impressively clever as well. Not all is lost, the third book might bring us a once again changed Kelsea and a differently constructed narrative. Let’s hope that it does.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Ah sorry it wasn't more, it's always so difficult when you loved the first book and have such high hopes for the sequel. In a whole it sounds good but I can understand the feeling.

  2. I think I would be annoyed. I can't be sure, but I think

  3. Hm. I definitely do not like the sound of how this second installment is set up, it drives me crazy when I'm bounced back and forth in place and/or time because, like you said, I don't ever get to settle into the story. Here's hoping the third book brings back everything that worked so well for you in the first Maja!

  4. The originality and world building does sound like it deserves props but sorry that some other elements weren't as well done

    Sorry if this posts more than once. Blogger is being contentious today.

  5. Being a non-fantasy reader, there are books that I just couldn't find the motivation to read. I think Queen of Tearling is one of them. It's disappointing when an installment to a much loved initial series offering falls flat. I hope the series gets better for you, Maja!

  6. So sorry this wasn't quite what you hoped it would be Maja.

  7. Oh I was hoping for more with this one. I still want to read the first book but may wait to see if the 3rd is better. I'm glad the worldbuilding is better in this one, but I don't like what was done with the characterization. Plus, that back and forth didn't seem to work here. :( Darn.

  8. Bummer sounds like a this was a sophomore slump. I hope the third book exceeds this one. Have a happy weekend. I am loving The Martian, are you?

  9. Hm. Queen of Tearling was good , so I'll probably end up reading this too. But thanks for the warning - at least I can go into it with the right set of expectations. Which, in itself, is sort of sad :(

  10. I tried to read Queen of Tearling after such great reviews, but I couldn't get past the 20% mark for me. It moved too slowly and I kept getting distracted. I decided to not bother in pursuing this series. Glad I made that choice. Sorry this one was such a huge disappointment for you. I felt the same way with Shadow Scale. :(

  11. *scratches series off wishlist* I am so disheartened, I was hoping we would see a strengthening so I could begin.

    OMG..just noticed you are listing to the Martian. Squee I hope you are loving it.


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