Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2)
Author: Erika Johansen
Genre: Adult, Portal Fantasy
Source: Random House

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.
Review by Nara

One of the biggest problems (actually, probably the only major problem) I had with The Queen of the Tearling was that the world building was pretty poorly done. Well, we get a little more world building in this sequel, but certainly not as much as I'd hoped. To be honest, I shouldn't have expected too much world building, because the focus of the book is very much on the character development and Kelsea's struggle to improve the lives of the residents of the Tearling. I'm still actually a little lost on what exactly The Crossing is to be honest, but you do get more information about that in this book. Maybe it's my own fault for being lost, because I put this book down quite a few times instead of reading more continuously.

There's an alternate timeline in this book that showcases the life of a pre-Crossing woman named Lily. Her story was actually very interesting, and although probably not as interesting as Kelsea's timeline, it was great to see what life was like before the Crossing, and what exactly made people consider doing something so drastic to change their lives.

Kelsea is certainly a lot more interesting in Invasion of the Tearling than she was in the first book. In book one, she was likeable, but just didn't have the pull of the secondary characters, mostly because of her initial naivety. In this book, she's matured quite a lot and now has the responsibility of ruling a country on her shoulders. Her character is actually a fair bit darker as well, with her magic taking a bit of a toll on her mental state.

I was pretty invested in this book despite initially having forgotten all of the characters (damn my book amnesia). The plot, the pacing and the characters are all quite well written, and the way the conflicts are solved in the end are fairly engaging, although perhaps a little predictable. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where things go in the final book.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5