The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

queenThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Book 1

Release Date: July 2014

Bang Bang Rating: 3/5


Kelsea, the daughter of dead Queen Elyssa, reemerges to claim the throne.  Her uncle, the Red Queen, of the neighboring kingdom, and others will stop at nothing to kill Kelsea.  The Queen of the Tearling is a epic journey of a new teen queen.

This book has already been optioned for a movie that will star Emma Watson.

Dang, that was Good

  • The cover is beautiful
  • It was well written. The dialogue and world building was good and interesting.
  • Unfortunately, that is all I can think of.

That’s too Bad, Dang (This is riddled with spoilers.  Read at your own risk)

  • It’s dystopian but the world has reverted back to Medieval Times-ish.  Ordinarily this would be interesting; however, Johansen never explains how the world came to be this way.  We don’t know where Tearling is, we don’t know what happened to technology.  This book droned on and on about pointless crap and not one page was dedicated to how this world came to be.  I understand you want some mystery to this world for the next book, but damn.  Can we at least know what year it is or what country it was before it was named New London? Can I get a map on the inside cover? Something?
  • There were several major mysteries.  Who is Kelsea’s father? What is the power behind the necklaces? Who is Fetch? What power does the Red Queen have? NONE OF THESE WERE ANSWERED!!!!!!!  Johansen could have at least answered one question.
  • It is being compared to Game of Thones and Hunger Games.  Don’t get excited ’cause it ain’t no Hunger Games.  It resembles GoT because of its sexual gratuity.  This is not a young adult novel; this is new adult or adult.    “…a good fuck chased the dreams away.” ” ‘I go to your chamber and get to lick Petra’s cunt for your pleasure.”  At one point in the story, a character started rubbing her own nipples and making orgasmic noises out of nowhere.  It mention pedophiliacs and the rape of little girls.  I don’t mind the f word in YA books if it is used  as an expletive.  Eleanor and Park used the word cunt a couple of times but Rowell used it as an abusive word.  There was no point to any of this in Tearling. It was merely for shock value.  Because of this, I won’t buy this for my YA collection.  I’ll recommend it for adult fiction. I’m not going to stop teens from going to the adult fiction to get it, but I won’t buy it if that’s in there.
  • There is no ROMANCE!!! OMG, how can you have an epic fantasy/adventure with a teen queen and not have any romance?????
  • The characters are forgettable.  None of them stand out and that includes the main heroine. She’s not terrible, but she’s not great.  I take that first sentence back. Fetch is a good character.
  • There was no sense of urgency.  There was an emanate war approaching and yet, Kelsea took one page to look over the treaty she broke.  There was a couple of pages of strategy but once again-on and on about Javel and his wife who was sold into slavery.  Yes, that is bad but after awhile-who cares!
  • The story was kind of weak.  They had no phones or cars that could deliver messages quickly but Kelsea’s magical necklace conveniently let her see bad things that were going to happen.  At one point, she was “flying” over her land. Every time something needed to be resolved, it wasn’t done with cleverness or intelligence. It was done with magic. This makes a story unimaginative and convenient.
  • The climax was WEAK. So Kelsea put an end to the bad thing (i’ll try not to spoil it) which is going to cause a war and of course people who profit from the bad thing are mad.  Of course they are going to try to dethrone Kelsea or do something underhanded to try to regain their cash-flow.  The underhanded thing was anti-climactic and it was resolved, once again, with convenient magic.


It started off a bit confusing, but it picked up in the end only to be disappointing.  There is a lot of hype over this book and a huge marketing campaign but I don’t get it.  The characters are blah, the storyline left gaps, and it seemed to be a 448 page backstory.

If you want a good historical fiction, epic YA novel; read Throne of Glass by Maas or His Fair Assassin series by LaFevers.

Book Clubs for Tweens/Teens-

Please stop reading if you don’t want to see spoilers!!!

I do this b/c I am a librarian that runs a book discussion group for 5th-7th grade. Parents of younger teens are expecting librarians to pick clean books and it is helpful to know if the book is okay for middle school.  Otherwise, I am all for Intellectual Freedom.

  • Murder (It’s about a war so…)
  • Every swear word you can imagine
  • Prostitution, it mentions pedophiles, rape, sodomy
  • Appropriate for 18+

4 thoughts on “The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

  1. I am not sure if you are open to answering questions but if you are what was the main character like personality wise and is it just the bad guys swearing and talking about sex or is it the good guys as well?

    Thank you.

    • It’s hard to say, she was neither terrible or special. She was, MEH.
      She was portrayed as a strong queen but she was sheltered her whole life. Most characters similar to this had hard lives or trained to be a fighter. Kelsea was trained with knives but not extensively.
      She never asked the right questions. For example, she knew that her life was in constant danger from the Red Queen. People were telling her about a treaty her kingdom had with the Red Queen that kept the peace, but she didn’t ask what the treaty was. This could be because she is stupid or it could be seen as weak writing.
      It was written in 3rd person, so the language was coming from the author.

  2. Pingback: Top 12 Book 1’s of 2014 (So Far) (According to Me) | Bang Bang BOOK Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s