Keeping the Crown in The Queen of the Tearling | Book Review


Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book was somewhat baffling and strugglesome to get through.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Author: Erika Johansen
Published: July 2015
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 512 (paperback)

Content warning (click to see)

rape – pregnancy – death – gore – brutality – murder – suicide – slavery – sexism

Quick thoughts
This wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’ve been anticipating reading this for some years, knowing that this is a well-loved series but I’m not sure I loved it that much.

A bit eh
Whilst undeniably quite readable, I ultimately felt like not a lot truly happened in this book. Kelsea was an okay main character, but her best qualities came from her being a decent human being (so nothing that *special*) – with such behaviour, like not supporting a slave trade and supporting women’s rights, earning her saint-like status. Hm.

There’s also mysterious and numerous mentions of this historical event called “the crossing” that is never explained (I mean, you can guess, but I want to know).

The Mace was intriguing and I’m left off-kilter unsure if he’s a romantic interest or just a good(ish) guard who frustratingly doesn’t explain anything he does.

Overall I kind of felt like there was SO much emphasis on SeCrEtS that the book sort of forgot to tell us some (all) of them, and I’m a left with a quizzical brow raised and an uncertainty as to whether I want to continue.

Like the obsession over the identity of Kelsea’s father? Stahp. Who cares. And what the heck is with the oath from the dead Queen that the Queen’s guard is held to? LADS, this is UNHELPFUL.

Also. ALSO. Wowee the content was more mature than expected. So much rape and mysogeny and sex and brutality is casually laced into certain characters stories. That whole side of things (namely the Red Queen perspectives) I felt were a little off-tone compared to the rest of the book.

Final thoughts
I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It wasn’t what I expected, but the storytelling was mysteriously captivating. I might continue reading but ONLY if people think the story picks up and, ya know, stuff *actually* happens.

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