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The Queen of the Tearling: A Novel (Queen of the Tearling, The) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 8, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Although the setting resembles medieval times, this story takes place far in the future. Following a mysterious cataclysmic event referred to as the Crossing, humans now exist without modern technology and have reverted back to feudalism. At the story’s opening, Kelsea, the rightful Queen of the Tearling, turns 19 (the age of ascension) and is escorted by the Queen’s Guard from her forest home to claim her throne. Raised, educated, and protected by an elderly couple since birth, Kelsea possesses much book intelligence but lacks practical political knowledge. Nevertheless, she is everything one desires in a leader—she is strong, decisive, just, and possesses an inner strength that allows her to face any challenge placed in front of her. However, her challenges seem insurmountable and include the need to abolish the slave lottery that plagues her people. In an impressive start to a series, Johansen expertly incorporates magic necklaces, political intrigue, questions of honor, well-drawn characters, and a bit of mystery into a compelling and empowering story. As much is (understandably) left unexplained, it will be interesting to see where future installments take this series. --Kerri Price

Review

“A gripping read. . . . Johansen spins an engaging story with plenty of action . . . and intriguing characters.” (New York Post)

“Johansen’s dark, dizzying time machine is what made this book impossible to put down. You’re in the twenty-fourth century, but also the Middle Ages? The implications made us see our world today--particularly technology and education--in a new light.” (Glamour)

“Quite possibly the highlight of one’s vacation. . . . This spectacular debut is the first novel in a trilogy that is sure to entertain readers everywhere.” (Wall Street Journal, Books-A-Million List of Best Books to Finish Your Summer Vacation)

“Johansen’s strong, efficient prose convincingly conveys the pressures and inevitabilities facing a determined young woman confronting the dangers of a violent era.” (Seattle Times)

“This book worked on me with all the subtle power of an addiction: by the time I realized I was hooked, it was far too late to stop.” (Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of the Delirium trilogy and Panic)

“An impressive start to a series, Johansen expertly incorporates magic necklaces, political intrigue, questions of honor, well-drawn characters, and a bit of mystery into a compelling and empowering story.” (Booklist (starred review))

The Queen of the Tearling is a gripping read with an enchanting heroine. Erika Johansen has created a wonderful world and I can’t wait to read more.” (Bernard Cornwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Pagan Lord)

“Erika Johansen bursts onto the fantasy scene with a page-turner full of adventure, sorcery, swords, and politics -- not to mention a clever heroine with guts and conviction to spare. The Queen of the Tearling kept me up way past my bedtime, and left me wanting more!” (Helene Wecker, New York Times bestselling author of The Golem and the Jinni)

“Queen Kelsea is the most compelling badass heroine since Katniss Everdeen in this fantasy epic set in a neo-feudal future.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Queen of the Tearling is destined to be a fantasy classic. Johansen’s writing is assured, confident and thrilling. I can’t wait for the next book.” (Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker's Shadow)

“Call it The Hunger Games of Thrones. Erika Johansen’s debut novel is a genre mashup: medieval fantasy meets dystopian future. . . . An addictive and enjoyable adventure.” (USA Today)

“An exciting fantasy tale.” (Buzzfeed)

“Johansen’s intrigues and plots are pitch perfect.” (Romantic Times)

“An epic series sure to enthrall adult and teenage readers alike. [Johansen’s] hybrid world blends dystopia with high fantasy for an unforgettable adventure.” (Shelf Awareness)

“Johansen makes an impressive debut with this ambitious fantasy adventure, which takes place several centuries from now following the collapse of civilization and mass migration to a newly discovered continent. . . . An engaging page-turner.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[The Queen of the Tearling] has engaging characters and moves effortlessly through moment after captivating moment; I could not put it down.” (A.V. Club)

The Queen of the Tearling tells the mesmerizing and enveloping story of an exiled princess who has to reclaim her throne while fighting back against the neighboring kingdom’s menacing Red Queen.” (Buzzfeed)

“This book absolutely kept me turning the pages at maximum speed, while also soaking up all of the fun character bits. . . . Kelsea has a lot of emotional and psychological complexity along with her extreme competence. . . . A superfast, ridiculously fun read.” (io9.com)

“You could write The Queen of the Tearling off as yet another young-adult female fantasy novel, but that would be doing it an injustice. . . .The world created by Johansen is solidly drawn with interesting characters - all with hidden pasts, traumas and flashing swords.” (McClatchy News Service)

“A bright new entry in the fantasy genre. A heady mixture of adventure, romance, magic and mystery, this debut novel from Erika Johansen is a captivating work.” (Bookreporter.com)

Forget The Hunger Games (sorry!): The Queen of Tearling is the best YA novel I’ve read in ages.” (Jezebel)
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Product Details

  • Series: Queen of the Tearling, The (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1St Edition edition (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062290363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062290366
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (403 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First and foremost, you need to know that The Queen of the Tearling is NOT a YA Fantasy. As far as I can tell, HarperCollins is not marketing the book that way, but when I read this, "Young Adult" was listed as the second shelf on the Goodreads' genre list (which of course means that Goodreads users are labeling it that way), but it absolutely isn't---Kelsea, the MC, is 19 y.o. and an adult, there is language that at times borders the obscene, and there are circumstances and (hideous) war stories that have no place in YA literature.

I'm kind of at a loss with what to do with this book.

On the one hand . . . I really (REALLY) liked it. On the other hand . . . there are problems that absolutely cannot be ignored.

I think it's time for another list.

What I liked about The Queen of the Tearling:

1. It held my attention despite the numerous problems. It more than held my attention; I couldn't put it down. I read ALL OF IT in less than 12 hours (and this was not a short book). Maybe in less than 10 hours. Should've timed it . . .

2. Kelsea is not perfect. She's a typical 19 y.o. girl with all of the inherit insecurities and inexperience. She's not exceptionally beautiful or talented, she's just a girl who loves history and books who happenes to be born royal.

3. Lots of important social and political messages.

4. New and mind-blowing world-building premise:

So check this out---something (we don't know what) happened (we don't know when) and the Americans and the British left (for parts unknown) on ships to rebuild civilization. And life has reverted back to the Medieval period. But with MAGIC, so it's like a real world fantasy. Pretty cool, I think.
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89 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn L. Johnson on October 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'm am flabbergasted by the amount of 4 and 5 star ratings. Those people must be friends with the author, or else they simply don't pay attention to what they actually read. Because this is THE MOST POORLY WRITTEN BOOK I'VE EVER READ.

The plot and characters are fine: your generic princess raised in isolation, the heroic curmudgeonly soldier, bad guy who is totally going to be a good guy, clichéd bad guy and evil queen. Fine. No big deal, I read tons of fantasy and I'm prepared to deal with all of the classic tropes.

But the writing. Oh my god. The inconsistencies, the logical errors, the blatant stupidity and laziness of the author who clearly couldn't be bothered to read any fantasy novels before actual writing one, much less take the time to develop an even slightly realistic universe/ country/ political model/ history and background for her story. She writes like she has no short term memory for what has already been described, and she certainly has no common sense. There are less than 2000 books in the entire country, and yet random peasant children can read (and it is "extraordinary" and shocking when someone can't)? Ludicrous. The main character has been raised in the woods by two people her entire life, but she is an excellent judge of character and totally adept at interpreting intention and character through body language and facial expressions? Seems legit. She has been raised to assume the throne her entire life, and yet doesn't know a single thing about anything that has happened in the country for the past 20-30 years, and no one will tell her anything because for some reason they are all sworn to secrecy. Totally makes sense.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jane Easterly on July 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I just finished Queen of the Tearling, finally. It's not terrible, but it's certainly not "The Hunger Games of Thrones." I found parts of it quite amateur, parts of it very good, and parts of it extremely boring. There were also parts that made me laugh, but not in a good way. I really had to push to finish it. The ending is the best part, but it's a long slog to get there.

There is not enough world building for a first book. I need to know more about how our world got this way. (Yes, this book is dystopian, although you have to read between the lines to know that.) Frequently a first book in a fantasy series is slow because the author is introducing characters and spinning out details of the world, but world building is not what bogged this book down. I wasn’t told enough about the world Kelsea lives in.

Each chapter starts with a “historical note” written at some point in the future. I found them baffling. It felt like the author was spoiling her own story. The extreme violence and language, including the F word, seem jarring. This book doesn’t know if it wants to be considered YA or not. (In my opinion, it’s not.)

I did not find the main character believable or well-drawn. She’s “plain.” She loves books. Maybe if we had more background on how she was raised by two foster parents, never seeing another human, I’d like and understand her better, but she made decisions I didn't find credible and her “growth” was rapid and inexplicable. She forms an instant attachment to The Fetch, a criminal she meets briefly. To me he was the Dread Pirate Roberts/the Man in Black from The Princess Bride, only not as interesting or endearing. So far, there is nothing original about The Fetch.

Indeed, most of the story's players are stock characters with no depth.
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