The Invasion of the Tearling – Erika Johansen
Published: June 9, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopian
Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
Unfortunately, I’m not participating in the Top Ten Tuesday this week. I felt that this week’s theme was so close to last week’s that I would just be writing the same thing. Instead, here is a book review for the last book I read.
When I first picked up QotT, I wasn’t really expecting a lot. I expected a typical YA fantasy, filled with friends and drama and (most certainly) a love triangle. Instead, I got Kelsea Glynn. This book, as well as the previous book in the series, have absolutely nothing to do with a typical teenager’s life. Kelsea is 19 years-old when she takes the throne, and has to grow up quick. Through some actions that will remain unspoken (because no spoilers!), a war is starting in the Tearling. It’s pretty much all Kelsea’s fault (since she is the queen), but she’s going to do whatever she can to keep her people safe. I really don’t want to write a summary of the story because I don’t want to spoil anything, so I just want to tell you what I liked and what could have been better. As much as I don’t want to spoil anything, spoilers may be posted below.
The Backstory of the Tearling
At once a fantasy and a dystopian, the history Johansen writes is so original. I know S. M. Stirling writes a series where something happens to our modern world that forces us to revert back to medieval, but that isn’t the case with the Tearling. Here, we have a lot more magic involved in the story. I am excited to see just how important the necklaces are going to be to the story.
We start to see a lot more “Before Crossing” action (which I explain more below). It has to be around 2080 (because Lily was born in 2058), and the middle class has been destroyed. Lily Mayhew, a new character, is one of the extremely wealthy. Her husband works for the Department of Defense and is responsible for eradicating the rebellion and keeping the poor behind the wall separating the two classes. Johansen creates a whole future for us, with a tyrannical President and some seriously misogynistic views from said President. These are all so close to reality that it doesn’t forced the reader to accept a crazy idea. Many times it feels as if our country is trying so hard to go backwards when the rest of the world is running forward.
LILY. OH GOD. With the help of her necklaces, Kelsea is transported back to the past (our future) and into the body of Lily Mayhew. Though wealthy, Lily is married to an abusive son of a bitch who doesn’t understand that Lily is a person and not his property. To be fair, that is what America has become in this book. Women have no rights anymore, and they are the property of their husbands.
We’re also introduced to William Tear, the founder of the Tearling. We don’t see him a lot, but he’s introduced and I have a strong feeling he’ll be in the next book. I need to know more about Lily and William and Dorian (another new character)!
Kelsea is 19 years-old, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone reading that she is a sexual person. I always say that this could be considered YA or adult fiction; I don’t know that I would feel comfortable with a 13-year-old reading this, but I would be okay with a 16-year-old reading it. The word “Fuck” is used as both a verb and an adjective, which I love, but I know can be a deal-breaker for parents.
But back to the point. Kelsea’s relationships with everyone start becoming strained. We see her confronting so many people who are comfortable in their roles in this world, from the new High Priest to Mace. Kelsea has such a clear idea of what she has to do, in what is right in their world, and she is not allowing anyone to squander that.
Sometimes it did feel like the story was relying too heavily on Lily, but I understand why it needed to be introduced. Their stories are tied together so tightly that I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
I do wish we would have had more time for Kelsea and Pen to talk about their feelings towards each other. It’s a very one-sided relationship and it shows that Kelsea isn’t always one step ahead of everything. She’s convinced Pen isn’t in love with her, but he so clearly is. I still don’t know if she loves him or is just using him for sex, but I guess we’ll find out in the next book!
I give this one four bookworms!
Have you read Invasion? If not, do you plan to? Are there any books similar to this you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments!