The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #2
Published by Harper
Publish Date: June 9, 2015
Source: Book – Publisher, Audiobook – Bought
Find it here: Goodreads / Amazon
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. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts: An interesting shift on my calendar this week has put all three of my children either in camp or at their grandmother’s house, which means that I was able to completely lose myself in both the first and second book of this series. And by LOSE MYSELF, I mean I flat-out went to the land of the Tear and lived there for a few days. I have solidly added this series to my “favorites” list for this year.
In the first book: Queen Kelsea lived
a hidden life a life of seclusion while she was being protected and educated by foster parents. At the age of 19, the Queen’s Guard came for her as it was time for Kelsea to take the throne. As soon as she arrived among her people, she was saddened, disappointed, and disgusted by what she found: poor conditions, mistreatment, fear. Kelsea knew practically nothing about the rule of her mother, Queen Elyssa, nor her Uncle, the Regent, who ruled after Elyssa’s death — but she could see that these previous rulers did not take care of her people. Kelsea vowed to fix all that was broken – which was plenty, for Elyssa was a weak ruler and her Uncle the Regent was a pathetic one – and she set to that task right away. The Tear people grew to love her and she proved herself as a strong and worthy Queen, a good Queen.
At the end of the first book, the Tear are anxiously expecting invasion from the Mort people and their evil leader, the Red Queen. And I had to immediately put the first book down and begin the second book. I HAD TO. I had to see what would happen.
The Invasion of the Tearling is a seamless continuation, picking up only a few weeks after the end of the first book. The first chapter is exciting, expanding into the backstory of one of the characters introduced at the end of the first book while simultaneously telling what is going on, and BOOM it begins right there. I was once again riveted from page one until the end. This is a world that I certainly would never want to live in, but I enjoyed visiting LIKE CRAZY. These are reread books for me.
By now the Queen has earned the trust of her people but she has also made some huge decisions to try and save the Tear from the dreaded invasion, or at least spare them in the best and most efficient ways possible, which is difficult because of the total lack of resources at her disposal. The Tear army does not have the same quality of weapons as the invading army, the area is not as prosperous, and the people are lacking the self-esteem at this point to put up the sort of fight that she would like – ohhh, if only she could have arrived a little sooner! While Queen Kelsea makes decisions with the best of intentions, her Guard supports her completely (even when they disagree). As the book progresses it becomes clear that not every decision that Kelsea has made has been the best for her people.
What to do, what to do? Think fast, Queen.
Kelsea is very smart, she has been educated well. She is a great thinker and is as fair as any. But she lacks the experience to execute great plans and decisions sometimes – sometimes she’s just flailing and hoping for the best. She trusts the council of her Guard, as they are her closest advisors – but even when she receives it, she sometimes disregards it. Thus Kelsea still has plenty to learn; who wouldn’t when they’re thrown into the types of situations she has had to endure since the first day on the job? Kelsea is also learning to control the part of herself that identifies with her special abilities, or with magic, whichever it really is. She can do special things sometimes, and she often has visions of the past and the future, but these situations are not always things that Kelsea is able to control.
She has a lot going on, this Queen. Imminent war, controlling new magical powers, coming-of-age in the castle, trying to piece together her past, building up her people by patching up their broken hopes and dreams. She doesn’t shy away from any of it. The only people that ever really see her weak places are those that are closest to her. I LOVE the Queen. I love the good and not-so-good-yet parts of her, because her growth across these two books has been phenomenal AND the two stories have taken place over less than one year. She’s making remarkable progress in her throne.
ALSO occupying these pages is Lily, the girl from the pre-Crossing. Her chapters were initially odd-sounding to me because Lily comes from the Northeastern US during more modern times; she has modern conveniences and she is wealthy. However, she is living at a time when something has gone wrong: there is an even greater gap between the poor and the wealthy, between men and women, and between the majority and any type of minority. At first, I wondered what Lily’s part would be in this story, and I was right to – it honestly takes A LONG TIME for her part to come to fruition but by the time I made all of the connections, I loved having her there.
Having both Kelsea and Lily be major players in this book made it feel like a very empowering read. These are women that both appear to be weak in the beginning, but they do very difficult things. Add to that Andalie, part of Kelsea’s chamber service, and we have a group of very strong, very smart, very capable women doing some amazing things in this book. I appreciated this, particularly since some of the issues that they tackle are pretty tough.
Ultimately, this sequel is a solid middle-part to this series. I feel like it completely added to my excitement for this story arc and these characters, and I just want to high-five everyone after finishing it. I love the setting, I love the characters, I love the bond between Queen and her Guard, I love the lengths these women (and the Guard) will go to in order to make things right, I love so much about this book. And I’m so ready for the final installment because I still have just a few burning questions.
I recommend The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen to readers that enjoy fantasy, strong characters, and unique worldbuilding.
Audiobook Notes: The audiobook format of The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is published by HarperAudio and is 18 hours and 10 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Davina Porter, who basically needs no introduction because she has narrated so many worthy and amazing titles like this series. I have to admit that I was surprised to see this narrator reading after the also-excellent Katherine Kellgren read the first installment – I had grown attached to her narration for Kelsea and for this series. BUT as always, Davina Porter was great and I would recommend this audiobook to anyone looking to read this book for the first time or to keep on hand for rereads. One can not go wrong with either of these narrators, really.
Thanks to the generosity of Harper
and Author Erika Johansen, I am able to offer one copy of
THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING to a lucky reader!
(US Only) * (Ends August 1)
The Queen of the Tearling Series: