Buddy Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

18:00 Cilla P 10 Comments

Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Bantam Press
Source: Bought

Synopsis: Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.

It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.

But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.

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"Tear Queen, you'll either be dead within a week or you'll be the most fearsome ruler this kingdom has ever known. I see no middle ground.”

The Queen of the Tearling first came to my attention when Emma Watson was first linked to the movie adaptation. Any book that she endorses must be pretty good, right? It's a big book to tackle though, and I was lucky to have Emily @ Midwestern Book Nerd to read it with me. There was certainly a lot to discuss! This review is best read together with her post, so check that out too!

Given she was the eponymous character of the novel, I was looking forward to getting to know Kelsea. We meet her right away, and I was intrigued. She's brought up by adoptive parents in isolation, hidden away from the world, with a destiny to fulfill and a price on her head. At first she seems a little lost, which I loved because how many people would feel confident as their life was about to change? But then she started to grow into her own skin and I loved it even more.

Conviction and a conscience, I think, are Kelsea's strongest qualities, and I'm curious to see how it would serve her as a queen in the next installment. In this one, she's surrounded by other characters who teach and challenge her as a queen, and they're all fascinating in their own ways. Even the villains were intriguing; it's always important to me that the villains are convincing, and we see all kind of villainous behaviours in this book that made me ponder what makes someone evil:

There was also the Fetch, the very fetching murderer with an interest in Kelsea, and had fun venturing some guesses with Emily about his true identity. His identity wasn't the only mystery we encounter in the book too. There's the mystery about Kelsea's sapphire, the identity of her father, the death of her mother, the Red Queen... I can see why the book had to be that thick!

There was never a dull moment though. We swing from one problem to the next as Kelsea figures out how to lead a country. She's got her priority straight, this Queen, and I can't wait to read more of her journey to claim her place in history.

It has to be noted that this is a book for older readers. Be prepared for brutality and violence if you want to read this book!

Let's talk!
Have you read this book? What did you think? 
If not, does this sound like something you'd read?
What do you think makes a person evil?

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

  • Goodreads Challenge
  • The Backlist Books Reading Challenge
  • #RockMyTBR Challenge


  1. Gahhh, I want to read this book!! I have not been able to find it! I'm glad you and Emily liked it, that gives me confidence that I won't be disappointed :)

    1. I don't think you'll be disappointed at all, and I hope it shows up in your local library or bookshop soon! D:

  2. I read so much YA I'm kind of glad to see you think this is for slightly older readers haha
    Great review, Cilla! I'm really excited to get my hands on this baby now!

    1. I honestly wouldn't recommend this to anyone younger than 18, probably. That might be my delicate stomach talking, but this book does tackle some mature issues. Thanks for stopping by, Annika! I hope you'll get to read it! :D

  3. I've been meaning to get my hands on this one for AGES and somehow haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I'm glad you liked it!

    1. Ooh I hope you'll get around to it soon! :D I'd be interested to know what you think of it when you do!

  4. I just added this to my TBR because of your review :) Looks like it's going to be sooo good
    Great review!

    Quite a Novel Idea

    1. Aah thank you! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

  5. I actually didn't have the greatest experience with this one, although whether that came from me not really knowing what to anticipate, the book being geared at an older audience than I had anticipated, or just the fact it didn't work for me personally- I don't know. And it feels like I read to so long ago that I can only really remember that the romance was frustrating and Kelsea wasn't a character I rooted for, while I still did like aspects of her. But this was such a good review and it was good to read out your thoughts! I liked that about Kelsea, too, that her personality and emotions weren't bold and ready for anything in a way that a lot of heroines are. She was afraid and selfish and felt things we feel, too, which made her pretty relatable.

    I hope the sequels are just as enjoyable for you! x

    1. That's fair enough! Everyone has different reaction to books, and I think if I hadn't been prepared for the violence involved, I would have disliked it too. I didn't view the romance as a romance at all, which might be why I wasn't frustrated by it.

      Thanks Romi! <3


Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)