February 2, 2016

Review: The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2) by Erika Johansen

The Invasion of the Tearling (#2)
by Erika Johansen
pub June 9th 2015 by Harper
Adult - Fantasy
The Invasion of the Tearling was one of my most anticipated sequels last year. It took me a while to finally pick it up but once I did, it wasn't quite what I had hoped it would be. On one hand, it was a pleasure to be back in the unique world Erika Johansen had created and to be able to learn more about its inner workings. On the other, I was eager to be reunited with the characters I knew and rooted for, namely Kelsea Glynn, and that side of things fell short for me.

Kelsea became the Queen of the Tearling and every day since, she's been learning more and more about what that means. She's made an enemy of the Red Queen and trying to fight off her advances on the Tearling. Plus she's still trying to win her own people over at the same time. It's easy to forget she's still a young woman despite the heavy weight of responsibilities resting on her shoulders. It's that particular conflict I was most interested in. There's an internal struggle within Kelsea between her own personal desires, a thirst for magic and what I felt was a need for connection. She's still the same intelligent and resourceful woman willing to do whatever it takes and that's what makes her such an admirable heroine.

She continues to have a strong cast of characters surrounding her like Pen (still love him), Mace (still wish he'd show more beyond his gruff exterior) and Fetch (still so mysterious). But the world felt like another character in itself. Much more so than in the previous book, Johansen sheds light on how the Tearling came to be. Its history and what it was like before the Crossing, which I don't think I fully recognized before. I was impressed by how she weaved this fantasy world with elements of a real one. It threw me off at first but I quickly began to enjoy the unique aspect it brought to the series.

(Some) reservations
Somehow through magic or Kelsea's newfound abilities, she is able to make a connection with a woman from the past named Lily. She existed in the pre-Crossing and Kelsea is able access her memories as though she is actually living them. In those memories, she finds unexpected answers to what's happening in her life right now. I understood the importance of Lily, especially towards the end, but it was difficult to spend half the book in Lily's shoes. Every time we switched to her time, I immediately wanted to go back to Kelsea's. There was just so much going on in the present that I wanted to be more privy too. Particularly Kelsea's journey and the changing relationships in her life. The alternating point-of-views really slowed down the pace of the book overall and ultimately I think it took away from the central story instead of adding much to it.

Do I recommend?
I do. The first book in this series was so strong and I'm looking at this second one as a means to set the stage for what I hope will be an exciting book 3.

5 comments:

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  2. Exactly! Some people thought I was saying I just didn't like the dystopian parts because they were Dystopian, but that wasn't true. I too felt it was a unique way of giving the backstory, but there was too much of it, and I really didn't care for the way Lily 's story was told; not because it was dystopic, but because I didn't feel the author was that good at it. Dystopian story telling certainly isn't a strength of hers. I am also not a fan of "just because" elements either. I wish Johansen had given us a reason for this strange connection between Kelsea and and Lily; even a hint would have been nice. I hope she gives us the answer in Fate of the Tearling. If it turns out to be a totally blind "just because" I am going to be so angry. I also hope the author ties up the dystopian aspect in the beginning so we can go back to having the story be fully High Fantasy. It is funny, I just added that Fate of the Tearling was an ARC I would be willing to commit a felony for, in 2016, for a tag I finished on Sunday. :)

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    1. I wanted to add that Queen of the Tearling was my top book in 2014.

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  3. I do find with a lot of second books in the series they're almost just a filler? Anyways I'm still looking forward to reading it though! :D

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  4. Well, you know how I feel about The Invasion of the Tearling! I'm actually quite surprised by how much I loved it. I thought it was SO interesting to find out more about how this world came to be, side by side with Kelsea figuring out how to handle everything she's going through. Can't wait for the third one!

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