- Page Count: 434
- Release Date: July 8, 2014
- My Rating: 3 stars
An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.
Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”
Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.
I really like the book’s potential, but wasn’t that into the actual story.
Everything was just SO PAINFULLY SLOW. I called this book a DNF earlier this year because it just wasn’t going anywhere. Nothing was bad… it was just boring. I’m glad I finished it now because the second book seems like it will be interesting, but the pacing really never picked up. Like they spend the first 1/3 of the book just… traveling. And then more standing around and thinking ensues. SO MUCH USELESS DESCRIPTION. But some people do like slower, more descriptive stories so maybe this just wasn’t my thing. The writing is good!!
The strongest part for me was probably the individual characters. The Fetch was intriguing. I liked the Mace. Kelsea had a pretty rough personality, but it was well developed and she’s a strong MC. And I liked that there was the potential for romance, but the story didn’t revolve around it. But again, there was just way too much time spent on each part… like I cared about Javel’s angst over his wife, but not 100+ pages worth of it.
The poor worldbuilding was by far the most frustrating part. Halfway through the book I was still wondering if this was medieval fantasy or some futuristic dystopian world that returned to the Middle Ages. And are we in Europe or America or some other mysterious new land?? It took a really long time to even partially explain “The Crossing,” so my curiosity sort of dulled down to irritation.
I’m mostly holding out judgement until I read the second and third books next week, but I feel like a world this rich should have a stronger story. Or just get itself into gear eventually…