Book Tour Review: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Saturday, July 4, 2015
Title: The Invasion of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Genre: fantasy, science fiction
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #2
Pages: 515
Published: June 9 2015
Source: received from publishers via TLC Book Tours 
Rating: 5/5

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.

I was a fan of the first book, but I loved the second. From the first chapter, the author, the characters, the plot don't miss a beat. Everything is magnified here in round two featuring the Tearling and Mortmesne: the stakes, the personalities, the plots, the worldbuilding, the battles. Johansen's debut and introduction to this story was good, but The Invasion of the Tearling is pretty damn great. It's creative and clever, and while the final big twist was a little predictable, it tied in so well with the story and the characters. 

I have to admit, I was a bunch of emotions when finishing this book. Johansen manages to pluck every cord with these characters. Kelsea evolves -- for better or worse; more is revealed about Lazarus aka the Mace; the Fetch hints and alludes and still remains the most intriguing character in the book. Johansen is pretty skilled at crafting flawed, realistic characters. Kelsea isn't always likeable but she's active and determined. The Red Queen is also shown to have new sides that while they don't excuse what she has done or become, make her a little more understandable.

I have to admit  for a while there I wasn't sold on Lily's connection to the main story from book number one and the more standard fantasy characters. It's a different brand of fantasy, whatever subgenre we want to call The Queen of the Tearling series, but it's one that mixes fantasy with contemporary with science fiction/time travel. The magic/science angle is the flimsiest aspect o the book but I overlooked it for how well it fit in with another twist (the resemblance to the painting.) Somehow, Johnansen made it work and I loved how it all came together right at the end.

This is pretty actiontastic at times, but not nearly as much as I expected from a book with a title that has "invasion" right there in it. However, the author is more concerned with the behind the scenes, the preparation, the negotiation that comes before a conflict. And while there is some violence and few skirmishes and battles, the main conflict in the story is between Kelsea and the Red Queen, or Kelsea and herself, or even Kelsea and the ghost of her mother. The invasion and threat that goes along with a hostile force gets the plot of the novel rolling, but it doesn't consist of most of the book's focus.
The Invasion of the Tearling was a great followup to The Queen of the Tearling. Hype can be misleading but for this series, it is dead on. If you like genre mashups or are into different types of fantasy, this is not a series to miss. It's clever and fun, moves at a good pace, and keeps interest for hundreds of pages.

1 comment:

  1. OMG I am so far behind. So I skimmed over the review cautious of being spoiled for book 1 since I haven't read the first book yet, but this review did a great job about not giving much away but making me want to read book 1 ASAP. I have it but just haven't picked it up yet but now with book 2...I need to do it!


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