Beware of spoilers
Kelsea Raleigh is The Queen of the Tearling. She is 19 years old and she has been training her whole life for this. The Queen’s Guard have come to take her to the Keep and hopefully she will make it there alive, so she can be crowned. She knows that there is no escape from her fate, as:
“The Queen’s Guard would cart her back to the Keep kicking and screaming, if need be, and imprison her on the throne, and there she would sit, hung with velvet and silk, until she was assassinated.”
So Kelsea leaves her step parents, Barty and Carlin, to travel with the Queen’s Guards, who eye her with suspicion and, even after seeing her jewel and her scar in the shape of a knife, still do not believe she is the True Queen. However, she has had very good teachers and she knows that the most important thing that she can do to save her life, is to win the guards on her side, because as Barty had told her:
“You win your people or you lose your throne.”
The journey is long and full of perils, from Caden assassins to the mysterious masked men of the Fetch, but in the end Kelsea manages to convince her Guards that she really is The Queen. I became very fond of Kelsea while reading the book. I believe that mothers are very important in the life of every child and adult, for that matter, so I was truly sorry for the poor child who spent hours at the window waiting for a mom who would never come. I was also sorry for Carlin, who had to play the bad guy, and obviously hide her true feelings from Kelsea, in order to prepare her for the ordeals that lay ahead.
One of my favorite things about Kelsea and about the book, of course, was that she is sooo into books. Even in the midst of all that chaos that her new court is, her main priority are the books: Carlin’s books, the church’s books, Father Tyler’s books:
“I see this land flowing with books, Father. Widespread literacy. Books everywhere, as common as they used to be in circulation before the Crossing, affordable even for the poor”.
Mace, her faithful guard, even thinks she has a fetish with books:
“I don’t understand your fascination with the damned things. They don’t feed or protect you. They don’t keep you alive”.
The Fetch is a character that will intrigue many. He looks young, but has been around for 20 years. He wears masks and everyone fears him, plus he likes to play Robin Hood. His relationship with Kelsea is definitely growing and I am very curious to see where it leads.
I was pleasantly surprised to realize little by little that the action is happening, not in the distant past, as the writer so cleverly tricked us into believing, but in the distant future. A catastrophe of some sort destroyed the Earth as we know it, and some survivors crossed raging waters into a land with, unfortunately for them, very few resources. It was really fun to read about queens and castles, and riders, and magic, and then come across a group of children reading the seven volumes of Harry Potter.
This book was very entertaining, especially toward the end, as I found the beginning a bit tedious. Luckily it picked up the pace really fast. I was even happier to find out that there are going to be seven books in the series and that Emma Watson will star as Kelsea, the Queen of the Tearling. I do believe that comparing it to the Game of Thrones books is a little too far-fetched. It is definitely inspired by it, as I believe many books will be from now on. But, it is also original, and I look forward to reading the sequels.
I warmly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy books, be they dystopian, utopian or post-apocalyptic.
*OBS would like to thank the author and TLC Book Tours for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour.*